Review: Just One Day by Gayle Forman

Just One Day
Gayle Forman

Series: Just One Day, #1
Release Date: January 8th, 2013
Publisher: Dutton Juvenile 
Number of Pages: 368
Source: Bought
Rating: 4.5 stars

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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!
Quite a few months ago, in my early reviewing days, when I was just a new face in the world of reviewing and book blogging, I read a book called Die for Me. Although it had an interesting and original premise (which, ultimately, was revealed to be poorly executed), a pretty cover, and some mixed to positive reviews from friends of mine, the main reason I really wanted to read Die for Me was because it took place in Paris, and I'd hoped that the author would take advantage of such a wonderful and rich setting. Unfortunately, the most background of Paris the author provided us readers with in Die for Me was the Metro and a few coffee shops. Maybe a lake or two. Some really great details of Paris in that book, you guys.

Since then, I've been wary of books taking place in Paris. Until, however, Just One Day appeared on my feed. Written by an incredibly hyped author and receiving rave early reviews, I figured that Forman could do no wrong with the beautiful Paris.

And I was right.

I'd gone into Just One Day with expectations of heartbreak, high levels of swoon, awe-worthy prose and a strong, overwhelming desire to hop on a plane to Paris immediately. And while all of those expectations were met, and in fact exceeded, I came across quite a few surprises along the way - such as the fact that Just One Day is filled with truly hysterical passages and moments - which I don't say very often about books, especially not about books in the YA genre, considering the fact that I have the sense of humor that will have me inevitably burning in hell, and most YA novels don't cross that particular boundary to meet my sense of humor - and the fact that I'd be so engaged with Allyson and Willem's travels in such a short amount of time.

Allyson was, for the most part, an awesome and incredibly witty character, and in the end, I am definitely able to say that I enjoyed reading in her perspective and seeing her character meet such a large amount of growth throughout the course of the novel. While she did, at times, get on my nerves - most notably how she got jealous whenever a girl looked at Willem, or whenever a girl talked to Willem after knowing him for just one day (oh look, I've used the title of the book in my review! This is almost as exciting as when the title of a movie is spoken in said movie.), she eventually ended up winning me over once again with her wit and snark. Willem was also an amazing character, and while he wasn't met with very much growth at all throughout the course of Just One Day, I thoroughly enjoyed the scenes where he opened up to Allyson - however slightly - about his home life, even after knowing her for such a short period of time.

Charming, often hysterical, with some great characters, equally as great relationship dynamics, and a clever incorporation of Shakespeare, Just One Day is not a novel to be missed for anyone looking for a quick and incredibly fun read that makes you feel like you're roaming the streets of Paris. If you had asked me before reading this novel if two people can fall in love in just one day, I probably would have lectured you about the vast difference between lust and love, but after reading this novel and experiencing the relationship that is Allyson and Willem's firsthand, my opinion may have been swayed.


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