Review: Just One Day by Gayle Forman

Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary, Romance
Series: Just One Day, #1
Publisher: Dutton Juvenile
Publication Date: January 8th 2013
Source: Own

Goodreads Summary: 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.

My thoughts: 

“We are born in one day. We die in one day. We can change in one day. And we can fall in love it one day. Anything can happen in just one day.”

-Just One Day by Gayle Forman

I picked up this book because I am a huge fan of Gayle’s previous books, If I Stay and Where She Went, and I wanted to see if I could love this series as much as her previous one. I did love this book, but I guess I put too many expectations on it.

This book is about Allyson Healey meets Dutch actor Willem De Ruiter on a European trip in England. Allyson has always been the sheltered good girl, the one who never takes risks, but this time, when Willem offers her one-day to be “Lulu”, a girl completely different from herself, she accepts. In that day, Lulu and Willem have the time of their lives; they share amazing moments together and in the process, even fall in love. When Lulu wakes up the next day, and Willem is gone, she begins to think that maybe she was the only one who felt the connection. Heartbroken, she goes back to America to be Allyson again. What happens when Allyson realizes that being Lulu was a life way better than she imagined? Can she really pick up the pieces and forget what happened between her and Willem?

Allyson (or Lulu) is a great protagonist. She was very relatable, and you couldn’t help but feel just as heartbroken and depressed as she does when Willem disappears. It was nice to see how this book not only concentrated on the romance, but it concentrated on Allyson’s life. About how she’s unhappy and tired of “quitting while she’s ahead”.

This is actually what I liked most of the book. Allyson’s self-discovery and subsequent character growth. I liked how at first she felt helpless to change anything about her life, but then goes and “takes a stand” to live her life how she wants to.

There are some secondary characters that really add a special touch to the book. Dee and Melanie’s stories are great, and I’d actually love to read more about them. Not to mention all the special little characters that actually contributed a lot to Allyson’s journey.

Another aspect of this book that I really liked was the setting. I loved how this was set in little places all over Europe: England, Paris, Amsterdam, Utrecht, etc. It fueled my desire to go visit these places even more! Especially since they were so well explored.

The romance was sweet but heartbreaking. I thought it was a bit clichéd at first, but then I fell in love with it. It was so heartbreaking to find out some things at the end, which definitely changed my views on Willem.

The only problem I really had with this book was how I expected this book to be something like If I Stay, which it wasn’t. This isn’t a bad thing. I’m actually glad the author did something different with this duet.

I was kind of disappointed that the ending left some loose ends, which is why I’m basically hyperventilating to start Just One Year. I MEAN WHAT A WAY TO END A BOOK. THAT WAS JUST PLAIN EVIL.

 Just One Year is basically laughing at me and saying, “I’m right here! Pick me pick me!” I well get to you soon, my dear ARC.

Overall, I recommend this series if you like stories of self-discovery, foreign places, and romance.

Rating: 4 stars

it was really good

M signature

Find the Book: Amazon | Barnes and Noble| Goodreads

Author: Website

21 thoughts on “Review: Just One Day by Gayle Forman

    1. You should! If I Stay was really beautiful and it destroyed me, same as Where She Went. If you’re feeling like a sort of “traveling” book, then this one is great. Thanks for stopping by!


  1. I’m so glad you enjoyed this one, Marianne! I loooved it and the sequel is even better, IMO. Allyson’s self-discovery really is done SO well, so Forman hit all the right notes with her journey. Lovely review! 🙂

    P.S. – I loooove the blog design and am THRILLED to find Whovians here! 😀


    1. Thank you! And its awesome that you’re a Whovian too! I’m still on season 4, but I’m desperate to catch up before December!


    1. I was raging when it ended. I couldn’t believe it would end like that! But hopefully I’ll get to read it soon. Thanks, Melanie! 🙂


  2. I was waiting for this book for quite some time. My expectations for it were so high that I kind of let myself down. Not to say I didn’t enjoy it because I did and I’m looking forward to reading Just One Year, but I guess I expected a little more. “/

    Great review by the way & I’m the blog looks fantastic! Thanks for stopping by our blog. 🙂

    Andy @ Owl Always Be Reading


    1. Yeah I know what you mean. It was still great, but since I was expecting so much, I was let down.

      Thank you for visiting the blog, Andy!


  3. I felt the same way, I adored If I Stay and put way too many expectations into this one but I liked it anyway 🙂 AND BRO THE ENDING. I MEAN WHO DOES THAT. I cant wait for just one year 😀 Great review!


  4. I LOVED this book. I actually can’t wait for the sequel. The way the Forman described Allyson’s journey to self-discovery, and her travels, the way she wanted to get lost…just wow. I guess, this appealed to me a lot because I like getting lost during my travels.


    1. That’s what I loved most about it. All the traveling and character growth. Forman was spot-on on this aspect. I can’t wait to pick up my copy to finally hear Willem’s story!


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