Review Detail

4.1 4
Young Adult Fiction 3544
Refreshing, Humorous and Deep...
Overall rating
Writing Style
What I Loved:
I'm really starting to think I need to spend more time in the Contemporary genre. Right from the start I knew I would love this book. Allyson reminds me so much of my younger self. She's unsure of herself, follows the rules to the T, is more focused on the approval of other around her verses what she wants, etc. I'm sure we could all relate to feeling that way at one point in our lives and that's what made this book real for me. While Allyson is traveling Europe with her teen tour group, she stumbles across Willem, who seems to be the opposite of herself. So for just one day, Allyson decides take a few chances, takes up the alter ego "Lulu" and becomes the spontaneous traveler.

What I loved about Just One Day is how Allyson both loses herself that day in Paris and later finds herself over the course of a year afterwards. When all is said and done and she has to resume her life after being left by Willem, she's broken, a mere shadow of who she thought she was. I think it was there that I truly started to connect with Allyson on a deeper level. Here we have a former honor student struggling to get by in her college courses, struggling to keep former relationships intact and struggling at making new ones. What I found most interesting is that it's not her relationship with Willem that metaphorically heals her, but the secondary characters she meets at college. How often do we read in YA novels the male heart-throb being the catalyst for change in the heroine? Too often, in my opinion. Allyson's change is gradual and is due to various people and experiences, most of which have nothing to do with Willem. Ya know, pretty much how life is supposed to work.

I went into this story expecting some sort of fluffy romantic contemporary novel, but I guess I should have known it wouldn't be that simple. I suppose that's what I get for being fashionably late to the Gayle Forman party. *dons her party hat* What I got was a novel that really examines that feeling of uncertainty of who we choose to be, how others perceive us, and how those two situations are sometimes mutually exclusive. The feeling of enlightenment I had with Just One Day was very similar to how I felt while reading Wanderlove, which also features a girl searching for answers, but ends up finding so much more.

Then, of course, you have the fantastic setting of Paris. I've always wanted to go to Paris and one day I intend to. But while I was reading, it was so easy to visualize the french cafes, the old buildings, the culture. This is the second travel type novel I've read and it's a wonderful change in scenery. High school angst vs. Europe. I think we know who wins that round.

What Left Me Wanting More:
If there is one thing I have to nitpick, it'd be the ending. Not that it was bad, but I think it has more to do with personal tastes. It's also where I found myself conflicted. Right after finishing Just One Day, I felt I needed more, that I wasn't completely satisfied with the ending. I wanted her to find Willem and to figure out what happened. But on further reflection I realized something. This wasn't about Willem. It was about Allyson finding herself. So clever, Forman. But I still want to know what happens after that door opens. So, I think it goes without saying that I'll be needing Just One Year. Hehe.

Final Verdict:
I love novels that take me away from the usual and make me think. Just One Day was just what I needed. Refreshing, humorous and deep.
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