Title: Just One Day
Author: Gayle Forman
Publisher: Dutton Juvenile
Publication Date: January 8, 2013
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.
I honestly don’t know what was wrong with me the first time tried to read this book. I didn’t even end up finishing it, and was annoyed at Allyson the whole time for being so naive and sheltered. I also kept comparing it to If I Stay, which is one of my all-time favorite YAs, and Just One Day didn’t hold quite as much power for me as that book. I also think I just wasn’t in the mood for it at the time, because when I reread it, I ended up loving it.
A lot of people have talked about the romance in their reviews as one of the best things about this book, but for me, Just One Day was really about Allyson’s growth as a person. As I mentioned earlier, the first time I read this book, I didn’t like Allyson very much because of her extreme innocence, and I still felt that way a little the second time reading the book, but after a while, we start to see some real changes in her character. Allyson becomes much more confident and daring, and for me, that was one of the main joys of this book.
My second favorite thing about this book was the travel aspect, of course. I don’t think I would have survived the structure of the Teen Tours part of the book, but once Allyson went off on her own, she got to see some truly interesting and fun things. I really liked that the story was framed by her two traveling experiences, because it allowed me to see how much she had changed. Her second trip back to Europe sounded absolutely amazing, and made me want to travel all over Europe searching for Willem, too.
Just One Day may not have been as good as If I Stay and Where She Went, but I still ended up liking it the second time around. This book is perfect for people just starting college, travel lovers, and Shakespeare buffs. Allyson’s emotional journey rang really true to me, and filled me with a strong wanderlust. Anyone want to come to Paris with me?