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Just One Day Hardcover – January 8, 2013
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Call it an accident, serendipity, or a miracle, a single event comes to define a year in Allyson Healey’s life. Straitlaced Allyson finds her postgraduation trip to Europe (“Teen Tours!”) underwhelming until she makes the uncharacteristic decision to follow Willem, an actor in a “Guerilla Will” performance of Twelfth Night, to Paris for a single day. Before you start thinking this is a teen version of Before Sunrise (and the first third kind of is), Willem seemingly up and disappears after a one-night stand. What follows is a tumultuous freshman year for Allyson, filled with what-ifs, severe depression, and, finally, strength as she decides to seek the truth of what happened that day. Although some readers may feel frustrated with Allyson’s descent into the depths of despair after a 24-hour affair, others—the romantics—will get swept up in the story, which has it all: true love, Paris, Shakespeare, and, yes, the notion that “anything can happen in just one day.” The believers won’t want the story to end; luckily, Just One Year, told from Willem’s point of view, is on the horizon. HIGH-DEMAND BACKSTORY: Forman’s If I Stay (2009) and Where She Went (2011) were New York Times best-sellers. This is lighter fare from the popular author, and teens will be waiting for it. Grades 9-12. --Ann Kelley
“[Forman’s] very good on travel’s expansive effects, the fluidity of teenage identity and the yearning for reinvention, how fleeting encounters can transform us.” — New York Times Book Review
* “Offering mystery, drama, and an evocative portrait of unrequited love, this open-ended novel will leave fans eagerly anticipating the companion story.” — Publishers Weekly, starred review
"Reading like a teen version of Elizabeth Gilbert’s Eat, Pray, Love, this tale of romance and mystery engages readers and will cause them to examine their definitions of love and self-identity." — SLJ, starred review
"Romantics will get swept up in the story, which has it all: true love, Paris, Shakespeare, and yes, hte notion that 'anything can happen in just one day.'" — Booklist
"As [Allyson] blossoms a. . . the novel becomes absorbing, and readers will find themselves rooting for Allyson’s more autonomous and interesting self." — Kirkus Reviews
Top customer reviews
Just One Day is about a girl named Allyson who is on a graduation trip in Europe. On the last day, she meets a guy named Willem, and she randomly decides to run off with him and explore Paris for a day. In a single day, she falls in love and gets her heart broken.
This may seem like its a typical story about falling in love in Paris, one of the most romantic cities in the world. But its so much more, I promise you. When I first saw the title, I thought that this was going to be 300+ pages about 24 hours. However, the events in the book take course over a year. The story is much more than just about a whirlwind romance, its more about finding yourself. When you’re 18, fresh out of high school and going into your first year of college, a lot of things can happen and sometimes you just need to jump into the unknown to start that discovery of yourself.
At first, I was unsure if I was going to like Allyson. She seemed to be a bit of a control freak in that recluse sort of way. She had never done anything to call herself brave. However, the character development in this book was phenomenal. She was such an obedient girl when the book started, but by the end she was a strong woman who was brave. She was able to stand up to her parents, rush off to Europe, and face the one thing that has been haunting her. Her journey was more about herself than it was about some guy she fell in love with. I felt as though she was so brave for facing the things that she knew scared her and the things that were unfamiliar to her.
One thing I was happy to see was that Allyson was brave enough to admit that she was scared. She was able to gain courage, but still admit that she was vulnerable. I liked this aspect a lot because sometimes I see characters who start off as scared but later become courageous, but also maintain the idea that they are almost invincible. Its admirable to know that you can be that courageous, but sometimes its good to know that you can be both courageous and vulnerable at the same time.
So, I have to mention this. This book made me crave macaroons like crazy. They were always talking about them in the book. A couple of months ago, I was dying to try them out for the first time. It wasn’t until a month ago that the bakery that I like to go to actually had them in stock. They were made fresh, but they’d fly off the shelves before I would even show up. Once I had one, I fell in love. I haven’t had one since, and that’s a shame. So, now I want one. Also, this book made me want to go to Paris. I wanted to go to Paris and have a macaroon, just like Allyson. I’ve been to London, and its amazing. I should have taken the two hour trek to Paris, but it just never happened. After reading this book, I made the promise to myself to go do all those things.
So, with that being said, I love when a book makes me want to do things like that. I am a traveler at heart, and the book made me realize how much more of the world I want to see. When you can connect to a book like that, you know you’ve found a good one. I recommend this book to almost anyone. If you’re looking for a good romantic read, a book to help you find yourself, or just a good read, this one can relate to to so many aspects of a person’s life.
It may be a story you've heard before: Girl meets boy, instant and intense connection, one memorable and romantic adventure that ends far too quickly and messily. But, Forman knows her characters intricately, and it shows because the characters - with their quirky and endearing qualities - are the ones who lift the story up and make it fly. JUST ONE DAY is the most perfectly imperfect story of love, loss, friendship, chance, change, random acts of kindness*, independence, misunderstandings, and bravery. I wish I could do this novel some justice by giving it a remarkable review that inspires someone to pick this book up, but I guess I'll have to settle for simply saying this: do not let this story pass you by.
HIGHLIGHTS: Forman features imperfect characters and situations. Allyson isn't perfect or a cookie-cutter heroine, but flawed and evolving. Forman expertly writes emotion, making you grin at the flirty banter, blush at the more romantic moments, and even stirs sympathy deep within your core as Allyson finds herself in her lowest moment. The characters** and locations*** are wonderfully written. I especially love the helpfulness and kindness of the some of the side characters. Life and friendships are not easy and don't always work out as you reach adulthood, so I appreciate Forman for portraying Allyson's life (every up and down) as realistically as possible.
LOWLIGHTS: Waiting for the sequel? Yes, that's a definite lowlight. I need JUST ONE YEAR and I need it now. *glares at calendar*
* Seriously, there were some moments where I felt all warm and fuzzy inside, just because of the kindness random characters showed to Allyson and other characters. I like to hope that there are plenty of people like that in the world.
** Dee! I adore Dee. And Willem, too.
*** Paris! I want to go there so badly. It sounds lovely.
**** Received an unsolicited ARC of the novel from publisher, and purchased a paperback copy at a later date.
I have to admit that as the book went on the plot was different than what I had expected, but I thought it worked very well. For me the story was truly about Allyson's personal journey and growth. I also liked how the book touched on friendships and how they can change as time passes. There were definitely parts of Allyson's journey that broke my heart. After her time with Willem she was so lost and had some very important decisions to make about her future. This book was so full of ups and downs, and I really enjoyed watching Allyson's transformation. I am looking forward to getting my hands on the next book and reading the continuation of Allyson and Willem's story.