Saturday, 8 December 2012

Review: Just One Day by Gayle Forman

Just One Day (Just One Day, #1)

Just One Day by Gayle Forman
Publisher: Dutton Juvenile
Publication date: January 8th 2013
My rating:  4 stars

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!

After reading and loving If I Stay and Where She Went by Gayle Forman, I was thrilled to hear Ms. Forman was working on a new novel, Just One Day.  Just One Day was a bittersweet story that entranced me, took hold of my heart, and gave it a great big squeeze!  My heart still aches.  

Allyson is almost to the end of her graduation present, a three week trip touring Europe.  She’s spent the time speed traveling through Europe, and is now in London on the last leg of the trip.  On a whim and an accident, she meets charismatic Willem, a Dutch actor at the end of his tour performing the Shakespearean play, Twelfth Night.  There is an instant connection and attraction.  When he finds out that Allyson missed Paris and is about to travel home without seeing it, he insists she go there with him as her guide.  Normally Allyson would never do such a thing.  Break her plans, and do something spur of the moment and with a total stranger?  No way.  But the past few weeks of let down and disappointment from her trip have worn her down, and she’s ready to take a leap into the unknown.  They spend an amazing and strange day together, and an incredible night, but when Allyson wakes, Willem is gone and left no clue where to find him. 

Shattered, she goes home and tries to plunge into college but she just can’t shake the pain.  Added to that, Allyson is enrolled in classes basically picked by her mother as a pre-med student.  That one day doing as she pleased in Paris, had more of a profound effect on her than she realized, and she just can’t stomach going along with other’s expectations anymore.  

This story broke my heart!  The first third of the book had a dreamy but achy quality to it, because she’s spending this amazing but intense day with Willem, and you know it won’t last.  She’s going home, and so is he, but I didn’t expect for him to just up and leave her!  At that point on Allyson basically goes through a big depression and I felt like I went through it with her.   As heartbreaking as the experience was, doing the unexpected was liberating for Allyson, and soon she starts to question what she really wants out of life. 

I felt so bad for Allyson, I felt like she was bullied by her mother and her “friend,” Melanie.  Spending time with these two sucked the confidence and will right out of her.  I really couldn’t stand Melanie.  At the beginning of the trip she was nothing but an attention hog, and put Allyson down continually.  The mother was another character I couldn’t stand.  She poured her own expectations into Allyson instead of letting her find what was right for her.  I hate to say this, but I didn’t like Willem for most of the book either, and it seemed the more I found out about him, the more I hated him.  However, hold that thought and don’t let that sway you too much against him.  There is more to his story.  Still, it wasn’t enough for me to like him,..…..yet.   I’m hoping I see a completely different side of things from him in the next book, which apparently is in his POV.  I hope to find out that appearances were misleading.   I hope this for Allyson, and well, for me too!  You know me, I want that happy ending. 

Don’t read this if you haven’t read If I Stay.  I have to think back to my feelings when I read it, and remember that for most of the story I had this achy feeling, as well.  Yes, Adam and Mia loved each other, but looming ahead of them were their futures, which were about to take a very different and separate path.  Even without the accident, they had a tough road ahead, and I kept wondering how things were going to work.  This was multiplied tenfold when I started Where She Went and found out what happened!  But tsk, tsk, ye of little faith (yes, that was me).  Of course Gayle Forman made it right, and the heartbreak only made the end SO MUCH SWEETER!   So I HAVE to believe this is what she will do here.  Work her magic and heal my heart.  We shall see.  I will leave off with a swoony quote to soothe some of the heartache:

“As if disconnected to the rest of my body, my hand raises in the air and goes to touch his cheek.  But before it arrives, Willem’s hand whips around and grabs my wrist.  For one confused second, I think I’ve misread the situation again, am about to be refused.  Willem holds my wrist for a long moment, looking at that birthmark.  Then he lifts it to his mouth.  And though his lips are soft and his kiss is gentle, it feels like a knife jamming into the electrical socket. It feels like the moment I go live.”*

*Quote is taken from and uncorrected proof and may change in the final copy. 


  1. Oh I so want to read this book. Gayle Forman is one of my favorite authors. She can break and then melt my heart all at the same time. I have already pre-ordered the book.
    Amazing review! :D

  2. I haven't read Gayle Forman's series yet, but I'm very much interested. I don't if this book is for me because it doesn't seem like it's a very happy story. Plus, your reaction to the love interest has me a little worried. I'm glad you enjoyed the book overall though!
    Beautiful review, Rachel. :)

    1. You haven't read Gayle Forman, Nick?!! She's a must. I read If I Stay and Where She Went one right after the other and didn't have to wait for the next story like this, thankfully. I wish I had the next story now. :(

      Thanks Nick! :)

  3. I'm dying to read this one! :) I love both If I Stay and Where She Went so I have no doubts that this one will be great! :) I love your review and now I'll prepare my heart! Amazing review :)

  4. Ummm....not sure this would be something I'd enjoy but I'm glad you did. It's nice to see different books out there =)

  5. I am so excited about this book! It sounds like a beautiful read, and I'm so glad you enjoyed it! Great review. :-)

  6. Wonderful review Rachel!!!! Wow, this book sounds heartbreaking, but hopefully the next book with bring Allyson and Willem to a good closure.

  7. I cannot wait to read this! However, it's a letdown that Willem isn't the greatest, hopefully he will get better though. Loved your review!

  8. Aargh, I can't wait to read this one! Gayle Forman definitely knows how to write an emotional read. Melanie and Allyson's mum sound awful, I'd hate to be surrounded by people like them. Willem sounds a little worrying, but I'm not overly concerned, seeing as this is Gayle Forman after all. ;) Glad you really enjoyed this one too, brilliant review, Rachel! :)

  9. Your review made me year up, Rachel! This sounds like an amazing book. How sad is it that I've had If I Stay and Where She Went, though I've had them for months now?? I will definitely read them, then read Just One Day. Lovely review!

  10. *sigh* I just wrote a comment and lost it. Gah. Anyway, I don't think I like this Willem. And Where She Went was a bit too much for me, you know how I am. I think I'll probably wait for the other book to come out and then read them both one after the other. Probably even in one day, knowing myself.
    Wonderful review, Rachel.

  11. Wonderful review! I sort of assumed Willem would be sweet but I guess that would make it even harder for Allyson to go through her state of lonesomeness. I'm adding this to my must-read list. Thanks, Rachel!

  12. Great review! I liked Gayle Forman's If I Stay, but for some reason I wasn't invested in the story. But I can't wait to read this one. I might need a lot of tissues.

  13. I NEED to read a Gayle Foreman book, I feel like I'm missing out! Great review, Rachel! :)

  14. So cannot wait to read this book <3 <3 Sounds incredible <3 <3 <3

  15. Great review! I can't wait to read this! I loved If I Stay and Where She Went so it'll be good to revisit Foreman's writing.

  16. I loved If I Stay and Where She Went, and believe it or not, I enjoyed contemporary books even less back then, so that was something. I'm really curious to see how this book will play out, though I have a feeling I will need to prepare myself for some heartache. Great review, Rach!

  17. It scares me that the majority of the ratings for this novel have been between 3-4 Stars and it's a real shame that Willem didn't grow on you as much as you wouldn't liked. I feel as if this is a novel I need to wait for the sequel for since I felt similarly with If I Stay. I loved it, but I didn't give it a 5 Star rating until I finished Where She Went, which made me appreciate If I Stay all that more. Still, I know I won't be able to resist this one and I'm glad you still enjoyed it, Rachel! Amazing review, dear! :)

  18. Exquisite review, love! Despite you not really liking Willem for much of the book, I'm really thrilled that the magic of Gayle Forman's writing touched you on a personal level. :) I love heartbreak and bittersweet relationships, as you know. ;) The quote you inserted is great but WHY is the sequel release date so far off? :(

  19. Ahh this one sounds so lovely! I'm a little worried about the insta-love, but I'm sure Forman will be able to pull it off just fine. I'm currently reading Where She Went, and it's wonderful, I can't wait to get to Forman's next novel! Beautiful review, Rachel! :)

  20. EEEEEEE! Just One Day! Gayle Forman! I've read If I Stay and Where She Went last year and really loved them both. Adam and Mia's story was so heart-breaking and beautiful. I can't wait to meet Allyson and Willem in Just One Day now ;)

    Awesome review, Rachel ♥ So glad you enjoyed it!

  21. I loved her previous two books If I Stay and Where She Went and those two where--ugh!--those two were right up in my alleyway. Even if they aren't my favorite of books, they hold a special place for them. Just One Day sounds just the type for me and I bet Forman will pull it off and I will just fall for the whole story. ^^ And I am loving the fact that it switches POV for the sequel!

    Lovely review, Rachel! Can't wait to pick this book up!

  22. That quote. Why do you tease us so Rachel?!

    Well, I have to safely say that I think I need to pick up a Gayle Forman book. Honestly I'd never heard of her until I joined Goodreads and she sounds like a really good author.

    Contemporary isn't really my thing, but this definitely sounds like an emotional read that stays with you, so I'm off in search of 'If I Stay' in hopes of getting a copy soon.

    Great review! :)

  23. I love how you apparently disliked the majority of the characters in this book and still ended up loving the book itself. I think that's a sign of an author's strength in storytelling. I really want to read this, but I do think I'll try to read If I Stay and Where She Went first just so that I can get at least one story with dual POVs before moving onto Just One Day.


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