Review: Just One Day by Gayle Forman

Summary/Cover Image from Goodreads:
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!

Ever since I read If I Stay, Gayle's breakthrough YA Novel, I've been a huge fan. Therefore, when I heard about Just One Day, I knew I had to read it. It sounded amazing from the summary alone. I mean, romance, exotic settings, and the twist of falling head over heels in love in just one day? What's not to love about that?! Thankfully, Just One Day was an extraordinary YA book, one that provided just what I was looking for---even if I didn't always realize it.

If I was asked to sum up Just One Day in one word, I would probably pick frustrating. Sure, it was beautiful, thrilling, and emotional among many other things, but when it comes down to it this book is FRUSTRATING, like throw your hands in the air frustrating. However, even though I hated, no loathed, the frustrating part, it's what made it such a worthwhile and spectacular read by the end, to tell the truth, and without it, I don't think this book could have packed quite the punch it did by the end. But I'm getting to far ahead of myself, so lets start with the characters.

Allyson....I think all of us have parts of Allyson in us. Allyson is the typical "good" girl. She has the need to always follow the rules, to never stray to far from the path she's been put on, and honestly, she's fine what that. It's comfortable being boring to her. However, one day, she becomes Lulu, and Lulu is everything Allyson is not. She says and does what she wants. However, just as quickly as Lulu appears, she disappears once again, leaving Allyson Allyson. To be honest, I hated Allyson for most of the book, and that's probably because she frustrated me so much. After her day with Willem, she became so mopey and whiney and just all round pathetic. I couldn't take it. I mean, I get why she was upset and sad, but she just screwed so much up. It annoyed me to pieces, and several times, I almost gave up on Just One Day because of it. However, I stuck through, and I'm glad I did, because as the book progressed, I started to see that this book was more than just a romance, it was about discovering yourself, and managing to stand and be brave at your lowest point, no matter how hard it may be, and honestly, seeing Allyson go through this journey was amazing (even if it was frustrating), especially towards the end! Now on to Willem....he was such a mystery to me throughout the book, and in some ways I loved that and in some ways I didn't. For one, I never really could figure out if he was a good guy or a bad guy. However, I did enjoy the mystery as well as development he stirred up for Allyson.

The plot in this was really something new I thought. As mentioned above, I loved the whole "one day" aspect, and Forman really managed to execute the idea quite well. I enjoyed how she managed to really work the fun and exotic settings into it, especially when she tied in little tidbits of history. As mentioned before, this book is more of about finding yourself than a romance, and Forman did an amazing job with that, just like she has with the rest of her books. She really managed to make me feel Allyson's emotions throughout the book, and while at times I wanted nothing more than to tell Allyson off, it really allowed for this book as well as its character to find a special place in my heart. I can't really describe, but if you give this one a try and stick it out, you'll see what I'm talking about. Truly, Forman is an incredible writer.

In all, Just One Day is frustrating but by the end, I was truly taken away by the beautiful and emotionally charged story Forman presents. I CAN'T wait to read Just One Year and to be transported to the world of Willem and Allyson for their final act.

Grade: A+

Just One Day (Amazon, Barnes and Noble) is now out!

Source: Library 


  1. I kind of forgot about this one. After reading your review, I really want to read it. Thanks!

  2. So happy that you loved this book! I adored it too, so emotional and very well written.

    Great review! :)

  3. This book sounds wonderful. Like you, I fell in love with her first book. I am almost scared to read this one - I hope it meets or exceeds my expectations!


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