Monday, January 14, 2013

Review: Just One Day by Gayle Forman

Just One Day (Just One Day, #1)

Title: Just One Day
Author: Gayle Forman
Pages: 368
Rating: 5 out of 5

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.

Just One Day is the first in a sweepingly romantic duet of novels. Willem’s story—Just One Year—is coming soon!


Just One Day follows Allyson, who is on a teen trip around Europe. On her last day with the group she meets Willem and decides to go with him to Paris for one day. Though Allyson is outside her comfort zone she goes along with everything Willem throws out, and finds herself falling for him. After the day in Paris she returns to start college, but that one day has changed Allyson. The next year passes and she has to decide what she wants her life to be. 

This is one of those books that makes you think about your life. When I finished that last page I stayed up late[or even later, since I read this from 10pm to 2am] into the night, thinking about what I've done with my life and what I want to do with my life. It made me want to jump on a plane and go to all the places I've ever wanted to visit. Just One Day is both exhilarating and heartbreaking all at once, because with a title like that you know that's all you can expect. 

"It's funny the things you think you're scared of until they're upon you, and then you're not." 

The characters jump off the page immediately. Allyson was real. A predictable girl who doesn't like change, doesn't do anything on a whim, and doesn't take risks. I felt like I could relate to her, and I'm sure many girls can too. Willem was so damn lovable. There was something about him that draws you in, excites you, and makes you fall. The way he compares love to a stain, and how can fall in love but not be in love, made me that much more smitten with him. Even though he's not in the majority of the book I still felt the stain of him the entire time.

The friendships were very realistic as well. We've all had friends that we thought we would be close to forever, but that's not usually the case. People grow up and grow apart all the time, and Allyson's relationship with Melanie, her lifelong bff, is very true to life. Both girls grow and change during their first year in college and gradually drop out of each other's lives, the way most friendships end. In the aftermath of the day we're introduced to Dee, who becomes somewhat of a bff to Allyson, and that relationship resonated with me as well. Dee is the one who really brings Allyson out of her shell and shows her that she can be whatever kind of person she wants to be.

"Stains are even worse when you're the only one who can see them." 

Just One Day shows you how a life can be changed in just one day, one hour, one minute, one moment. That all it takes is one tall, blonde, Dutch guy to spin you around and stain you forever. That sometimes best friends aren't forever. That sometimes Shakespeare has the answer. That sometimes the person we pretend to be is the person we already are. That sometimes the worst thing that has ever happened to you, can also be the best thing that has ever happened to you.

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