Review: Just One Year – Gayle Forman

Review: Just One Year – Gayle FormanJust One Year by Gayle Forman
Series: Just One Day #2
Published by Speak
Published: September 30, 2014
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four-stars

The compelling companion title to the much-lauded  Just One Day  follows Willem's transformative journey toward self-discovery and true love, by the author of  If I Stay.

Picking up where  Just One Day  ended, Just One Year  tells Willem's side of the story. After spending an amazing day and night with Allyson in Paris that ends in separation, Willem and Allyson are both searching for one another. His story of their year of quiet longing and near misses is a perfect counterpoint to Allyson’s own as Willem undergoes a transformative journey, questioning his path, finding love, and ultimately, redefining himself.

Let me start by saying how excited I was when a friend got an advanced copy of this and let me borrow it before she even read it. She is totally awesome. I’ve been dying to read this book since I finished Just One Day back in January and it didn’t disappoint…for the most part. Although I didn’t love it as much as Just One Day, I really enjoyed Willem’s story which turned out to be a year of growth and changes.

Just One Year is the companion to Just One Day. I say companion because although it has the exact same characters and revolves around the same circumstances I didn’t find it to be a sequel. It was more a story on its own. It was Willem’s story. When we left our couple in Just One Day we never really got to know what happened to Willem and why he disappeared and what had happened to him. It was all a blank slate and Just One Year clears it all up. We get to see what Willem has been up to in the year since he and “Lulu” had parted. What obstacles he faced, what trials were thrown at him, how much he grew as a person. We find out if he was looking for “Lulu” or if he didn’t care as much. We really get to know him.

You know, I liked Willem a lot in Just One Day. What we knew of him it was good stuff. But it was surface stuff for the most part. Sure we knew his thoughts on love and family, but I didn’t feel we really go to know him. Well that all changed in this book and I liked Willem even more as I watched him truly become a man and not be stuck in that man/boy stage. When we first met him he was kind of a lost soul and “Lulu” grounded him, touched him in a way that would forever change him, and in the year they were apart, he was changed. From the first page to the last Willem changed and I loved being able to clearly see that transformation. We as the reader really got to be a part of it which isn’t always the case.

I know, this review is all very vague, but that’s because I don’t want to give away the wonderfulness of the book. Like I said, to me, it wasn’t as good as the 1st book, and I have my reasons for that that I can’t share without giving away some of the plot, but it really was a great journey. I didn’t want to throw in the towel at any point. I wanted to know everything I could and that is because of Forman’s style of writing which pulls you in. She has a knack for writing character stories whether it is Mia and Adam from If I Stay/Where She Went or Willem and LuLu from the Just One Day Series. You become a part of the journey and that is definitely what happened in Just One Year. I would definitely recommend it. It’s a great period and exclamation point on a great two-part story.

 

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Review: Just One Day – Gayle Forman

Review: Just One Day – Gayle FormanJust One Day by Gayle Forman
Series: Just One Day #1
Published by Speak
Published: August 20, 2013
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five-stars

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.

I have been stained by Gayle Forman and this book. Completely stained from head to toe all over my body. For those of you that have read this amazing book then you know exactly what I mean. And for those of you that haven’t, stop reading my rambling words and go get the book ASAP. It. Is. That. Good. No, I’m wrong. It isn’t that good, it is that awesomely amazing that it needs to be read by everyone and read often!

Just One Day is a fabulous story of Allyson, an American girl that has graduated from high school and is sent to Europe by her parents because college starts. Allyson is the girl with the good head on her shoulders, the girl that always does the right thing, the girl that parents and teachers love. Well, when Allyson decides to bale on a planned group viewing on a Shakespeare play in order to see a street version of Twelfth Night, Allyson’s life is put on a path she never expected. Soon Allyson is headed to Paris on a train with a boy she just met and acting in ways she never thought she would. Sadly after her one day remarkably, unforgettable day with Willem, Allyson finds she has been abandoned by him and nothing is the same. Now she must figure out how to get along with her life even though she misses him desperately and would like nothing more to capture a time when she felt like she could do anything. Told from Allyson’s POV entirely, you are taken on a journey of self-discovery, standing up for yourself, and seeing just how important love is.

Did I mention how awesome this book was? In case I didn’t let me say it again…AWESOME! It is by far the best Gayle Forman book I have ever read, and this is coming from a girl that was insanely in love with her If I Stay series. Just One Day managed to put all my favorite elements into a book while giving me the same feeling I get when I watch the Before Sunrise/Before Sunset movies. Allyson and Willem’s story made me believe in the fairytale of love at first sight and that things aren’t always what they seem. And sometimes it is worth it to take a chance because you may just find out who you really are. And Allyson did exactly that in the year since she saw Willem. With an overbearing mother(really overbearing isn’t even strong enough of a word for that woman) planning every aspect of her life Allyson was able to figure out that even if she felt Lulu was gone, she was a part of her and always would be. She figured out that you can be the good kid but have faith in some adventures and that’s it’s okay for plans not to work out because unexpected things are the way of life.

Like I said, I have been stained by this book and will be forever. It was that awesome! Now get out of here and go read it. SO. GOOD.

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