Finding a Boy Across the World | Just One Year by Gayle Forman

Friday, January 20, 2017

Just One Year by Gayle Forman

Publisher: Dutton Books
Publication Date: October 10, 2013
Pages: 323
Source: purchased
Add It: Goodreads
When he opens his eyes, 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.
Allyson and Willem spent one day together in Paris.  Then he vanished without a word.  Allyson’s story is told in Just One DayJust One Year gives Willem a chance to explain what happened during their year apart.

In my review for Just One Day, I mention Willem’s character and how he is not very likable.  However, getting inside his head and reading the story from his perspective changed that.  I’m not quite entirely sure why but I loved Just One Year much more than I did Just One Day.  This companion series could have been one book.  It should have been one book with the unfinished Just One Day

Still looking past that, Just One Year is a fast read that will have you finished in just one day (see what I did there?).  It is a gorgeous wanderlust journal, a philosophy of accidents, and a journey to find love.  Gayle Forman certainly plays with your heartstrings, just like she did in the last book but there is something different about it this time.  Instead of Allyson’s angst and her freshman blues, readers finally understand the mystery behind Willem and why he is the way he is.  Willem chooses to find Allyson as soon as he lost her and keep looking for her.  On his journey, he is not only trying to find her but also trying to figure out who he really is.  The year-long journey is truly enchanting. 

There were not many side characters that ruled the scene.  Willem’s friends were there and then gone.  Just as I warmed up to them, they would be out of the picture.  It is both sad but undeniably true in how friends come together and grow apart.

So many questions from the unfinished Just One Day was finally answered.  I need to read the first one and only then, could I now appreciate it much more.  Willem’s connection with Allyson seemed to dig deeper as the pages turn.  Despite not even knowing her name, his connection helped him understand himself and heal him from his harsh world.

This is a love story like no other: gorgeous, intricate, and realistic.  The ending was magnificent. It was not a surprise but I wished the ending would go a little farther than it did.  I’m not asking for a sequel because I think the story came to a nice close.  I just want a few more minutes within their world and to see what happens next.  Just One Year truly takes readers through a whirlwind of places on an adventure to find love.  It will have you asking for more and rereading its companion novel, Just One Day.

Just One Day (8/20/13): 4 stars
Just One Year (10/10/13): 5 stars

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