Series: Just One Day #1
Published by Penguin Teen on January 8, 2013
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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.
Allyson reminded me a lot of myself. She was very much a good girl. Rather than going out partying with friends, she spent her nights alone in the hotel room, not wanting to get in trouble and not really into the crowds. She was smart and kind but rather quiet. That changes when she meets Willem, an outgoing, fearless guy who does pretty much whatever he wants. He’s a traveling actor at the end of his run and he and Allyson just happen to meet. He brings out a new side of Allyson in the day they spend together.
Allyson and Willem’s story is key to the book but the time they spend together is actually very short (just one day.) Following what seems like a magical night, Allyson wakes up alone and must go on with her life without him. The year following brings a whole new Allyson and even though she constantly thinks of Willem, she has to learn to love herself without him. College helps her with that, especially with the help of some new unexpected friends.
Gayle Forman’s writing is spectacular and her voice is spot on. Readers will have no trouble getting hooked on Just One Day through the writing alone.
The setting of Paris (though only briefly set there) is so fabulous. I felt like I was seeing everything alongside Allyson and Willem. Gayle Forman includes the highlights of Paris but that is far from all she includes. She draws attention to the lesser known attractions of Paris and it was so fun. If you can’t make it to Paris sometime soon, read Just One Day and you’ll feel like you’re there.
Overall, read Just One Day if you haven’t already. It’s a fabulous contemporary story that will leave you eager for the conclusion to Allyson and Willem’s story.
What others are saying about Just One Day:
Mad But Magic’s review: “Gayle Forman has yet to disappoint me.”
Book.Blog.Bake.’s review: “So many people love this one, but I found it problematic on multiple levels.”
Bookish’s review: “I don’t know whether I want to recommend this book to everybody I come across or to protect them all from the feels.”