Series: Just One Day #1
Also in this series: Just One Year
Genres: Europe, Love & Romance, Performing Arts, Young Adult
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.
Gayle Forman is an auto-buy author.
My Thoughts on If I Stay
Gayle Forman writes the kind of books that I shouldn’t like. I read the synopsis and think, “I don’t know about this one…” and then I read the book and fall in love and why do I even doubt Gayle Forman’s story telling in the first place? I shouldn’t. Gayle Forman is amazing, so are her books, and she’s definitely made her way to my auto-buy list.
October is too far away to wait for the conclusion of Allyson and Willem’s story. Just One Day is one of books that leave you in a state of repeating the same words over and over again. (Wow. Just wow. Guys, this book! Wow.) Gayle Forman’s books always seem to leave me in this state, as if there are simply no words to adequately capture the experience of reading her books. Just One Day is no different–giving me images and impressions and feelings, but no words. (Except “Wow.” I seem to like that one a lot right now.)
Europe—Paris, mostly—comes alive in Just One Day. I’ve never been to Paris, but this book manages to bring the old world feel of Europe into its pages. Just One Day is somehow fundamentally Europe, and I found myself reliving my experience there (in Germany, not France, but easily comparable, I think). Going to Paris with Allyson made me want to go back. For the adventures. For the atmosphere. For Europe. Any book that can re-create such a setting is gold. (Daughter of Smoke and Bone elicited similar feelings for me, though about Prague specifically rather than Europe as a whole. Still. If you loved the setting in Daughter of Smoke and Bone–though a completely different genre–Just One Day has the same attention to detail.)
But Just One Day is more than a book with a fabulous setting–it has a story. Not just a story, but a story. (The synopsis states this is a book about self-discovery. And it is.) Just One Day is what coming of age, self-discovery type books should be. Allyson is a character who is so easy to relate to—being the good girl, the reliable one who doesn’t take risks: I get that. I saw so much of myself in Allyson that it was impossible not to get drawn up in her world, her heartbreak, and the changes in her life. I GET IT. That’s why this book works so well.
It is clear—SO VERY CLEAR—that the story of Allyson and Willem is far from over. I remarked to my boyfriend upon finishing Just One Day that I needed the next book RIGHT THAT VERY MOMENT, and he looked at me and said I should read one of the other hundred books I own. I speared him with a withering glance and primly informed him, “It doesn’t work that way.” And it doesn’t. There is no number of unread books on my shelves that would make it easier to wait for Just One Year.