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