Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Just One Day by Gayle Forman

TITLE: Just One Day
AUTHOR: Gayle Forman
PUBLISHER/YEAR: Dutton Juvenile / January 8, 2013
SERIES: The companion book Just One Year comes out later 2013
SOURCE: Purchased

Goodreads / Author's Website

You all know by this point how long I've been procrastinating on reading Just One Day. It was never a purposeful thing. I just never went out of my way to track it down or I was reading another book that I couldn't just give up on, etc. etc. Well this went on for a few months. It made pretty much all of my to be read lists and well I've finally done it. I have finally read Just One Day.

Allyson is one of those kids who's always followed the rules. She listens to her parents, is going to the school of their choice, she's just never done anything that radical. That is, she's never done anything that radical until she meets Willem, rogue, Dutch, Shakespearean actor while on a teen tour of Europe. She takes off at the end of the tour to travel through Paris with Willem for just one, adventurous day. She's in love, but after that one day he's disappeared and Allyson returns back to her normal life. But everything's changed for her.

At first, I really didn't get what all the fuss was about with this book. My expectations were pretty much sky high. Like everybody was raving about it PLUS it has theatre and shakespeare and actors in it. Hello. Right up my alley right! But then I got a little worried because well what if my expectations were just TOO high, how could it ever live up to them? So, like I said, it started out a little slow. I didn't love Allyson. She was kind of whiny and I just wanted to shake her and yell YOU HAVE CHOICES. But you know what, it picked up and I totally see where everybody's coming from.

So the part in Paris was completely swoon worthy and the chemistry between Willem and Allyson was pretty fantastic. Like from the beginning. But it didn't feel like instalove. There were feelings, but it definitely came across in a realistic two teenagers meeting kind of way. But you know, the romance part, not the focus here. Just One Day is really more about Allyson finding herself and growing as a person. All the swoon worthy moments were fantastic, don't get me wrong, but this book is so much more than that.

When Allyson returns to the States and enters university she's like seriously depressed. Her friend thinks it's because she's missing the guy, but it's not. It's about her wanting to be the person she was when she was with him. I felt her pain when she realized she wasn't happy with the life she was leading. She wanted more out of it, she wanted the adventures and all the feelings. She had to learn who she was as a person and as she went on this journey of self discovery I felt everything.

Forman is just so incredibly talented at taking the reading right along with the character. This isn't as dark a book as If I Stay and I definitely didn't cry as much during this one, but there are definitely some similarities. Like I really felt like I knew Allyson and I could emphathize with her and celebrate her victories and feel her defeats. I was right along on that journey with her. I swear this is something Forman does better than any other writer out there right now. And it's not only the leads that are well drawn characters, but everybody who inhabits these books has a story and I love that so much.

Just One Day is one of those books that sucks you in and takes you along for the ride. Like I finished it in a night and can't wait for Just One Year to come out. I love that I don't necessarily know what's coming and I love that Allyson grows so much as a character and had me feeling everything. Basically I immediately took this one off of my shelf so I could force it into the hands of somebody else.

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