Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Carla's Thoughts - Just One Day by Gayle Forman

Published by Dutton (US) Random House (UK)
8 January 2013

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.


This isn’t a ‘girl meets boy’ story. This is a ‘girl meets boy, decides to go to Paris with him on a whim, boy leaves.’ story. And that is where the beauty lies; in the details and in the little moments of perfect imperfection. Because you know before evening turning the first page that this book is going to be different and what you discover the simple beauty of knowing the difference between a trip and a journey.

Allyson is on her last day of her tour of Europe, a tour that has been carefully structured (no doubt full of itineraries and rules), a tour that is dull and uneventful and too meticulously organised to ever be enjoyable. And then she meets Willem. Willem is Dutch, performs in a gorilla Shakespeare troupe, is ridiculously hot and likes canal boats. In act of spontaneity, that is totally our of character for Allyson, her and Willem travel to Paris. For Just One Day.

Forman’s delectable writing shapes this story into something that totally transcended any expectations I had. She creates a whole universe of opportunities and possibilities and manages to keep the story within the reach of us back here on earth; we feel and want and lust and strive to make connections with people just as much as Allyson does. We realise that Willem may not be the shining star that we want him to be and that’s where his character is at his strongest. And yet we still hope. He feels so real you can’t for one second be impervious to his charm or his marvelously developed page presence.  

Just One Day will make you melt from happiness. It will make you feel like you've just breathed in a cool breath of fresh air after being stuck inside. It makes you hope and dream and fall in love with not just the characters, but with Paris and the kindness of strangers (the statement ‘a stranger is a friend you just haven’t met yet’ stands strong with this novel). You will feel relief as Allyson breaks the binds that tie her to her feelings of inadequacy and self-doubt.

This isn’t a ‘girl meets boy’ story. This is a ‘girl meets boy and finds something she needs more; herself’.  I fell head over heels in love and I can’t wait to go on a journey with them again.

16 comments:

  1. I love that Willem is human, with plenty of foibles and that he helps Allyson break out of the box she's in. I did wish her after-funk was a bit shorter but when she finally pulled it together, it made the journey even sweeter!

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    1. I think that's why I loved him so much. I loved that it was when he left that Allyson came into her own, that he never once defined her story, but was a necessary part of the equation to her self discovery.

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  2. You SLAY ME with your WORDS. This isn’t a ‘girl meets boy’ story. This is a ‘girl meets boy and finds something she needs more; herself.' DEAD.

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    1. co-blogger first bump. what can I say, you bring out the best in me.

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  3. Oh wow. Great review. :) This totally makes me want to get started on Just One Day. There's just something great about books where the characters are so real and so easy to fall in love with - people you wouldn't mind meeting in real life. I should probably move this book to the top of my TBR pile. :D

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    1. I think you should definitely move this to the top of your TBR pile. Forman knocks it out of the park with this one.

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  4. I love this line you wrote: "the simple beauty of knowing the difference between a trip and a journey." and this one: " we feel and want and lust and strive to make connections with people just as much as Allyson does." :) Great, great review!
    I just reviewed it yesterday too: http://giveahootreadabook.blogspot.com/2013/01/review-just-one-day.html

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    1. thanks Jenn and thanks for the link :)

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  5. "This isn’t a ‘girl meets boy’ story. This is a ‘girl meets boy and finds something she needs more; herself’."

    I think this may very well be my favorite part of your review (although the whole thing is fantastic). I love how you expressed perfectly the charm and beauty of this story - and it makes me want to reread it all over again.

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    1. well now you're just making me blush. I think this is definitely one of those books that you could read over and over again and discover something new each and everytime. and you're right, the book is full of charm and beauty. I am beyond excited for Just One Year.

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  6. I can't wait to read this book! I loved Gayle Forman's other books...

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    1. me too! but this is just on another level. the character development is just insane. I was prepared to love this book but not at all prepared for how much I did.

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  7. 'This is a ‘girl meets boy and finds something she needs more; herself’. I fell head over heels in love and I can’t wait to go on a journey with them again.' NAILED IT.

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    1. from you April, that means a lot.

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  8. This book is high on my TBR pile. I love romantic books, and Gayle Forman is one of my favorite authors.
    Lovely review!! (: I am new follower.
    Please please check out my new blog and follow back! Thank you ^_^
    Sapir @ Diary of a Wimpy Teen Girl

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  9. A very enjoyable contemporary fiction read about a girl and her search for who she wants to become. Absolutely engrossing and emotionally tumultuous. Forman does an excellent job of creating a situation that is interesting and a character that is easy to engage with. I can't wait to find out what happens in Just One Year.
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