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!

Stop Picking on YA Literature!

Today in my children’s literature class, ailment we had a lecture on young adult literature.

And it was really super interesting.

We all know how much I love YA literature. This is beyond obvious.

So the class today was really informative and one that I definitely am glad that I didn’t miss.

I mean, what is ed did you know that S.E. Hinton was sixteen when she wrote The Outsiders? Now, I’m not a #1 fan of the Outsiders but that is seriously badass. As an aspiring writer, I must admit that I am quite impressed.

But it really got me thinking about young adult literature in general. I remember when I was younger and there wasn’t much of a young adult section in the bookstore. I remember having to special order books because bookstores would never have them.

But now that’s definitely changed. Young adult literature has exploded in the last ten years. Exploded.

And let’s think about that for a moment. Kids and teenagers are reading more than ever. I think a lot of it stems from Harry Potter. Harry Potter opened up a lot-it opened up the doors to new ideas and it opened up the doors of a new approach on writing and reading. J.K.R. showed that kids and teens WILL read and they’ll read long books too (I mean, Order of the Phoenix is HUGE!)

And think of everything that has come since then: The Hunger Games, Percy Jackson, Mortal Instruments, Twilight series, the Fallen series, the Gemma Doyle series, the Inheritance series, etc. There are authors like Meg Cabot, Sarah Dessen, John Green, Maureen Johnson, Jay Asher, Deb Caletti and so on and so on.

Young adult literature is HUGE!

And it helps so much that so many of the movies that have been hitting the theaters in the past few years have been coming from popular YA novels (notice that I said popular, not good. Though I think most of these are good).

Harry Potter.

Twilight.

Percy Jackson.

Perks of Being a Wallflower.

City of Bones.

Hunger Games.

The Fault in Our Stars (John Green) is optioned to be a movie, same with Fallen (Lauren Kate), Divergent (Veronica Roth), Thirteen Reasons Why (Jay Asher) and so many more. Delirium and Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver.

Don’t forget that The Vampire Diaries is a ridiculously popular TV series.

I literally could keep going. I won’t though…

There is also the fact that most authors nowadays are on Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, instagram, Youtube and so on. Authors are so accessible nowadays. I’ve been tweeted by Libba Bray, Meg Cabot, Cassandra Clare, Jen Calonita. I’ve had Facebook conversations with Meg Cabot, Jen Calonita and Cinda Williams Chima.

But let’s make this very clear:

Not all of young adult literature is good. In fact, there is a good amount that is fairly bad.

Now, I liked the Twilight series. I kind of liked the Fallen series. They are entertaining and they keep me reading. They are also not the best written books around. There are books like The House of Night series (ugh) and Hush, Hush, Gossip Girl, etc. I can’t sit here and attack these books (I mean, those guys have a publishing deal and I don’t…) but I do think that the bad YA books can be the ones that bring such negative view to the young adult genre.

Because the fact is, there is a lot of fantastic young adult literature. People like John Green, Sarah Dessen, Deb Caletti, Jen Calonita, Jay Asher, Suzanne Collins, Libba Bray, Cassandra Clare, Meg Cabot. These people are genuinely talented writers. They tell great stories.

But there’s more to it than that. They capture the young adult essence. They capture what its like to be a teenager and they capture the sort of things that they’re dealing with, from things like friendships and relationships and family issues to sex and sexuality and drugs and abuse. There are books that touch on so many teen issues and its amazing, especially since they’re usually so on touch with it and since the stories are so good.

Don’t deny it. We all remember the teen years. We all remember how hard they were. They weren’t easy and I don’t care how old you are, you remember how it felt. Why do you think young adult literature is also read by adults too? (Do I qualify as a young adult anymore…)

I also think that young adult literature gets a really bad reputation, because of more than just the good books vs. bad books (Sorry, Twilight, I’m looking at you). I think a lot of parents are really uncomfortable with some of the issues that are brought up in these books.

For instance, sex. There is a lot of sex in young adult novels. I’m not talking Fifty Shades of Grey here (UGH) but they’re teenagers! For the most part, these characters are from the ages of 15 to 19. They’re hormonal and thinking about sex. So of course sex is going to be discussesd, maybe more than that.

To parents, I say this: GET OVER IT. If you have talked to your teen about sex, then you have nothing to worry about. They will make the right decision, either way. If you haven’t talked to them about, then let them read it. You don’t have the cajones to talk to them about it and someone should!

I further think that parents have issue with the portrayal of adults in a lot of these novels. Parents can often times be the bad guy (Mortal Instruments, Delirium), they can be defied or disobeyed (Divergent), or neglectful (Hunger Games) or even addicts (Gemma Doyle). And here’s my answer to that: GET OVER IT. They are parents like that, wehther you like or not. If you’re a good parent, you’re okay. And yeah, parents aren’t perfect and that’s okay too. Maybe they’ll appreciate you more after reading about these parents.

My point is, (and believe me, my point has changed at least four times), young adult literature should be treated the same way as any other literature or form of writing whether it’s children literature or biography or fiction or nonfiction or whatever. Some of it is going to be bad (really, really bad). Some of it is going to be good (really, really good).

But just think of the impact that it can have.

Because of YA, I want to be a writer. Because of YA, I have learned so much about life and I have learned different morals and values. Because of YA, I have learned so much about myself. Because of YA, I am the avid reader that I am. Because of YA, I have this blog.

And come on, young adult literature is awesome. And its there for everyone no matter what age or gender you are. It’s made for PEOPLE.

And if you ever need a recommendation, trust me, I got your back :)

What’s your favorite young adult novel???? As always, share in the comments.

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