Review: Just One Day by Gayle Forman

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.

Title: Just One Day
Author: Gayle Forman
Publisher: Dutton
Source: Bought
Format: paperback
Series: Yes

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I first heard of Just One Day on Goodreads. A friend was gushing about how she couldn’t wait to get her hands on it, and how she knew she’d love it. I decided to check it out and thought it sounded okay. Nothing amazing, just a book I might eventually get around to reading. As time went on, I started to see more and more amazing reviews about it. When I recently discovered the Book Depository and it’s free shipping I decided to give this book a go. And wow am I glad I did!

Just One Day is a very simple book in many aspects. It is simply about a boy and a girl who have just met deciding to spend a day together in Paris. Yet when reading it, it is so much more! It is a touching story of a girl finding the boy she loves and, more importantly, finding herself.

I can’t remember the last time I enjoyed a contemporary read this much. I’m more of a dystopian/apocalyptic/fantasy fan. Yet this book managed to blow me away completely. I finished it the same day I started, which shows how I really and truly could not put this book down.

The book can be split into two parts. The one day they spent together and everything that happens after. I loved both these parts equally, though in different ways. The first part was utterly romantic, making me feel very jealous of these two not just for finding each other, but for doing it in Paris!

Slight spoilers ahead

The second part scared me off for a bit I will admit. I was getting a very New Moon feel from it until I understood the reason for Allyson’s moping. It was not because she thought she was abandoned by Willem, though that may have been a small part of it. It was because she had found herself that one day with Willem and didn’t know how to get her true self back.

Spoilers over

I loved these characters so much! Allyson was such a true person if that makes sense. Her decisions all made sense, they weren’t just something to further the story along. She was so real. She was unbelievably well developed throughout the course of the book. Not only did Paris change her, but she is starting in college and going through the trials and tribulations of that also. Allyson without a doubt had the best character development I’ve ever read in a book! Willem, compared to everything we got to see about Allyson, was so mysterious, but I always believed the best of him. The other secondary characters were three-dimensional too, not simply filler for Allyson to interact with.

The love in this story was utterly perfect! No insta-love here that’s for sure. You get to see every little detail of Willem and Allyson falling in love. I loved every single moment of it. You truly fall in love with Willem right alongside Allyson. I truly don’t know whether to consider this romance the main focus of the book or the sub-plot. A little bit of both I guess. While it may seem like it is completely what the book is about, for me, it wasn’t really. It was simply a way for Allyson to find her true self.

I would recommend this book for anyone looking for a romantic read, a mild adventure story, or a story of a young woman finding herself. This book has all!

Have you read Just One Day? What did you think of it? Let me know in the comments below!

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