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Just One Day by Gayle Forman

Allyson Healey has always been the good girl, which is why she’s not exactly sure why she’s ditching the rest of her tour group to see an underground performance of Twelfth Night in England. But when she sees him again—Willem—she knows he’s the reason. There’s something about him that makes her want to stop being good, rule-following Allyson and become the wilder world traveler Lulu. So, against all her inhibitions, she goes off with him to Paris for a day that she will never forget. And it’s a truly amazing day, but when Allyson wakes up the next morning to find Willem gone, all that’s left is the memory of it, horribly and irrevocably burned into her mind. Over the next year, as Allyson struggles to come to terms with that day and her connection with Willem, she starts to realize that she is simply not living the life that she wants. She’s barely making it through college classes that she has no interest in taking, and she’s having a hard time connecting with her roommates. She’s starting to wish that she were Lulu again, but Lulu was only a dream that existed for a day, it seems, a terrible, beautiful day that ended too long ago. But in order to understand who she is, Allyson realizes that she first needs some answers, from herself and from Willem.

Now that I’ve finally read a book by Gayle Forman, I can see what all the fuss is about! Forman really knows how to tell a great story, from a plot that spans just the right amounts of glamour and ordinary, to characters that experience life and all its emotions, to issues that are both personal and universal. Just One Day swept me away from the very beginning, and not just because of the thrill of traveling through Europe; it was really Allyson’s voice that made me want to read on, with all her doubts, insecurities, despair, and hope. Her story, both her yearning for this spark between her and Willem and her rocky assimilation to college life, felt so real to me. While Allyson’s connection with Willem was certainly one of the focal points in this story, I have to say that I also really enjoyed how Forman depicted Allyson’s relationship with her parents, especially her mom; the tension surrounding an only child going away to school is not something that I often see in YA, but Forman did a very good job of weaving these complexities into Allyson’s life in a very natural way. In all, I truly loved reading Just One Day and I am extremely eager to see how the story continues in the companion to this book, Just One Year.

Just One Day will be enjoyed by fans of Don’t Stop Now by Julie Halpern, Wanderlove by Kirsten Hubbard, and Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins.

Rating: 4.5

Review copy from publisher Penguin

3 munch(es) :

Marg said...

I can't wait to read this book! You are lucky that you still have If I Stay and Where She Went to read. Both excellent reads!

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Just One Day is a book with words that went straight from the pages and into my heart. The journey that Allyson goes through, the beautifully written settings, the wonderful and quirky characters and even the presence of a handsome European boy all combine together to form a wonderful, beautiful, incredibly moving tale. Without a doubt, this is going to be one of my favorite reads of this year - and one that I highly recommend to every reader.

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