Here are the basics ...
Just One Day by Gayle Forman
Publication date: Jan. 8, 2013
Publisher: Dutton Juvenile
Category: Young Adult - Contemporary
Summary: 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. (Adapted goodreads.com)
My thoughts…The good: When a book gets compared to Before Sunrise - one of my favoritest movies of all time - that's setting the bar pretty high. It seemed almost unreachable and I was scared this was going to be another one of those times where everyone five-star-loved this book and I would be all by lonesome with my two-or-three-star lukewarm rating. But, you guys, that was not the case here. I fell completely in love with Just One Day and Gayle Forman has pretty much solidified herself as one of my favorite authors. She really created something beautiful here. It's not just a story about falling in love in one day, as the title might suggest. It's about discovering you who are and deciding how you want to live your life and how sometimes all it takes is a single moment to set you on that path. It's so relatable and telling it through Allyson's eyes made it doubly so.
Everything about Allyson resonated so strongly with me. And I don't just mean with my past 18-year-old self. I mean even now as a 29-year-old, I could still relate to her. She's often defined by other people as good, meek, polite and reliable. These aren't bad words by any means but sometimes they can be so restricting, like that's all you are and there's no room for spontaneity or change. Then throw in an overbearing mother who doesn't know how to let you go (seriously, I thought my mom was bad) and it's clear that Allyson was already feeling stuck. It's just that meeting Willem made it more obvious. Made her see what she was missing. And made her feel things she didn't know she could feel. That moment when Allyson decided to throw caution to the wind and spend a day with Willem - I wanted to cheer her on (and switch places with her at the same time). It's crazy and illogical but oh-so-romantic. I liked that it wasn't all sunshine and roses though. She definitely had freakout moments and wondered if maybe she had been suckered into some sort of scam. Willem, on the other hand, was a mystery. But a good, very charming one. I could picture his smile/smirk so clearly in my mind. Despite all the unanswered questions, throughout the book I held onto this belief that everything about him was real and true, including their connection.
The adventure of the book though was in what came after the one day. Allyson had this once-in-a-lifetime potential love-at-first-sight experience. You don't get over that in a couple hours. And during her journey of figuring that out, she's growing up and learning other things along the way. How to juggle her relationship with her parents as she yearns for independence, new friends and childhood ones, letting go of old dreams and pursuing new ones. I loved getting to experience all this along with Allyson.
(No) reservations: Nothing but love for this book.
Do I recommend?: Yes! I already convinced one of my best friends to read it and I'm sure I'll try to convince some more. I can't say it enough - amazing book!
I felt so nostalgic for Paris the entire time I was reading!
I had to share a picture and..
one of my favorite passages from the book:
"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."