Just One Year Book Review

Just One Year by Gayle Forman

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You Can Find the Book At:

GoodReads

Amazon

Barnes and Noble

Author Website

GoodReads Summary:

Before you find out how their story ends, troche remember how it began….

When he opens his eyes, troche Willem doesn’t know where in the world he is—Prague or Dubrovnik or back in Amsterdam. All he knows is that he is once again alone, and that he needs to find a girl named Lulu. They shared one magical day in Paris, and something about that day—that girl—makes Willem wonder if they aren’t fated to be together. He travels all over the world, from Mexico to India, hoping to reconnect with her. But as months go by and Lulu remains elusive, Willem starts to question if the hand of fate is as strong as he’d thought. . . .

The romantic, emotional companion to Just One Day, this is a story of the choices we make and the accidents that happen—and the happiness we can find when the two intersect.

My Review:

This review will not contain spoilers for the book Just One Year. However, there will be spoilers from the first novel, Just One Day. To read the review of that novel, please click here

When I read Just One Day a few months ago, I never knew that it was going to leave me with a cliffhanger that made me want to pull my hair out. I was unaware of the fact that there was even going to be a sequel so I just wasn’t expecting it.

We meet Allyson, aka Lulu, in Just One Day. She meets Willem in a chance encounter, and decide to spend one day in Paris, France. Their encounter is more than either expected, except when Lulu wakes up the next day, after trusting this stranger and giving part of herself to him, he’s gone. The day changes Allyson in many ways, and she’s unable to move on until she finds out what happens next. The novel follows Lulu and Willem on their magical day and Lulu’s plan to find him. The book ends with Lulu knocking on Willem’s door, and him letting her in. Seriously. Worst. Cliffhanger. Ever. I almost threw the book until I remembered it was a library book and thats probably against the law, in book world.

Just One Year is the year that Willem spends after this magical day. He wakes up, disoriented, in a hospital, after being attacked, and he can’t remember much at first. By the time he remembers, its too late and Lulu is gone. He knows nothing about her; not her name, not from where’s from, nothing. He gave her the name Lulu. He literally has absolutely no way of finding her, and like Allyson, that day changed him and he can’t forget about it. The book shows the year that it takes Willem to get to that door that he and Allyson finally get to.

I LOVED this novel, and I think its because we already know Willem from Just One Day but we don’t really know him. We don’t see his personality, his family, anything. He’s a mystery, and yet we totally fall in love with him. You have this great desire to find out what happened to him, and how he got where he is. Its seriously all you’re wondering and all Allyson is wondering and she finally reaches that door in Just One Day and the BOOK ENDS! And you want to scream your head off, especially since she spent all this time looking for someone who didn’t want to be found.

But just a great novel. Willem is a world traveler, and he travels both to try and find Lulu and also to try and just figure out himself and how that day changed him and it makes for a beautiful novel. Just the backdrop of the novel, and the adventures that he has and the people he meets are enough to forget about the meeting that he and Allyson are eventually going to have. Honestly, so much of Willem’s story makes me want to hop on a plane and just GO somewhere, anywhere. He is so fearless and so ready to be in a new place. He just hops on a train, a bus, in cars with random strangers, eats new food and its just incredible and completely envious.

I can’t say much more than that because it will just ruin the novel. The whole point of Just One Year is to discover the mystery that is Willem since we get to see such a small sliver of him in the first novel. I don’t want to ruin any of the mystery for you guys, because living with Willem, discovering who he is and who he grows to be is the center point of this novel and its just a beautiful novel. Gayle Forman has a way of writing a seemingly normal, contemporary novel and she pulls at your heart in both good and bad ways. What a beautiful and talented writer.

Rating:

4 out of 5 stars

Book of the Week-Just One Day

So I miss my blog. I know to most of you, page you guys are seeing posts, stomach so you’re okay, diagnosis you don’t realize but not having a computer and not being able to be there for my blog every day is driving me absolutely insane. Yes, I have this attachment to a piece of technology. Sad, but very true. I just love this blog and not being able to work on it SUCKS  big time.

So basically what I’ve been doing, thanks to my amazing and wonderful and PATIENT boyfriend, is borrowing his laptop when I can and writing out as many posts as possible. This is already my second post of the night, and I’m hoping to get a couple more in there. We’ll see how that goes.

But one thing that has come from this lack of technology is that I’m also not on the computer doing completely useless stuff as well! So that means I’ve been getting a lot of reading done; I’ve read 3 and 1/2 books in the last few days. Yes, yes I have. So expect a lot of reviews coming your way, including today’s Book of the Week.

Just One Day by Gayle Forman

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GoodReads / Amazon / Barnes and Noble

Genre:

young adult, contemporary, coming of age

Part of a Series?

Yes. The second book, Just One Year, is expected in 2014.

You May Like if You Liked:

Gayle Forman’s If I Stay and Where She Went, Morgan Matson’s Amy and Roger’s Epic Detour

Plot Summary:

Good girl Allyson is in Europe, a tour of Europe that was a gift from her parents before she heads off to college. So far, it has been absolutely everything opposite of what she is expected, and as she heads back to London before heading home, she is feeling kind of defeated. That is, until two chance encounters with a handsome Dutch boy named Willem, who entices her to spend a day with him in Paris. She goes, even though this is something she would never do in a million years, and they spend a crazy, but amazing day together in Paris. When Allyson wakes up the next morning, however, Willem is gone, without a word and she has no way of finding him, and she goes home.

The story then picks up with Ally at college, still reeling from that one day in Paris. She knows that it was only one day, and that she didn’t even really know Willem, but its changed her, and she can’t remember who she is anymore. She needs to figure out why this one day has changed her so much, and what she can do about it.

The Bad:

I had an issue with how badly Allyson reacted to “losing” Willem. It was not so bad as the story went along but at first, it seemed more and more about this boy, and I hate when a story is all wrapped around a boy, and that really annoyed me at first. When she is just completely devastated and changed because of this one day, I was seriously irritated. As someone who broke up with her boyfriend of two years (we got back together) and that was painful. One day? I just wanted her to buck up and handle it. But when you realize that it is more than just the actual connection between Willem and how he kind of challenged the way she was living before, it made a lot more sense. It was more than just losing a boy, it was also about losing who she was with that boy. 

The Good:

Gayle Forman is absolutely beautiful writer. She is just straight up a really wonderful writer. She spins a great story, and a fairly believable one, at that, considering she created this crazy story of two teenagers running away to Paris for a day. Her writing itself is just so beautiful. She captures the simplicity of being a teenager and those sorts of feelings and thoughts, and so its so young adult but she’s also so rich and descriptive and she also doesn’t soften the truths of being a teenager. I think most people would qualify her as young adult but I would say she is new adult, and I really like this subcategory of new adult, that really takes it a step further (like in Tammara Webber’s novels) and isn’t afraid to show the grittier, more realistic sides of things. And she really accomplishes all of that with having such a talent for concise and beautiful writing, and the ability to tell a great story. 

I picked this up, and struggled a little bit in the first chapter. Sometimes when you pick up a book, its not what you want to read. Its nothing against the book itself; its just not what your  brain is craving at the moment. So I picked up a different book and read it (review on Friday!) and then I was able to return to this book. Once I did, it was time, and I fell into it as quickly as I did with “If I Stay”. 

The thing about Gayle that impressed me the first time around was her ability to create such an engrossing story with such well developed characters in SUCH a short novel, in If I Stay. I noticed this was the same with Where She Went, as well. I saw Just One Day and noticed it was longer and I wondered if it would be the same. She had already proven to me that she could write a great novel in a smaller amount of pages than most authors. But she really built a story. She told two different stories. She told the story of one day, and she told the story of Allyson’s life after that one day. That could easily have been two different novels, really but she put it together and it was amazing. 

It also leads to the sequel. What a horrible, terrible, amazing cliffhanger, Gayle. You did that with If I Stay too, and I want to shake you, happily, for that, because there aren’t many people who can really accomplish that more than once. I was racing to the finish, hoping to see what would happen and then it just ended and I was left with a desire to rush out to the bookstore and purchase the next book in the series. Unfortunately it is not released yet but I am now anxiously waiting because such a great book. 

Lastly, I want to commend Gayle for her characters. She’s writing contemporary fiction, which is in the minors nowadays with paranormal and dystopian and fantasy and science fiction, and if you aren’t John Green, you have your work a bit cut out for you. But the thing about contemporary is that you have to have this really great story, with well-developed characters because that is your entire novel. There are no fantasy elements to bring it all together. But Gayle creates all these believable and fantastic characters. Allyson, Willem, Allyson’s best friend Melanie, Willem’s former love Celine, Allyson’s parents and her friends at school. She really captures them all so well. She isn’t just great at creating these young adults, but her adult characters, even just her minor characters, all shine individually and its just so impressive and lovely to see. I seriously can’t wait to read the sequel. 

Rating:

5 out of 5 Stars 

Recommended or Not?

Definitely. I love Gayle Forman and I’ve only just recently read her three books. It makes me sad because I had a chance to meet her with Morgan Matson and Sarah Dessen at the LA Festival of Books but I skipped her because I hadn’t read anything by her. Now I’m disappointed because I would have loved to have a chance to talk to someone who writes such wonderful and compelling new adult literature, in the contemporary genre. This is exactly what I want to do and I’d love to pick her brain. 

Got off topic a bit there. The point is, Gayle is a wonderful writer. You should definitely pick up this book, if you’ve never read anything by her. If you’ve read If I Stay and Where She Went, and you enjoyed those, you’ll definitely enjoy this one. 

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Hope you guys enjoyed this edition of the Book of the Week!

Don’t forget you can always check out older posts here, and to check out last week’s review on Emmy Laybourne’s Monument 14!!

Happy reading!