Title: Just One Day
Series: Just One Day (#1)
Author: Gayle Forman
Genre: contemporary, new adult
In short: surprisingly good! Insightful, well-written, and a great journey.
Goodreads: Allyson Healey’s life is exactly like her suitcase—packed, planned, ordered. Then on the last day of her three-week post-graduation European tour, she meets Willem. A free-spirited, roving actor, Willem is everything she’s not, and when he invites her to abandon her plans and come to Paris with him, Allyson says yes. This uncharacteristic decision leads to a day of risk and romance, liberation and intimacy: 24 hours that will transform Allyson’s life.
Unpopular opinion here, but If I Stay, Gayle Forman’s debut, just didn’t work for me. I certainly wasn’t expecting Just One Day to either, since I was kind of meh about the premise. To be absolutely honest, I was looking for a book that would fit Backseat Serenade, since that song was stuck in my head all day yesterday. And then I wound up really liking this one! Woohoo! Twenty points to good surprises.
C’est courageux d’aller dans l’inconnu.
It’s courageous to go into territory unknown. Just-out-of-high-school Allyson Healey is on a Teen Tour! of Europe with her best friend Melanie when she meets Willem for the first time and watches him in a play. And by a happy coincidence, they’re all on a train to London the next day. Shedding her normal caution, Allyson talks to Willem and is immediately intrigued by him—before she knows it, she’s agreed to go with him to Paris for one day. They tour the city in a whirlwind, but the day ends in disaster. Allyson leaves for home alone, thinking she’ll never see him again. She struggles through the first months of college and she’s absolutely miserable, until she realises that she needs to go back to find what she’s lost. And that just might not be Willem himself.
I think of Ms. Foley. “Don’t call me that.”
“I’m not that either.”
She looks peeved. “Nothing girl.”
Allyson is easy to relate to on a fundamental level. She’s had her plan of med school since she was thirteen, and she’s all set to do her parents proud. Ever the soul of caution, Allyson is your typical good girl student. But her day in Paris teaches her that spontaneity makes her far happier than careful plans. Her grades plummet, she’s sick of her mother’s need to control everything for her, and she’s terrible at keeping friends. Allyson is too busy holding her secret rebellion inside her and it’s driving her nuts. What she thinks she needs is a new start, tabula rasa. What she really needs…is answers.
Allyson’s falling apart was a little overdone for me—she says it herself, though. How can I be this empty? Because of one guy? Because of one day? Nevertheless, watching her learn who she was and what she needed for herself made me smile. This book is all about going where the wind takes you, and seeing as how I’ve never done it, I can appreciate the charm from my safe distance, ha. Allyson’s journey was really great to read about.
But saving the best for last, my favourite thing about this book was definitely the travelling. From Paris to Amsterdam, I loved reading about Allyson’s physical journey. The descriptions, the people, all coupled with her crazy hunt make for such an enchanting background. Unfortunately, she’s travelling for a smaller portion of this book. Sigh.
Aside from a few jokes in the beginning that made me sort of iffy, this book’s only major problem for me was the girl-on-girl hate. Luckily, it wasn’t the full-blown hate that I was prepared for. Thank all that this is rainbow-and-sunshine in this world. Overall it was a good read, asking the right questions and going the right places.