Fantabulous Contemp! Review of Just One Day by Gayle Forman

Just One Day by Gayle Forman
Hardcover, 368 pgs.
Published: Jan. 8th, 2013 by Dutton Juvenile
Source: Borrowed
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!

Like so many others, I’m a huge Gayle Forman fan.  I just adore the stories she comes up with so I was really excited about reading this one.  I think I had pretty much forgot what the book was about when I opened it up so I didn’t know where the story would go and that worked really well for me.  I wasn’t sure if the book takes place in one day, or what.  And it doesn’t, it takes place over a year but it’s based on one special day and something that happened that day.

The book was full of things I love, international travel (London, Paris and more), romance, finding oneself and their way and family and friends.  I love to travel but haven’t traveled internationally yet, so I just live vicariously through books.  While initially I felt a bit disappointed in how it was going it quickly changed and in the end of I fell head over heels for the travel aspect in the book.  I know many weren’t a fan of the romance, but personally I loved it.  It just killed me a little when the book ended because it was sort of cliffhanger, but yet was kind of perfect too.   Through the book we see Allyson and how she’s kind of a perfectionist, doing everything possible to keep her parents happy but not acknowledging her own dreams.  Once she starts finding her way and opening up she becomes a different person and I totally loved her.  Her mother was infuriating in her control freak ways and I wanted to scream at her to let Allyson live her life and to stop controlling every single thing she did.  Once Allyson broke free of that she was an amazing person.

The friendships in this book are actually pretty epic and something I really want to talk about more in depth.  While she has a bit of a tumultuous friendship with her best friend who is off at a different college finding her own way, once she learns how to make friends with others things start getting amazing.  Allyson never really had a lot of friends, so once she makes some and learns how to be a good friend she finds she can do anything.  In this book all these side characters, even ones who make brief appearances are important.  And the author did an amazing job fleshing them out and making it so we really know them in such a short time.  They all had these amazing personalities and were people I wanted to know.  These are people from her classroom, from the street who she randomly talks to, people in restaurants who come to her aid, just random people everywhere and anywhere.  And with all the horrible things that have been happening in this world this was a good book to read because it sort of renewed my hope in humanity.  There are far more good people out there than bad.  Far more. 

This book made me laugh and cry.  I cried tears of sadness, tears of frustration and tears of happiness.  I wasn’t bawling or anything, but more like the feeling in your throat, when you have the urge to shed a tear or two.  But it was good, it was just evidence that this book was really impacting me and hitting the right spot. 
The next next book, Just One Year, is scheduled to come out this year and I cannot wait!

I definitely recommend this book.  I have seen some bad reviews on goodreads and I have to say that this is one that I don’t get it.  I loved the book and many others have as well, so you need to give it a shot at least!
While this is categorized as YA, it is more NA as the MC is over 18 and is starting college.  While there’s implied sex, it’s off the page and there’s very little cursing.

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  1. I’m so happy you loved it! I really enjoyed the friendship aspects as well. It was really realistic, especially for that period in her life.

  2. I absolutely adore Gail Foreman and SOOOO need to go buy and read this book IMMEDIATELY. Too bad I’m at work and there’s just no way. *sigh* I hate that I have to work when there’s awesome reading out there. Throw in the travel bits and that raises it to another whole level.

  3. I love all of Foreman’s book so I had to grab this one on release day! I am so glad you loved it Candace. It makes me excited to read it and makes me want to plow through my TBR pile so I ca get to it sooner!!

  4. I LOOOOOVVVEEE this book. Definitely in the top three books I read last year, and I think Forman’s finest to date. Everything about it was perfect. The characters. The coming of age story. The ROMANCE. And I really like that you spoke about the friendships, because yes, they were very important to the story. I appreciated what Forman had to say about old friends growing apart as well as making new friends. And gosh, I just love Dee!

    I am SO GLAD Willem’s story releases later this year because I don’t think I could wait any longer than that:) Beautiful review, Candace!

  5. GAH! this sounds so good! And I have never read a book by Gayle Forman! O_O I love these types of reads too so it’s weird I’ve never picked her books up. I love how you describe the friendships in this novel it sounds so profound and true. I also like that the MC is in college. Big NA fan! 😉 Wonderful review, Candace!

  6. So incredibly jealous that you got a chance to read this one but I’m ecstatic that you loved it so much. I’m a huge fan of Forman too and I was eagerly anticipating this book. I can’t wait to read it too. Everyone that I know seems to love it!

  7. Besides the fact that Gayle Forman wrote this book, it sounds simply amazing! I widh I could travel before going to college but sadly that is not the case. I have only traveled to airports abroad but I love books that have to do with travel. I’m thinking I’m going to love Allyson (I’m a perfectonist too!) I’m honestly glad this book is considered in the YA genre (don’t think NA is necessary BUT I’d have read it any way!) great review Candace!

  8. Awesome review!! This sounds really good. I have never read one of this authors books, but have heard that they are wonderful. I am always fascinated by travel too. I love reading books that involve road trips or just traveling to another place. I’m glad that the characters are well done too. It sounds like a book I would enjoy.

  9. I want to read this so, so bad. I love books w/travel, a star-crossed romance. Someone compared this to Before Sunrise. I really don’t need to buy this b/c I have so many books. But I know I will.

    Beautiful review, Candace!

  10. Yay, I’m so glad you loved this one! This is something I hope to start reading soon and that’s great we’ll get the guy’s point of view too. Very exciting! I loved Gayle’s first book, Sisters in Sanity, and then I read If I Stay and totally fell for this author. I need to read Where She Went (ah, soon, I swear!) but I’m glad Just One Day continues the legacy of great contemp books from Gayle.


  11. LOL My review is coming up tomorrow. :) I enjoyed this one too. Can you say Dee??? Didn’t you just love him? Oh and that ending killed me. What? the next book isn’t in my hot little hands like NOW? :) Still, need that next one so I know if I end up liking Willem or hating on him.

  12. Phew! I was so worried because of the bad reviews, especially the ones about how they never felt a connection with Willem and grew to steadily dislike him as the novel progressed, and even the ones that said that the book dragged on and that Allyson was ridiculous for letting one day impact her life so much, but I refuse to believe that this book is anything less than perfect. I love Forman, so I’m really looking forward to this and I am just THRILLED that you enjoyed it so much!(: Amazing review, Candace! 😀

  13. As one of the more negative reviews, I can say that I found Allyson’s mopeyness post-Willem incredibly annoying. It wasn’t until Dee entered the picture that it perked up for me-he (and most of the supporting characters) was fabulous!

  14. I adored this book too. I’m planning on putting my review up tomorrow. This book was such an emotional roller-coaster. I liked the travel aspects a lot too, although much more Paris than London (Allyson would agree). I liked seeing her character grow.

  15. I’ve been really excited to read this book, although I had NO idea what it was about until now. I just knew it was Gayle Foreman and I love her other books intensely.

    Glad to hear it was such a great read. Can’t wait to pick it up!!! Thanks for the excellent review.

  16. I was not quite a fan of If I Stay, but I have a feeling I’ll enjoy Just One Day a lot more. I like the fact that the protagonist travels, that it’s more about her coming to terms with herself instead of the relationship (though it sounds like the relationship is definitely a catalyst), and that’s she’s a little older than the typical YA protagonist. Glad you enjoyed it so much!

  17. I got my copy in the mail yesterday and I can’t wait to start it. I just have to get through a few more arcs before I do. But I know the wait will be worth it.

    Surprised by some negative reviews! I have seen nothing but glowing. :) Glad you enjoyed and I can’t wait to share in the love!

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