“Words fail me on a fairly regular basis, refusing to come to the call of my immediate need or to properly describe the feelings I want to convey. Actually, this partially explains my lifelong search for other people's words with which to fill myself up, to borrow and learn from. My life consists of a perpetual search not just for knowledge and meaning, but of the best ways to put those things into the precise diction that will allow me to share these insights with other in powerful ways. My favorite authors, Gayle Forman included, excel at conveying big life lessons in simple, natural ways, not so much handing down truths from their lofty, genius heights, but making you feel their truth in your core. Unfortunately, I do not yet posses this talent, so I will probably fail to properly describe the power of Just One Day to you, especially because there is so much of it that I cannot discuss, because I think this novel is best enjoyed completely without conception of where its headed.
For some reason, perhaps because I read just a little bit of the blurb, I imagined Just One Day to be a happy sort of contemporary novel, perhaps a slightly darker companion to Meant to Be, which also opens with a trip to London and includes numerous Shakespeare references. I really should have known better, having enjoyed the darkness of Forman's If I Stay and Where She Went. Forman positively shines at making the reader run the whole gamut of emotions right alongside the main character. Just One Day made me smile, laugh, sigh, swoon, and ache in my heart for Allyson. During the hours I had to stop reading and go to work, I could not stop thinking of her plight, and those thoughts came with an almost physical level of discomfort and worry for Allyson. Basically, any novel that can make me care so much rates exceedingly highly with me, particularly because that only happens in novels with marvelous characterization.
For those of you who like to take vacations through literature, this book will be such a great friend. There are so many sights and places to be experienced within its pages. Even better, they're not just the touristy highlights, but also the more basic culture. I had so many flashbacks to my own European travels, like how you really do meet Australians in hostels everywhere, and they're really loud and sociable, and how Europeans really do like to help, offering up extraordinary experiences and waving away offers of payment.
Yesterday, I posted on instalove in YA literature, and how tired I get of the relatively unvaried romantic plot lines in the majority of the fiction. Well, Just One Day was such a fitting read to embark upon after that, because I felt as though Forman targeted a lot of that and wrote something unique and meaningful and unflinchingly honest. What she did with the romance, though I cannot tell you what that was, I approve.
Forman differs quite a bit in her portrayal of family as well. In young adult fiction, parents are notoriously absent, allowing the teens to have adventures parents would never approve. Actually, Allyson's mother and father are not in that much of the novel, as she spends most of it on vacation or at college, but, though not physically with her, they are almost constantly present. An only child, her parents have exceedingly high expectations for her and seem determined to have her fulfill them, pressuring her and preventing her from figuring out who she really is until she has the space of this first year away from home to really come of age.
Of course, I wanted to twirl around with happiness during nigh every reference to Shakespeare, especially during analytical discussions of his works. However, I also felt a strong correlation to another of my favorite classic works, A Room with a View by E.M. Forster, which details the coming of age of Lucy Honeychurch on a trip to Italy. Her experiences there change her in unanticipated ways, which at first frustrate and frighten her, but ultimately teach her a lot about life and the best ways to live it. Perhaps I'm just making this connection up, but there was a quote near the end that really brought that novel the surface to me, one about the Yes of life. Whether that second similarity was intended or entirely in my head, I marveled over the dialog Forman developed between classic works of literature and modern life.
Right now, I want to do nothing so much in the world as travel all around Europe, accompanied by a copy of the sequel/companion novel to Just One Day, which will apparently be from Willem's perspective, which seems an interesting correlation to If I Stay and Where She Went. ”
“a whirlwind tour of Paris, an internal journey of finding oneself, this book will stay with you long after you've finished the last page! can't wait for the sequel, JUST ONE YEAR! ”trixiemad wrote this review Sunday, January 20, 2013. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“Gayle Forman writes perfect books.
I love this for a few reasons.
Number one, it totally encapsulates my own wanderlust and desire to travel, and makes the world feel like magic. Even though Paris is the one European city I actually HAVE been to (twice), and I wasn't like, blown away, this makes me want to go back and experience it the way LuLu and Willem do.
Number two, I love Willem. I mean, I often fall in love with the male characters of books, but this was different. I wasn't in love with his backstory or his tragicness or any of that - I was actually really and truly attracted to him. Oh my God. I cannot WAIT for Just One Year.
Three... books about self discovery can be weird, or preachy, and this wasn't any of those things. Allyson's struggles with her parents are absolutely relatable and real, and so are her problems with Dee and at college and all of that.
And, lastly, this book was totally and completely different than the one I was expecting - and I loved it anyway. That rarely happens. Usually, whenever I (stupidly) build up in my head what a book is about, only to have it be about something else instead, I end up hating it. But not here! Even though the story of Allyson's college and trying to locate Willem over the internet were not what I thought was coming at all, they were wonderful and enjoyable to read about.
This was a wonderful book.
And I cannot, cannot wait for Just One Year.”
“Allyson does one unpredictable thing that lands her in a year's worth of depression. She takes the train from London to Paris at the suggestion of the handsome Willem, and she lives a day like no other. Everything that could have well, did and everything that could have gone, does. Allyson finally decides to she has to know what happened and so begins her journey to piece herself back together again. This book can not be put down until done, and it will be worth it!”Serial Reader wrote this review Tuesday, January 15, 2013. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“I was so excited for this book before it was even out. I love Gayle Forman - I'm a huge fan of her If I Stay series - and when I read the plot for this I turned into such a fangirl. It sounded like a story I'd love and I did.
Just One Day kicks off with the protagonist on a trip around Europe, supposedly exciting for teens but not really for nice-girl Allyson. From the start she's established as a reserved character, taking a backwards step from her more daring best friend and listening to her overbearing mother. Then she sees a re-enactment of Twelfth Night that changes everything. Enter Willem: a mysterious Dutch guy who lives by his own rules and is pretty much the polar opposite of the protagonist. He believes in accidents changing the way life works and provokes Allyson (or 'Lulu') to take a risk: instead of returning to London with her friend, she spends the day in Paris. With him.
Throughout the novel there is a certain intrigue around Willem. He's everything you could ask for in a mysterious and charming YA-fiction guy. You're given just enough to both swoon over him... and want to strangle him. What's his history? Why all of the girls? What really happened the night he left Allyson? All of the unknowns are making me so much more desperate for the next book. We'll get Willem's side of the story - it's going to be satisfying to get some answers.
I've never personally been in a situation like Allyson's, but I understood her feelings and experienced them with her. I personally loved how realistic her handling of the situation was. She handled it just like any of us probably would. I get how a lot of people are thinking, wow seriously it was only one day and she's depressed over it. But think about how important that day was and how much changed for her. Not to mention that she and Willem shared something - their bond was unique and definitely made enough of an impression on Allyson to provoke her search a year afterwards. Maybe the point isn't so much about her searching for him but searching for herself.
There are a few smaller elements to the book that really made it for me. First, the setting. I absolutely adore Paris, even though I know that's totally cliche. Gayle captured the beauty and atmosphere of the city perfectly. There was also the brief Holland setting, which was equally mesmerizing. It added a necessary element to the story. Second, there were plenty of well-written characters disincluding the main two. Honourable mentions here go to Dee and Wren - they were both brilliant characters who played their own roles in helping Allyson on her way. Especially Dee. He was the best and I so wish that he existed so we could eat cookies together. Finally, I loved the Shakespeare elements. Like her class, the plays, the subtle comparisons. In a way, it started and ended with Shakespeare - that's how Allyson found him both times.
Here were a few of my random thoughts while reading:
1. Her best friend had about 12 personalities in one year
2. I'm so glad I'm not an only child
3. I really want to go to Paris
4. I really want a hot Dutch guy to take me to Paris
5. Why alarm clocks?
6. I want a friend like Dee
7. I am now determined to eat a macaron
8. Wren seems to be psychic and stuff
9. Wow everyone wants to help her find this guy
10. Oh the next book is gonna be interesting..
Essentially Just One Day is a story of self-discovery, as Allyson learns more about herself after her experiences in Paris. Everything changes for her after that that one guy; that one stain. I guess it shows that one day is all that it takes to make a difference sometimes. That and if a Dutch guy approaches you at a train station and invites you to Paris, you should probably say yes. ”
“Love, love, love!”irockandunowit XD ~Moon~Cause I'm dying just to know your name~ wrote this review Monday, February 11, 2013. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“Just One Day is a book that delighted me! In every way, I just felt like this was the perfect book for me to read right now, it made me yearn for travel, being 18 again, taking chances and finding myself.
Full review can be found on my blog (http://unconventnionalbookviews.com)”
“I never was much interested in going to Paris or anywhere in Europe. I am more of a tropical island sorta girl. After reading just one day by Gayle Forman, I may have to rethink my travel plans!
I enjoyed everything about this book, from the cover art to the plot and character relationships. This is a "coming of age" story (I hate that phrase, but that's what it is...). Be prepared to let the dishes sit in the sink. All you are going to want to do is read this book! I read it in two sittings, mainly because I wanted some time to savor the story and try to figure out the plot and ending before I read it.
I especially enjoyed the relationship between Allyson and her Mother. It was so realistic, I could think of several Mother-Daughter relationships that this part of the plot could have been based on. Teens struggling for independence will relate to this and of course, Moms will, too. I really like the way the author dealt with their issues. No spoiler here-you'll have to read the book.
The supporting cast of characters were fun and unique. This is an area that is often overlooked by authors. Forman spent the time on the other relationships in Allyson's life and it makes the story and plot much more solid. I wonder if the character of Dee couldn't have his own book...
There are many themes within this story. First love, independence, the changing relationships as you transition and grow into an adult and choice. Choice is my favorite theme in this instance. Allyson makes the decision to live her life instead of just floating along on the path that has been planned out for her. This is a life lesson that many teens (and some adults) have yet to learn. Making bold choices and following your heart are two different things. Making a choice involves thinking and considering your options, examining the possible consequences and coming up with a plan of action. Even though my explanation sounds like a formula, it is not written in that manner. This theme flows quietly in the background, which is exactly why I enjoyed it.
This book would be appropriate for older teens. There is a love scene. It is not too graphic, and they do practice safe sex(yeah!). I plan to pass this book on to my 16 year old daughter. The only thing I could possibly find to criticize it that the second book, Willem's side of the story- just one year doesn't come out until next fall. Just one day makes my "Best of 2012" list!
Thanks to the author and publisher for providing me with a copy of the book in return for an unbiased review.”
“arc, for review”Julie S wrote this review Thursday, December 27, 2012. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“3.5 out of 5 rating
I can't decide how I feel about this book. For the first part, it was okay. I thought it was a little odd that this girl who is a goody goody and always follows the rules suddenly goes off with this guy to Paris for a day, but I went with it. I liked reading about the different parts of Europe that Allyson went to and reminiscing about my trip 10 years ago.
I did not like the middle part. Allyson was just too mopey and depressing. I mean, she was only with the guy for one day! I understand that she went through something tough but I just wanted to say "Get over it and move on!" Especially since she was starting college and had so been looking forward to it. At that point in the book, I kind of just wanted it be over.
But then towards the end, I got back into the story again. And what I thought was going to be the end felt right. The door to that part of her life was shut. But it didn't end there. It continued for just a couple of more pages. And after the last sentence I found myself shouting "No! The book can't just end there!" I didn't realize how much I wanted the book to continue until then. And now I'm anxiously waiting until the next book comes out telling Willem's side!