by Gayle Forman
Published January 2013 by Dutton Juvenile
Rating: 4 out of 5
Summary 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!
While I can definitely say that I enjoyed Just One Day, I can't say that I fell in love with it. I think it's unfair to compare Just One Day to If I Stay, but my love for If I Stay set the bar really high going into Just One Day.
Allyson is a good girl. She plays by the rules. Instead of going out and drinking while on a trip through Europe (where she's legal) she stays in and watches American movies every night. Her best friend rags on her lack of adventure frequently and it starts to get on Allyson's nerves. When she is faced with the option to go to Paris with a boy she barely knows, she does something completely out of character and goes. For just one day.
I think it's because of the title and the fact that I didn't need to read the summary to know I wanted to read this book, but I was expecting this novel to take place in one day. In actuality, it takes place over an entire year. This is probably the first place the book disappointed me. I love books that take place over one day, and though I enjoyed the month-by-month formatting of Just One Day, it wasn't what I expected.
I really liked Allyson when she was in Paris, but I got really frustrated wither her behavior in the following year. I didn't understand her complete lack of motivation to do well in classes/make friends/live a happy life. She was also really disrespectful to her family (who aren't evil or anything), something I had a lot of trouble getting over.
Though I had some trouble with her attitude, I was pleasantly surprised that so much of Just One Day focuses on Allyson's development instead of a relationship. I love the romance aspects of books, but I think major character development adds a whole new level. I really got to know Allyson and to understand the weight of some of her actions toward the end.
Just One Day shines the most Allyson is in Europe. I absolutely loved the way Forman wrote the descriptions and Allyson's reactions to certain cultural things. Forman did a great job increasing my wanderlust and fortifying my intentions to study abroad!
Despite my issues with Just One Day, I really did like it. Forman's writing is beautiful, and she knows how to write a connection between two people. I was compelled to know what happened next and, well, the ending pretty much killed me. To say that I'm looking forward to Just One Year is an understatement. I'm ravenous for it. I must know Willem's side of the story.
Just One Day is a great novel that will make you wish for one day in Paris of your own, and for the sequel even more!