Publisher: Dutton Juvenile
Publication date: October 10th 2013
My rating: 4.5 stars
The heartrending conclusion—from Willem’s POV—to the romantic duet of novels that began with Allyson’s story in Just One Day After spending an amazing day and night together in Paris, Just One Year is Willem’s story, picking up where Just One Day ended. His story of their year of quiet longing and near misses is a perfect counterpoint to Allyson’s own as Willem undergoes a transformative journey, questioning his path, finding love, and ultimately, redefining himself.
Just One Year had been a book I’d been eagerly anticipating after devouring Just One Day earlier in the year. Allyson was a character whose story had slowly ripped my heart to shreds and thrown it about like pieces of confetti. The way things had ended I needed to know what would happen next, but most of all I needed to know Willem’s story.
Willem was a character who I adored in Just One Day, but he had left me wanting more. He held back a lot of the time in truly admitting his feelings and then when something serious was about to go down he would try to shut everything down. I needed more from this guy, I needed to know why he was the way he was, what he was actually thinking and feeling and what actually happened that night. Once again Gayle Forman delivered a beautiful story which resulted in my heart breaking all over again. Honestly I’m barely able to function after reading a book by Forman and this was the case once again after reading Just One Year.
Willem’s year without Allyson was just as painful to watch as it had been with Allyson, I normally don’t have many favourite reads by male mc’s, but this is the second time Forman has won me over with a brilliant story from a male mc, (my first was Where She went told from Adam). I found myself being caught up in Willem’s life from the very first page. There was so much going on, with his feelings of confusion, sadness, loss and especially his vulnerability, that I felt that I was experiencing every single emotion with him on his incredible journey. Highlight to view spoiler! I was glad to find out that he hadn’t given up on Allyson either, the way he had left and the things Allyson had to go through had me doubting his character and sincerity, but from this story you just discover Willem’s just a really confused and lonely character that often doesn’t make the best decisions when it comes down to it. But with Just One Year I’m glad that Willem decided to do things differently, he actually took the risk to do things he wouldn’t do, go back and deal with people in the past and do things right.
Willem in my eyes was just a lost person who needed someone to keep him centred and on track. It was heart breaking to realise that this person had been Allyson. His need and longing for her was so paramount and at times it did seem that things would never be okay for him. But I’m glad that there were people in places that he least expected to be that could help him out, also help him without him even realising they were. Willem’s story was an absolute incredible one; I adored learning about his back story, it was such a sad but also beautiful story which influenced a lot of the decisions he made in this book. And with just like Allyson I thoroughly enjoyed going on this incredible journey of discovery with Willem from Mexico, to Mumbai to Amsterdam. The gorgeous settings just made me love this story even more. I love being able to visit so many gorgeous locations through a book, but actually visiting these places were an integral part to building Willem’s character. From each place he was able to take something away which made him the character that he became in the end of the book.
Fans of Just One Day will not be disappointed with Just One Year. Forman once again delivers a beautiful story full with longing, loss and beautiful relationships. I thought that nothing could top Just One Day, but now after going along Willem’s journey I’m not so sure. Just One Year will leave you feeling raw, with a huge lump in your throat and also if your heart is about to burst, but most of all happy.
I could go on endless journeys with Willem and Allyson and never get tired, their story is such a poignant one that I will always remember for years to come.