Title: Just One Day (goodreads/Amazon)
Author: Gayle Forman
Published: January 8th 2013 by Dutton Juvenile
Source: ARC courtesy of the publisher for an honest review
"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!"
First line: "What if Shakespeare had it wrong?"
Thoughts: You had me at Paris, boys and love. I may be a little bias because going into this book, I knew I'd love it. After all, Gayle is one of my favorite authors. With that said, I immediately I had high expectations. Will this book top WHERE SHE WENT? I think it's safe to say that JUST ONE DAY exceeded all my expectations and more. JUST ONE DAY is an exquisite novel about breaking all the rules, finding who you really are, and first love. Did you really expect less from Gayle Forman? I didn't think so.
The novel is broken down into two parts. With the title, I originally thought it would take place in the course of a day. While it does (Part One), it also spans out into what happens after. I'm so glad the author decided to do this because with the way the first half of the book ended, I don't think I could stand waiting another year to find out the rest! Can you imagine that sort of aching? ICK!
The entire story is told through Allyson aka Lulu's point of view. It all begins with a train ride and a girl's quest for adventure. Enter Williem. She wasn't expecting to fall in love. Heck, she thought the trip was practically over and was ready to go home and start college. The thing is, when Williem offers her a train ticket to Paris, how can she refuse? Cute Dutch boy with his crazy sprinkles bread offering her a chance of a lifetime? Ever so cautious, Allyson takes a leap and goes for it.
One of the many things I love about this book is the author's attention to detail. It's obvious she's traveled to these places and with the way it's written, it makes me want to travel there, too. Hello, macarons? I want some! I'm still weary about hagelslag but if Williem says it's good, it must be. Thank you, Gayle, for reminding us that half the fun in traveling is the food. My only grievance is on the subject of Nutella. How can someone hate Nutella? It's delicious!
Let's talk about the characters for a bit. I cannot tell you how much I adore Allyson. She reminds me so much of myself when I was her age. Reserved yet craving adventure. I love that she never tells Williem her real name. She just let's him call her Lulu and owns it. She's willing to take a leap of faith, to just live in the moment and be someone else, and I really admire her for it. With Allyson comes...no, not Willeim. Dee. I cannot write this review without mentioning Dee. While Allyson drifts from her childhood friend Melanie and parents (because let's be honest, it often happens as we get older), Dee fills that void with something she needs more. Her friends are still her friends, the way her parents will always be her parents, but Dee gives her this support that no one else can and helps her figure out who she really is. Maybe she's not just Allyson or Lulu. Maybe she's more than all of it.
Finally, Williem. To be honest with you, I don't know how I feel about Williem. I love him but I also hate him. Upon finishing JUST ONE DAY, I was left with all these unanswered questions dwelling inside me, and most of them revolve around Williem. I'm fairly certain all will be revealed in JUST ONE YEAR (after all, it's written in his point of view), but for now, I shall remain neutral when it comes to him.
Overall, for romance lovers and travelers everywhere, I highly recommend reading JUST ONE DAY. Your only regret will be that you can't immediately start JUST ONE YEAR and will feel a bit tortured (yes, tortured) waiting for the sequel. Honestly, my review doesn't do this book justice. Experience it. Live it. Love it.
“Part of me knows one more day won't do anything except postpone the heartbreak. But another part of me believes differently. We are born in one day. We die in one day. We can change in one day. And we can fall in love in one day. Anything can happen in just one day.”
“I think everything is happening all the time, but if you don't put yourself in the path of it, you miss it."
“He looks at one of the pictures for a long time. Then he looks at me. 'I'll keep you up here.' He taps his temple. 'Where you can't get lost.'”