Friday, January 3, 2014

Review: Just One Day by Gayle Forman

About the book:

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.

Genre: YA contemporary + romance
Published by: Dutton Juvenile (January 8, 2013)
Pages: 368

My rating of Just One Day:
She went looking for him and along the way she found herself

Just One Day is more than a love story. It's a story of searching and introspection and living.

The story was written beautifully and impacting with clever analogies and relate-able moments. Allyson's growth was just that: growth. It didn't happen overnight but in stages and I almost feel honored to have experienced it all with her. In the beginning and middle of the book, I didn't know what to think about the story because it was hard to gauge how good it was when “nothing” (also known as the experiences that led to the character growth) was happening or the action was “slow”. But I soon realized that I couldn't judge this story in sections: only as a whole. And as a whole, I think Just One Day is worthwhile and eye-opening. 

I think Allyson is an enjoyable character, “normalcy”, “snark” and all, because she is easy to identify with. What makes Allyson's self-discoveries so fulfilling for me was how almost every chapter or scene break ended with a new lesson, theory, epiphany, or revelation. They weren't cheesy and they weren't overdone. 

"And for one small second, I do imagine the person I could talk
 to, about finding this door, and losing it. He would understand. 
But that's the one door that needs to stay shut."

That is one of the fourteen quotes I metaphorically highlighted in the book. But really, I'm not overstating things when I say that all of the scenes in this book were fulfilling. As a romance lover, could I say I wished it had more fun and happy romance? Yes, well, no, not really because then it wouldn't have been the story it was. The events that occurred, the people that stepped into Allyson's life--even for the briefest of moments--were necessary for Allyson's self-discovery. The beauty of Allyson's search made my heart so content and I really wouldn't have wished it any other way. The only thing I wish I could have been different was the very very ending. After everything that had happened, everything they had been through, I wish the end could have been extended for another page at least. Like I said, I'm a romance lover.

In my mind, aspects that make a book wonderful are great character growth, beautiful story-telling and pacing, and morals and motifs. Just One Day has it all.

"I think of what my mom said. About being grateful for what you have instead 
of yearning for what you think you want. Standing here, on the campus 
where he once walked, I think I finally get what she was talking about. 
I think I finally understand what it truly means to quit while you're ahead."


  1. I just checked this out from the library! I'm not a fan of romance usually, but I do like introspective books, and this seems like one. I'm looking forward to meeting Allyson, snark and all!
    As for the ending, I'm sure the sequel (Just one year) has answers for you :)

    - Kritika @ Snowflakes & Spider Silk

  2. I wanted to read this last year, but since my TBR list was so high, I had to leave it for 2014, so I'm in high anticipation for it even more after your review! Those quotes are so beautiful, too :)

  3. I haven't read this one yet. I actually was one of the few people who didn't love If I Stay (although I did enjoy the second book more), but I think it had to do more with the characters than the writing. I think I"ll have to read this one!

    Nicole @ Feed Your Fiction Addiction