Sunday, December 2, 2012

JUST ONE DAY by Gayle Forman

Author: Gayle Forman
Publisher: Dutton Juvenile (a Penguin imprint)
Release Date: January 8, 2013
Number of Pages: 320
Source of Book: ARC from publisher at NCTE
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.

Just One Day is the first in a sweepingly romantic duet of novels. Willem’s story—Just One Year—is coming soon!
I have been waiting for a new Gayle Forman book since I ever since I read WHERE SHE WENT (twice!) because I really enjoy reading books in her voice and the way in which she writes that draws me into stories. I appreciate her way of making me feel as if a city is another character in the book and the way in which she writes a single day as worthy of an entire book. That is what I was hoping for in JUST ONE DAY, and I got that plus so much more.

This is a smart book. It has intelligence and humor and emotion and all of the feelings. It's a coming-of-age story for a new generation, with a bit of Shakespeare and Paris and travel and college life and family drama and best friends growing apart and romance and missed connections and finding what's right for what you want not what others want for you. It's a journey of finding oneself that takes more than just one day. There were some shocking moments and some moments that were so real and true to life that I felt utterly connected to these characters. And some of the characters were so great. Beyond the main characters, there were others that came into Allyson's life who I really wanted to stick around and hang out with. Some true friendships were developed, and others ran their course and started to drift apart, and that's what happens in real life.

The romance that develops between LuLu and Willem during their one day in Paris is endearing. The little moments throughout their day made me fall in love along with them. As someone who loves to travel internationally, I appreciated the way in which each city's character was drawn on the page. Some I have been to, and some I haven't, but after reading JUST ONE DAY, I felt as if I had been on a trip to each of them.

I was reading the end of the book during my students' independent reading time in class, and they knew I had 15 pages left, and when I was almost to the end I heard them laughing, and then I finished and made some "what?!" hand gestures because of the very ending of the book, and then they all started laughing louder and told me that my face and reactions were really funny as I was reading the end of the book. Yes, that is what happens at the end of this one. You'll want to throw the book on the floor, and then pick it up and hold it close. It's heartbreaking and hopeful all at the same time, and it left me desperate for the sequel, JUST ONE YEAR. I'm glad we get two Gayle Forman books in the coming year, and I hope we get even more soon! This is definitely a book to get in January.


  1. I was finally able to snag a copy at NCTE and I'm hoping to read this one over Christmas break. Great review!

  2. I didn't like this one as much as you (I haven't been the biggest Forman fan) but the ending certainly was killer-I bet I made some weird faces too.

  3. Great review! I've been waiting a long time for another Gayle Forman book, so I'm pretty excited to read this book now.

  4. This sounds like a good one, but it's going to break my heart isn't it? :)