Author: Gayle Forman
Release Date: August 20, 2013
Description: 400 pages, Young Adult Contemporary
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.
From Here To Everywhere
Before reading the novel, I was in categorical trepidation at the fact that Just One Day could prove to be either much worse or much better than Forman’s precedent works, as I held both in colossal esteem. That being said, I was completely blown away, not only by the fact that, reminiscent of Shakespeare with or without the implicit reference, Just One Day was an emotional, breathtaking, and unforgettable journey towards a touching narration on self-discovery. Despite the fact that I missed Willem for most of the book, I didn’t think, even for the shortest span of time that this forced the book into a sorry compromise. As a matter of fact, many of the wonders and mishaps that occurred during Lulu’s journey alone were second to none, unparalleled in their brilliance, as it was in that interim that I witnessed her character truly develop, from the indisposed and introverted Allyson, to Willem’s audacious, fearless Lulu. Though not entirely fast-paced, I was able to appreciate the book because of how Allyson managed to find herself, first with, and next without Willem’s company, the only person who seemed to understand her in ways everyone else could not even stand to comprehend. The chemistry between them, shared for however brief a period, was beautiful and pellucid in its passion, and the emotions Allyson felt were mine as she felt them— such was the impact of the book on an already erratic heart. Despite the fact that the book chose not to explore the ins and outs of characters save for either Allyson or Willem (leaving most of them disparagingly underdeveloped) and wasn’t exactly as heartrending as either If I Stay or Where She Went, Just One Day was still a read worthy of the highest praise and a journey in itself worth taking.
Once And Forever After
Allyson once knew herself only by a singular name– after the fated day, however, that led her towards the one place she ever truly felt like she belonged in, and towards the one person she ever truly felt liked she belonged with, she realized that maybe there was a side to her she never knew existed, an alter ego of sorts that blazoned more of her true self than the side she lived with from the very beginning. Allyson’s self-discovery and subsequent metamorphosis into ‘Lulu’ was arguably the best part of the book. Though for a time, Allyson was lost without Willem and refused to do anything productive, she quickly snapped out of what seemed like a death trance and began to understand the true implications of her actions and the things that she needed to acquiesce to move on from what seemed like heartbreak and deception. Despite the fact that the book seemed to revolve mainly around the day Lulu and Willem spent together, and the days that followed, always with respect to the first, the book was far from cheesy and grating. On the flip side, it felt real and was emotional, and the way Lulu built relationships with others was heartwarming and refreshing. As aforementioned, Allyson’s journey towards her true self was none too smooth a ride, but in the end she managed to pull herself together and and the events that followed were testament to the development of her character and her feelings for the person she thought she could trust and thought she could simply forget (much to her chagrin). Suffice it to say, her character was a heroine in my eyes in that she was strong and independent, a fast learner and a brave heart. I couldn’t have enjoyed the book more from her point of view.
Shakespeare And Separation
Though an enigma for part of the book, and a complete no-show for the rest(hardly a spoiler, as its in the description, though I apologize otherwise D: ), Willem was still a character I enjoyed reading about. Though he wasn’t met with much growth, he was an important factor in Allyson’s, and indeed their journeys together, across beautiful and scenic places, were some of the most hysterical, and conversely, eye-opening passages of the book. Though completely absorbed in the current ongoings, it wasn’t hard to understand the message the book was trying to convey, which indeed was brilliantly introduced and unquestionably important. The relationship between Allyson and Willem, for the entirety of one day of course, was pure and passionate in both extremes, and their adventures together remained both interesting and romantic, inasmuch as an adventure involving strangers can be. Lulu’s snarky attitude and witty counter-remarks stood in stark contrast with Willem’s factual yet fascinating conjectures, and the intricate story woven by Forman after Willem’s mysterious disappearance was what made the book even more than what it was already worth to me, as Allyson continued to grow and find herself despite unanswered questions and unquestioned motives. The book, in this way, was filled with suspense and excitement, as one continually hoped to pave the way towards Allyson’s recovery as well as Willem’s wherever he may have been.
Road To Redemption
Overall, the book was more than I could have hoped for. The characters, though underdeveloped save for the protagonist and the love interest, were on their own witty and interesting enough. The setting was perfect– as is any Parisian setting, at least to me. The plot wasn’t fast paced, but it worked, simply because it allowed enough time for reflection, both on Lulu’s part and that of the reader. Though not quite as emotional as the previous novel and it’s companion, Just One Day was more than enough for an enjoyable read, an adventure of epic proportions, and a heartwarming read both captivating and suspenseful, nursing a thirst satisfied only by each subsequent turn of the page. Perhaps the most poignant read to date, I do believe that Just One Day is the novel that is sure to charm and intrigue readers, make them laugh, and perhaps even cry, and of course prove to them that Forman is more than just simple genius.
So what do you think of this book? If you haven’t read it, will you? Sound off in the comments below!