Publication Date: January 8, 2013Review: The biggest lesson learned from this book: Never doubt Gayle Forman. Ever. If you think something won't work, just leave it to Gayle Forman. She'll leave you breathless and shocked.
Publisher: Dutton Juvenile
Page Count: 368
Synopsis: 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.
If I'm being honest, I probably wouldn't have picked this one up if it wasn't written by Gayle Forman. But I loved If I Stay and Where She Went so much, I had to get this one. And at first, I wasn't really feeling it. I was reading it for the sake of reading. Allyson was kind of dull, her best friend Melanie was just a pain, and everything blurred together. Even when Willem was introduced, I wasn't feeling him either. He seemed too much of a playboy, and not much of a sweetheart.
When Allyson returns from her adventure as Lulu after Willem leaves her, she kind of falls into a depression that lasts months. She neglects her schoolwork, distances herself from her family, doesn't socialize--I like to say that she pulls a Bella from New Moon. (But at least Bella did her schoolwork.) It's extremely easy to get frustrated with her during this period. You want to shake her and maybe scream, "Quit with all this teenage angst and get on with your life!" You just have to bear through this section, because it gets better. Way, way better.
Allyson starts taking new classes and meets a new friend. Things start looking up. She grows into a stronger, better version of herself, though she still struggles to understand who she wants to be. At this point, I fell in love with Allyson's character. She was more focused, more logical, and she began to nurture an admirable determination. And when she decided to go back to Paris to get answers, I was all for it.
The plot takes a huge turn here because it turns exciting. It's almost like a game that Gayle Forman plays--she builds up so much hope that Allyson will find Willem again, and then she crushes it... several times over. By this section, I was reading it because I enjoyed it. In fact, I couldn't put it down. It was exciting, suspenseful, emotional, and beautiful. And oh my goodness, the ending had me screaming. I cannot believe Forman ended the book there. And then, she has the gall to add ONE page of the next book, which does nothing but increase my anxiety and arouse more questions!
There's not much of Willem in this book, and I don't really know how I feel about him. On one hand, we don't know much about him, so it's difficult to judge. But on the other hand, we hear so many despicable things that he's done (granted: from word of mouth), and you can't help but judge him! I'll have to decide when I read the sequel. He has a long way to go if he wants to win me over, though!
All in all, Just One Day is an emotional roller coaster of a ride that combines a flawed, but thoughtful protagonist with a beautiful journey. Gayle Forman weaves together a gorgeous story that will leave readers aching for the next book, like I am.
P.S. i have a video review for this book up on my youtube channel here.