My resolution to not start a series until all of the books have been released went right out the window! When I started this book I had no idea that there was going to be a second book, released in October, called Just One Year. I didn’t realize it until I was half way through the book and happened to glance at the back cover – “Coming Soon!” Seriously?! Now I have to wait another 8 months for this story to end?? I HATE it when that happens!
Allyson is on a trip through Europe before starting college in the fall, boring, reliable, safe Allyson, when she meets Willem, a Dutchman performing Shakespeare, and agrees to spend a day with him in Paris. Willem dubs her Lulu, and for that one day she allows herself to be, to feel, to experience, to love.
“Because that day with Willem, I may have pretended to be someone named Lulu, but I had never been more honest in my life. Maybe that’s the thing with liberation. It comes at a price.”
When Allyson wakes up the next day and is unable to find Willem, she has to find herself. Her one day in Paris changes her life and sends her on a year of self-discovery.
“Part of me knows one more day won’t do anything except postpone the heartbreak. But another part of me believes differently. We are born in one day. We die in one day. We can change in one day. And we can fall in love in one day. Anything can happen in just one day.”
Allyson is not the only character on a journey of self-discovery – her best friend tries on different personalities as casually as trying on shoes and abandons Allyson in the process. Dee, her gay friend in college, is also trying to figure out who and how to be, who to show himself to, and what parts of himself to share. Allyson’s mother is controlling and annoying, but as a mom myself I can appreciate her journey of figuring out who she is if her days are not absorbed with being Allyson’s mom. How does a young adult break away and how does a parent learn to let go?
Just One Day was a joy to read (even if there is now an 8-month long cliffhanger!), although Allyson’s struggle to find herself does get a little annoying in the middle of the book where she seems to spend far too much time feeling sorry for herself and very little time trying to do something about it! Having said that, I was racing to the end, found it to be a quick and enjoyable read filled with travel, friendship, and maybe even love…
Title: Just One Day
Author: Gayle Forman
Genre: Young Adult Fiction
Publication: Dutton Juvenile, January 2013