Publisher: Dutton Juvenile
Release Date: January 8, 2013
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
Summary from Goodreads: A breathtaking journey toward self-discovery and true love, from the author of If I Stay.
When sheltered American good girl Allyson "LuLu" Healey first meets laid-back Dutch actor Willem De Ruiter at an underground performance of Twelfth Night in England, there’s an undeniable spark. After just one day together, that spark bursts into a flame, or so it seems to Allyson, until the following morning, when she wakes up after a whirlwind day in Paris to discover that Willem has left. Over the next year, Allyson embarks on a journey to come to terms with the narrow confines of her life, and through Shakespeare, travel, and a quest for her almost-true-love, to break free of those confines.
First Thoughts: I read Just One Day in, well, just one day!
In typical Gayle Forman fashion...what a book!?! A book that can make you love a character, hate a character, and then just be absolutely confused about that same character...errrr! She sure does like to send her readers on emotional rollercoasters; thank you for that Gayle! And, there’s Shakespeare! Does it get any better than that? (Nope, the answer is nope!).
As a reader, I got so swept up in their love story; I mean, come one, it’s Paris! I fell in love with Willem right alongside Allyson; I really think it’s impossible not to. Everything he said just felt so real. I love his comparison of love to a stain - it’s not always pretty, but you’re permanently marked. It’s just so true. Once you’ve fallen in love, you are forever changed; the love might not last forever, but you will never be the person you were before experiencing it. I’ve never thought of love in quite that way, but it makes complete sense. Love is a stain. And their love - Willem and Allyson’s - it had to be real, right? He can’t be that big of a jerk, right? Because if it wasn’t real, then everything he said is just a lie, and if it’s all just a lie...ugh! See? I told you - emotional rollercoaster.
Although it’s definitely a romance, Just One Day is ultimately a story of self-discovery (cheesy, but true). Allyson needed to find who she is, not who everyone else tells her she is. Don’t we all go through that, even if just a little bit? We get so caught up in trying to please everyone else that we sometimes forget what we’re truly passionate about. I’m thankful I’ve always been surrounded by those who encourage rather than stifle. I felt Allyson’s struggle, her pain, her rock bottom. Some of the story may seem a little unbelievable or implausible, but through it all I rooted for Allyson’s happiness.
As I sit here and rehash the emotional rollercoaster of this book, I know I NEED Just One Year. I need to know Willem’s side of the story. I need to know they’ll both be happy (together or apart, I just want them at peace). I just need to know what happens! Come on library hold; get here faster!
Final Thoughts: This is a book that readers will absolutely love or feel completely let down by; either way, it’s definitely not just a so-so book! It’s an emotional book that’s sure to create an emotional reader...be prepared!
Who Should Read It? If you don’t like love stories, this is definitely not the book for you! It has romance, travel, self-doubt, self-discovery...again emotional rollercoaster. It’s a book that’s going to make you feel. Personally, I think it’s more suited towards female readers, but as the second book is told from Willem’s perspective, who am I to say it doesn’t have more universal appeal.
On a sidenote, this may be more appropriate for older teens. The main character just graduated high school, she’s traveling Europe alone (well, without her parents), and she falls in love. There’s one sexual scene, but nothing too descriptive or explicit. I think mature young teens can handle it, but ultimately, it’s up to parental choice.