Tuesday, January 15, 2013

{Review} Just One Day by Gayle Forman

Title: Just One Day
Author: Gayle Forman
Format: Hardcover
Publisher: Dutton Juvenile
Release date: January 8, 2013
Date Read: January 12, 2013 - January 14, 2013
Rating: ✭✭✭✭✭
A breathtaking journey toward self-discovery and true love, from the author of If I Stay

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!


Five stars. Five glowing, splendid, glamorous stars.
Or actually, it might be closer to four-point-five stars, but the point is that this book is insane. In a good way.

My first Gayle Forman book was IF I STAY, which interestingly enough, was recommended to me by my sixth grade English teacher. I'm not going to lie: I was disappointed after reading it, but I still loved IF I STAY, and enjoyed the sequel, WHERE SHE WENT.

But JUST ONE DAY completely blew my mind.

That gif is disturbing, guys.
JUST ONE DAY is a beautiful story of personal growth that follows teenager Allyson Healy as she searches for Willem de Ruiter, a handsome Dutch actor that she spent a life-changing day in Paris with before he disappeared in the morning. Allyson, depressed and unhappy with her controlled life, leaves her college for a bit and embarks on a journey to Europe to discover herself, her future, and her connection with Willem. And Shakespeare. And macarons.

That sounded suspiciously like the official summary, didn't it? Shit.

I don't usually read books about self-discovery, but it was romance and Gayle Forman, so IT SHALL NOT BE UNREAD. The plot was truly amazing - maybe not the most original thing ever - but it wasn't cliché, either.

First of all, Gayle Forman's writing is gorgeous. The woman rivals Laini Taylor in this department okay maybe not but still and the way she weaves thoughtful messages into her novels is amazing. Descriptions of Paris and the European cities Allyson travels to are genuine (well, duh. Gayle traveled around the word!), and the prose is simplify magnificent: simple, far from purple, though intricate as well - but not to the point where the writing distracts you from the actual plot of the story.

Reading JUST ONE DAY, I felt overwhelming sadness as well - I'm French, my paternal family is French, and I absolutely adore France.

It took me back to Paris: back to the delicious food I've grown accustomed to, back to the language that strongly resembles a song, back to the wonderful sights and... smells... kind of... not on the Metro, though...

Oh, and back to the pervertedness of the French (okay, so I am too, but still) and seeing homeless men piss in front of Notre Dame.


Nostalgia is a bitch.

I swear, it's not a stereotype. We French are crazy.

It's been said before, but JUST ONE DAY is an extremely character-based novel, and if you don't like the main character, yes, you're pretty much fucked.

I had mixed feelings about Allyson, and it was because she was so realistic. Allyson has flaws! She's imperfect! She bitches at Willem a lot, and gets jealous easily after one freaking day, and hates on girls that even look at Willem, and at times she's a boring, and she does a lot of stupid things. She's impulsive, quick to assume. Impatient.

A day barely goes by without Allyson thinking about Willem The Abandoner and the pain he caused her, and it was tiring to read about it after so many pages.

Yeah, I hated her for it. I did. But Allyson is also complex, wonderfully written, and wholly human. She's an annoying human, for sure, but I really sympathized with her and liked her when she wasn't ticking me off.

But you know what's the funniest part? I disliked her most in a scene where she's mad at Willem, so she literally chugs down a glass of wine like it's water.


And then I felt better when she stopped. So goes to show how easily I get annoyed when it comes to things like that. But in all seriousness, Allyson grew as a character, and by the end of the novel she had matured so much!

Gah, Willem. Willem. He was charming, and funny, and really, really sweet. I pretty much adored him up until the moment where he, uh, abandoned Allyson.


We don't know anything about Willem, really. As Allyson learns about him, the reader does, too, so we're left in the dark for most of the book - hell, the ending was a huge cliffhanger, so we still didn't get what his deal was!

'Tis true.
All the side characters have their own distinctive personalities and aren't just there as props. My favorites had to be Babs, a hysterical cook who really reminds me of my father (Motherfucker!), and Dee, her gay best friend.


The ending completely shocked me. Cliffhanger, much? I can't wait for JUST ONE YEAR, the sequel to JUST ONE DAY, and I anxiously await it.

Oh, and I might have forgotten to mention that I met Gayle Forman at a signing. Oops.

Shoving aside the problems I had with this book (DAMMIT, WILLEM, IT'S PAIN AU CHOCOLAT IN FRANCE, NOT 'CHOCOLATE CROISSANT') this book touched me in so many ways and I loved it. Completely recommended.

Oceana is a French-blooded teenager who enjoys stalking British boys and asking them to marry her. She was diagnosed with severe fangirl disorder in 2011. Able to curse like a sailor with an angelic voice.


  1. So jealous you got to read this already. Glad it lives up to the hypse :D

    1. I hope you like it! And yessss. First thing I read when I opened the Amazon box.

  2. Love your review! You are so right about Allyson. She was being an idiot with the wine. Can't wait till the next book! Willem had better be worth all of Allyson's efforts!

    1. I'm so sorry for not responding! D: I keep on forgetting. Thank you!

      GAH, YES. THE WINE. *throttles Allyson*