Review: Just One Day (Just One Day #1) by Gayle Forman

Just One Day (Just One Day, #1)Just One Day (Just One Day #1) by Gayle Forman

Publication Date: January 8, 2013
Page Count: 368
Published by: Dutton Juvenile
Source: Purchased

Synopsis From Goodreads:

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!

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I put off reading Just One Day because I just knew that once I read Allyson's story, I would want to read Willem's story (which doesn't come out until October 15). But I couldn't stand looking at it sitting on my bookshelf unread, just tempting me with that amazing cover. I gave in and read it, and geez was I ever right about wanting to read Just One Year immediately. See, I know myself that well.

I had really high expectations for this book, and it did not disappoint. I thought it was pretty damn amazing. I loved the characters, the plot, and the settings. (Just One Day sort of reminded me of the movie Before Sunrise, and it's sequel, Before Sunset - although I don't know if the author actually intended the similarities. Also of note, the third movie, Before Midnight, is being released on May 24. Coincidence?)

I must admit that Allyson was not relatable to me for most of the story, and I never really felt any connection to her. That's not to say that I didn't like her, because I did. I just didn't always agree with her thinking, and I had a few wtf moments from her. I did like that she learned how to stand up for herself and was willing to go for what she wanted out of life. She had such huge growth as a character after her encounter with Willem. While looking for answers about Willem and their short time together, Allyson was able to discover things about herself that really changed her life's course.

As for Willem, I could understand the attraction that Allyson felt towards him because he was obviously handsome, but he also seemed to be quite mysterious. Because we only get Allyson's POV here, the reader is never sure if Willem is being 100% honest with his responses. While I thought that made Willem more intriguing, it also made him less trustworthy, so I found it difficult to really love him like I wanted to. I think there was more to him than he let on, and I can't wait to discover everything about him.

I have a terrible case of wanderlust, and this book brings it all front and center for me. I want so badly to explore Europe - all of it! It's one of those things I think may be possible when I get older (er, yes, I am 'old' now, but I'm talking about traveling in the next 10-20 years if I can afford it. My kids are 15 and 18, so I hope they won't be dependent on me by then. I'll keep my fingers crossed.) Just One Day really brought these locations to life for me and made me long to visit.

There are two sides to every story, and I cannot wait to read Just One Year and discover Willem's secrets. I am so hoping that Willem turns out to be worth the wait, and I hope certain aspects are not glossed over or easily pooh-poohed away. I want reasonable and in depth explanations for everything that occurred in Just One Day. I want have to know if the experience effected him as much as it did Allyson. And I really need for the author to make me fall in love with Willem - because I really, truly want to.

My rating: 4.5 of 5 stars
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YA Contemporary Challenge


  1. I've read some other books by Gayle Forman, and I think this book sounds really good. It's been on my TBR list, and I'm planning on reading it. Maybe I'll read it after Just One Year releases so I can read them both.

  2. I've been wanting to read this one, so I'm glad you liked it! I think this whole two-book, switched perspectives thing Foreman is doing is brilliant--it's practically guaranteed to get readers to buy both!


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