Friday, February 20, 2015

Novel Review: Just One Day (Just One Day, #1) by Gayle Forman

Rating (Out of 5): ~4.5
Genre: YA/NA Contemporary Romance
Publisher: Speak (Penguin)
Release Date: 2013
Spoilers?: No.

Goodreads Synopsis:

From the New York Times bestselling author of If I Stay

Allyson Healey's life is exactly like her suitcase—packed, planned, ordered. Then on the last day of her three-week post-graduation European tour, she meets Willem. A free-spirited, roving actor, Willem is everything she’s not, and when he invites her to abandon her plans and come to Paris with him, Allyson says yes. This uncharacteristic decision leads to a day of risk and romance, liberation and intimacy: 24 hours that will transform Allyson’s life.

A book about love, heartbreak, travel, identity, and the �accidents” of fate, Just One Day shows us how sometimes in order to get found, you first have to get lost. . . and how often the people we are seeking are much closer than we know.
  The first in a sweepingly romantic duet of novels. Willem’s story—Just One Year—is coming soon!

The Cover:

While I think the original cover goes better with the sequel, and is perhaps better fitting for the book, I do like this one. It shows the two for the first part of the book, which is a lasting impression and scene for the rest of the book. And it's very pretty to look at, which helps.


  •  "Because I may be only eighteen, but it already seems pretty obvious that the world is divided into two groups: the doers and the watchers. The people things happen to and the rest of us, who just sort of plod on with things.” (Paperback, pg. 41)
  • "'You thought too hard. Same with travel. You can’t work too much at it, or it feels like work. You have to surrender yourself to the chaos. To the accident.’” (Pg. 47)
  • "'There is a world of difference, Lulu, between falling in love and being in love.’” (Pg. 62)
  • "'You’re just trying on different identities, like everyone in those Shakespeare plays. And the people we pretend at, they’re already in us. That’s why we pretend them in the first place.’” (Pg. 237)
  • "Once accidents happen, there’s no backtracking.” (Pg. 284)
  • "I think of what my mom said. About being grateful for what you have instead of yearning for what you think you want.” (Pg. 345)


When I first got this, given Forman’s previous books and what I’d heard already about this book, I knew I would love it. It sounded great, fun, and I was intrigued to see where it ended, given the sequel. I still wasn’t too sure what it was about, though.
I will say that I loved it even more than I thought, and that’s mainly for the main character.
Allyson and Willem meet in Europe, where they spend one exhilarating, terrifying day in Paris. And then they separate, Allyson goes home to start college, and doesn’t know where Willem goes after that. Allyson spends the following year in her first year of college, away from home but still dealing with her overbearing parents, in a major she finds she doesn’t really like, not sure how to make friends anymore.
I related hugely to Allyson, with her depression and then figuring out how to stand up for herself and what she wants, and with making new friends and losing old ones. I loved her confrontation with her parents, as well as the way she explored what she wanted to do with her life, taking new classes, deciding to learn French and going after it. And even deciding to do a lot of it on her own.
I understood her frustrations so well, which made the second half of the book go by so fast.
I loved where she was at the end of the book. Who she was as a person, all of her struggles and coming out of it even better. I also loved all of the people she met along the way, especially her new friend Dee, and Wren.
I also enjoyed the way she went after Willem. I appreciated the way Allyson figured out how little she knew about him, and that he might not be what she remembered him as. And I really liked the way that the characters intuition worked, how they knew if things would work out or not, if they were right or not, and that sometimes you just have to go for it.
The ending was horrible and leaves me so wanting. It eradicates some of my worries, but also leaves me so confused and curious, and I seriously cannot wait to read the next one to find out what happened with Willem and what happens next. 
This book was so good. I loved it way more than I even thought I would, and I can’t wait to read the sequel.

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