Powerful Message from the Queen of Quotes | Just One Day by Gayle Forman

Friday, December 16, 2016

Just One Day by Gayle Forman

Publisher: Speak
Publication Date: August 20, 2013
Pages: 349
Source: purchased
Add It: Goodreads
Buy It: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository

Allyson Healey's life is exactly like her suitcase—packed, planned, ordered. Then on the last day of her three-week post-graduation European tour, she meets Willem. A free-spirited, roving actor, Willem is everything she’s not, and when he invites her to abandon her plans and come to Paris with him, Allyson says yes. This uncharacteristic decision leads to a day of risk and romance, liberation and intimacy: 24 hours that will transform Allyson’s life.

A book about love, heartbreak, travel, identity, and the “accidents” of fate, Just One Day shows us how sometimes in order to get found, you first have to get lost. . . and how often the people we are seeking are much closer than we know.

A lot can happen in just one day.  Allyson Healey finds this particular fact out when she travels to Paris with Willem, a stranger she met on a train.  In just one day, her life changes.  Like all things, the day ends and afterwards something seems to be missing.  Allyson decides to take another trip to Paris to find the thing she lost.

I really wanted to give Just One Day five stars.  I was ready to give it five stars but in the end, when it came down to rating the book, I couldn’t.  Five stars are for masterpieces.  Just One Day is sort of a clever cop-out.  It is the ending, which makes the book suffer.

I’ve never read anything by Gayle Forman before this novel and I really loved her writing.  Her structured, organized plot and writing pushes readers to continue.  Her messages were clear, inspirational, and perfect.  However, it was precisely the messages that make the book so hard to review.  For example, Allyson is investigating the happenings of a year ago and comes across her dad’s pen.  She questions a boy about her pen—about something that happened a year ago—and he remembers something as insignificant as finding a pen on the table.  One can easily use Forman’s gorgeous message of “anything can happen” as the excuse. Yes, that is a great message.  No, I am not being pessimistic when I say that pigs will never fly; that can’t happen.  Allyson does the impossible and with accidents—acts of fate—she is able to find the something she was looking for.  It is both moving and gorgeous.  I absolutely loved it.

Just One Day was filled with inspirational quotes like this:

It’s a powerful story but one that doesn’t have all the answers.  Forman uses “anything can happen” to add events that realistically never would.  In the end, she leaves readers wanting more.  We all want to know what will happen to this girl who is learning to find herself and to go after what she believes in.  The end is not so much of a cliffhanger as it is another excuse of “anything can happen” so this is what happened.  I got no answers from that.  Just One Day doesn’t seem finished.  Yes, there is a companion novel, Just One Year, but a full, complete novel consists of a finished story.  This is not a series.  Forman may have been going for the reader-must-figure-it-out route but with all the outrageous “anything can happen,” shouldn’t she have told us what happened in the end?  

Allyson is extremely relatable.  I loved getting inside her head and seeing things in her way.  It made the book more enjoyable.  I really wanted to love Willem.  He was the gorgeous, mystery boy who showed up and takes Allyson on an adventure.  He pushes her out of her comfort zone and what he is able to accomplish is fantastic.  Still, it was wrong of Forman to make Willem a player… but not in the way you think.  Given that Forman gives nothing away and tells us no answers, the prospect of Willem and his several love interests weigh on people’s perspective of him.  He charmed me for a while.  It wasn’t him being a player that bothered me.  There have been several fictional male love interests who have been players and turn out great in the end.  Willem, on the other hand, would constantly leave Allyson—to fend for herself in a country she did not know the language nor anyone in it—to chat and win numbers from other girls.  That is not him being a player; it is him being rude.  I didn’t like that aspect at all and Just One Year, the companion novel, will surely shed some light on him as it is in his point-of-view.

Despite how anything can happen, Just One Day is the perfect finding-yourself story.  I will definitely be continuing on Allyson’s journey with the companion novel, Just One Year.  Gayle Forman is a great writer and I finally understand where her fame comes from.

Just One Day (8/20/13): 4 stars
Just One Year (10/10/13): TBD

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  1. I love this series so much. I'm glad to see that you liked it! I hope you like the novella. :D
    Krystianna @ Downright Dystopian