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.
“Oh, my god, come on! When does the next one come out, October? Crap, I can’t wait that long! I can’t believe this!” I was kind of freaking out when I finished Just One Day. It was such a good novel, through and through. Generally I get through some of a book, put it down and start another, and then after a while I go back to the first book I started. It was nothing like that with this one. This book is a major page-turner and when it finally ended I was, as you can see, anxious to read more. Rephrase: I’m still extremely anxious to read more.
Just One Day ended with the cliffhanger of cliffhangers. It was such an unfair (to readers) cliffhanger and it was absolutely perfect. Throughout this entire book I was laughing and gasping and hurting… I felt the emotions Allyson was feeling so deeply I almost mistook them for my original sentiments. Sometimes I had to remind myself “Calm down, it’s a book. It’s fine.” Gayle Forman’s writing is so wonderfully thought out and deep and, if you’re willing to give in to it, I promise you’ll be majorly affected by it in the best way.
If you’re going to read this novel I hope you like Allyson, the main character, because the story is supremely character-driven. I mentioned already how easy it is to sympathize with the things Allyson is going through, and I would say that’s due to the fact that characters are more important than the story. Yes, the story is wonderful, but there would (obviously) be no story without Allyson, and/or it would be quite different if there were a different person as the main.
Allyson is a likable character, but she’s stuck in her ways and isn’t completely aware that she doesn’t think for herself. It isn’t until she meets Willem and tours Paris does she realize she’s tired of the way her life has been. Allyson grew a lot as the story progressed. Her growth chart would look something like a rollercoaster with many ups and downs… until she get a grip and falls into the groove life. She really learned how to be more assertive and think for herself. In this way Allyson is a very respectable character. I loved how independent she became.
I loved all the characters, to be completely honest. Melanie was sort of annoying, but she was real. Willem has a whole backstory that we have yet to see, but hopefully soon! He may seem just like a vagrant and possibly even a “player”, but I honestly feel like Willem is an honest and good person. And don’t even get me started on Dee. Dee is one of those characters you can’t help but love. He’s spunky and intelligent and so caring. He’s a great friend and even though he may get a little too upset over things sometimes (don’t we all?) he seems like the type of person you just want to be around. If I can’t have Dee as a friend of my own I’m glad Allyson has him as a friend (so I can read about him, duh).
I loved, loved, loved this book and it deserves every single star I’m giving it. Gayle Forman is an ace wrier and I can’t wait to read more by her. Just One Year comes out in October of 2013, and while I’m about to burst from excitement, I think I’ll live through the wait. Absence makes the heart grow fonder, right? And the next book is from Willem’s point-of-view. I don’t know if I can grow any fonder of him, but believe me… I’ll try. So excited!
Rating: 5 of 5 stars
Reviews from the rest of the series:
Just One Year (#2)