Title: Just One Day
Author: Gayle Forman
Publisher: Random House
Released: January 8th 2013
Pages: 369 (Paperback)
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 AM TORN BETWEEN RATING THIS WITH FOUR OR FIVE STARS! You'd think that since I've read both If I Stay and Where She Went, I'd get used to Forman's happy but torturous endings, but nope, I fell for it yet again and am now wallowing in a pit of my own sorrow. I suppose that I had better explain.
As soon as I saw that Forman was bringing out another book, I added it straight to my TBR list - and when my school library received a copy, I think I was scarily close to dying from happiness! Reading the synopsis, I couldn't pick anything that I didn't love - awesome protagonist? Check! Hot foreign love interest? Check! Shakespeare? Yes! Travelling about and visiting new places? You bet! I began reading it straight away, and from the very first page, I was addicted.
As a nerdy bookworm who loves routines and planning, I instantly adored Allyson. I'm sure a lot of people could have easily found her irritating, but I couldn't pick a fault with her. Forman has always been great at really characterization and getting the character's to behave realistically, but I honestly think she has somehow managed to step it up a notch - Allyson was like an old best friend, and I fell into her story quickly and easily. I could relate a lot to her and her situation - I suppose in a way, I'm a bit sheltered from the world, what with my head constantly buried in a book. However, I do have impulsive moments, moments where it's like I'm an entirely different person - that happened to Allyson, and I got that. I understood her desire to be LuLu, and I yearned for the forward, brash, impulsive personality, too. I take my hat off to Forman for creating such a bridge between the reader and the book.
And Willem - PHEW! That's some hot sauce, right there! I just want to go up to Forman and say, I love your books but please stop making incredibly sexy male characters as I am starting to develop a very unrealistic expectation of men. That is all I have to say on the matter.
I loved the journey Forman took the reader through - the guesses and clues and puzzles to work out - I was constantly on edge, wanting to know what was going to happen next. It was a complete guessing game, and I honestly didn't foresee the ending. Though that's a point - the ending! One thousand nope's to what Forman put me through - I wanted the pair to meet back up and still be in love and to be perfect and gah! But of course that's too simply, too nice - so I am now left heartbroken and waiting for Just One Year, the companion to Just One Day but told from Willem's point of view, which I'm sure will be full of more tears and dead bunnies and pain.
I'm over-exaggerating, but the ending was painful and fabulous at exactly the same time. But in all seriousness, it was an amazing read. It's reignited my interest in Shakespeare, and I'm actually currently reading As You Like It. It's also made me contemplate taking a gap year after A-Levels and going travelling - something I'd never have thought of before, but if Allyson could do it, why can't I? For you contemporary lovers out there, this is your read of 2013.