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Showing 1-10 of 227 reviews(Verified Purchases). See all 410 reviews
on February 23, 2016
I absolutely adored Just One Day. I had been reading fantasy/dystopian books nonstop lately, and it was kind of nice to read a book that could bring me back to reality a little bit. But I didn’t just love the book because it was a nice change from the usual. There was so much that I loved about the book as a standalone.

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.
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VINE VOICEon January 8, 2013
As much as I enjoyed Forman's IF I STAY and WHERE SHE WENT, both were only 4-star stories for me. They were enjoyable, emotional, and extremely intense - but something kept me from loving them. Whatever I was missing from those two novels, JUST ONE DAY has it. Allyson Healey's journey begins after a chance encounter with Willem, who offers to take her Paris for an incredible, chaotic day of adventure. But the next day, he's gone, she's alone, and so begins the next adventure as Allyson attends college, takes a Shakespeare class, figures out who she is and where she's going next in this bittersweet coming of age story.

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.
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on September 24, 2014
I was immediately intrigued when I read the synopsis of Just One Day and eagerly dived into the story. Allyson reminded me of myself, which is probably why I liked her so much. Here was a girl who played it safe, never taking risks and living her life by the book. Then she met Willem, a traveling actor who changed her entire outlook on life. She only spent one day with him, yet in that one day he turned her world upside down. I loved seeing Allyson step out of her comfort zone and do something unexpected and impetuous. It was easy to understand why she was drawn to Willem, as I myself found him very intriguing.

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.
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on January 28, 2013
I'll just preface this by saying my review won't help you to decide if you want this book or not. It spoke to me on a very profound level and I write very personal reviews. I'm at a crossroads in my life and this book....it came into my hands at the very best time. I hope it hits you at the right time, too.

Okay this will be short because much like If I Stay and Where She Went, I have no idea how to review this novel. It was just so, so much. It was everything. And everyone should read it. I know, I know. I'm not giving you much to go on. But it was so BIG and so intimate and everything else in between. It was everything I've ever wanted to do and didn't and did and what happens and doesn't. And full of what if's and doubts and chasing dreams. And I think about life and I think maybe that's what it is, just one chase after another trying to catch our dreams. I mean this book, it makes you think about everything big and small. It O-P-E-N-S your mind. Not to anything in particular, but it makes you wonder. This book was like magic to me. I don't want to tell you anymore about it. It was special to me but it will be something different to you. Still special, but you'll experience it in a different way. So read it and share what you want. And wait with baited breath for Just One Year.
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on April 12, 2017
Allyson is a good girl. She works hard in school doesn't party and does everything to please her parents. Until the day when she meets Willem and realizes that maybe she wants something other than what her parents want for her. This is a sweet story that makes you think about taking chances, seems the world, and living life one day at a time.
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on March 26, 2015
I've honestly been staring at this screen for a long time, wondering what more I can say or write about Just One Day that has not already been said (and beautifully) by someone else. It's one of the few books that I picked up on release day and read during its release week, so that obviously says a lot about its appeal. And it tells a story that it appears most of us can relate to, based on the reactions from most of the book bloggers I know. This book has wormed its way into my heart, leaving a lasting impression - and I know that it's going to be a book that I revisit and savor time and time again.

The reason that this story resonated with me so much comes simply in the form of its main character - Allyson. It's not a secret that I often identify with characters in the books I read, but Allyson definitely takes the cake! Allyson is definitely me. It's almost as if Gayle Forman decided to ride along in my thoughts and write down whatever she experienced.

The different facets of who Allyson was and who she became - I could definitely see myself reflected in them. I shared the same rigid, controlled, careful nature when I was younger, trying to do what was right and what was expected of me. And, like Allyson, there was this one moment in my life - moving to the US in 2010 (which, like Allyson's Europe trip, was my parents' idea) - that opened me up to a whole new set of experiences. These experiences, in turn, led to a spark that inspired a transformation in who I was.

It took some time for me to readjust my perception of who I was and what I wanted to do, but it eventually got a point where I settled comfortably into the me I am right now. Watching Allyson go through the same journey in this book was a comfort, a treat and a total out-of-body experience since half the time I felt like going, "I've been there. I've felt that way. I know how that goes."

Other great things about the book?

Well, the setting is definitely one of them. Paris has been calling to me to come and visit for quite some time now, and I really, really hope I get to do it sometime soon. The way Paris is brought to life in this book is beautiful. There's not a big focus on the touristy Paris, but rather on Paris as it actually is in day-to-day life. Considering the limited time frame that this setting is given in the book, I commend the author for doing an impeccable job in making me feel like I was immersed in the busy streets and little side paths right along with Allyson and Willem.

I also loved that the author set part of the book during Allyson's first year of college. There's certainly a lack of books (at least in my reading pile!) that feature college, and I loved that this one did. It brought me right back to my first year in college - the new friendships, adjusting to living away from home, learning what classes would suit me and what wouldn't. The authenticity just made me the slightest bit nostalgic for my college days (though I definitely do not miss the studying!).

Allyson's friends, both old and new, were also essential people in the journey she takes. From the best friend that she has to learn to grow with (especially when they go to separate schools) to the new friends she gains along the way, each and every single one plays a part. My particular favorite is Dee, mostly because he's a very unique character, provides a quirkiness and humor to certain situations and because he proves himself to be a true friend to Allyson throughout it all.

I suppose Willem is a very important part of this book, as it is her encounter with him that changes everything for Allyson. However, and this is not necessarily a bad thing, I honestly do not know how I feel about him. This is mostly because I don't know his side of the story. He seemed enchanting and charming and lively and adventurous to me when he first appears, but little by little, the facts that creep in started adding to my suspicions and doubts about who he is and what he's like. Even though we learn a few surprising things about him towards the latter part of the book, I find that I'm still conflicted about how to feel about him. Hopefully, of course, that changes when we read about what happened to him in the next novel!

I have come to two very important conclusions after reading this book:

(1) Everyone (and I mean just about everyone) has an experience that changes them for the rest of their lives.
(2) Gayle Forman is a brilliant writer, and I'm an idiot for not having read anything by her before.

Just One Day is a book with words that went straight from the pages and into my heart. The journey that Allyson goes through, the beautifully written settings, the wonderful and quirky characters and even the presence of a handsome European boy all combine together to form a wonderful, beautiful, incredibly moving tale. Without a doubt, this is going to be one of my favorite reads of this year - and one that I highly recommend to every reader.
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on March 18, 2015
Original Read - December 2012: Given that it's Gayle Forman, I don't think it would have been possible for me to give it any less than five stars regardless. But Just One Day truly deserves it and earned a special place in my heart, as all Gayle's books do. It was definitely an emotional roller coaster and even though nothing close to the events that play out in the book have happened to me, then sentiment is just the same: falling in love, doubting how fast those feelings come on, fear of rejection, being rejected, and the quest to find the answers WHY. I can honestly say I've been through those exact situations and felt those feelings far too many times in my own teen/college years and I was right there with Allyson as she fell in love and then felt her heart break over and over again.
I don't know what more to say about the book except that I hope whoever reads this feels the same way I did - Totally invested, totally connected with the characters. I think if you've ever felt that way in a relationship (or non-relationship in some cases) that I think you'll easily fall right into step with the characters that Gayle Forman creates.
It's also further proof that I can actually read books set in foreign countries. Clearly before the select contemporary romances that I had read this year, I was not reading the right books. I've never been to Europe, but through the beautiful writing of Gayle Forman and several other contemporary writers, I've never felt more at home in Paris, London, Amsterdam, and various other sections of Europe. To me, that really says a lot, and I think the reason why is that I wasn't just getting descriptions of events that happened here and there - It was an emotional connection to that canal, that house, that park that made it feel like a place I could see myself. I have a tendency to tie places back to feelings and that was something that was expertly written in Just One Day.
Of course I recommend it to anyone and everyone. I'll recommend Gayle's books to people until the end of time and there's something so timeless about not only her writing but the way she writes her characters. I feel like even in 10 years when new generations pick up her books, they won't feel dated. I'm sure some minute details like the technology of whatever cell phones turn into in 10 years may be outdated, but only slightly so because the focus is almost entirely on the feelings that Allyson experiences and the universal message that she not only learns for herself, but that the readers can pick up about their own lives as well.
And the end - AH! I feel like I'll definitely read this book a few times before I can get my hands on Willem's side of the story. I know it may feel like a long way from now, but maybe like the characters, I can wait Just One Year.

Re-read completed 10/2/13, review posted 10/14/13: Pretty much ever since I finished JUST ONE DAY, I had been dying for a re-read. Between this book and IF I STAY/WHERE SHE WENT, it was really the reason I started the Gayle Forman Read Along -- I needed a good, solid reason to re-read when I was drowning in books I still haven't read. Ever since I first finished JUST ONE DAY back in December of last year, I felt like I NEEDED to read it again. I had connected with it so much the first time around but I needed to reach out and make that connection again. I needed to fall in love and get heartbroken all over again. I needed to remember what was so special about this book for me.

I think one of the most interesting things about re-reading this book was that it was RIGHT after I had met Gayle Forman. (I died. I was SO nervous.) I was actually a bit thrown off by her speech at the Anderson's YA Lit conference because she talked about JUST ONE DAY and JUST ONE YEAR more as Allyson and Willem's journeys of finding and discovering themselves more than any part of this romance and I was like, "WHAT!? Gayle, you're crazy! These are hands down love stories." (Okay, I didn't actually say that.) Obviously they're still love stories and hi, I swoon. I melt. But hearing that from Gayle and then re-reading JUST ONE DAY (which I had actually just started before that conference) had totally changed how I viewed this book -- in a good way.

I'm just going to come out and say it: I'm a review buffer. I knew I loved Gayle Forman and I knew I did love reading JUST ONE DAY... But... I don't think I knew exactly WHY I was giving it five stars my first read around except for the fact that I wanted to. I knew I felt a connection, but I didn't exactly know specifically why other than the fact that I knew I was going to love it. The magic of re-reading JUST ONE DAY opened my eyes to everything that I wasn't sure of the first time around. I knew that JOD was not only about Allyson & Willem but also about Allyson's self-discovery and that was just SO much more apparent to me this time around. Allyson didn't just fall into a depression after her Europe trip because of Willem -- she missed that part of herself that was free and independent and fulfilling. I think I passed up a lot of those moments when I first read this book because I was looking for a heart-breaking romance and I missed one of the main points of the book.

I also really got to appreciate all of the Shakespeare references and allusions so much more. Not like I've brushed up on my Shakespeare since my last read, but I think that re-reading, I was less anxious to get to the end and see what happens (since I already knew), so I got to really take my time and drink up every single word on the page. I read into the Shakespeare ties and saw exactly how much these plays paralleled what was going on in Allyson's life as well. There were so many underlying themes that I appreciated so much more the second time around and I was kind of fascinated how closely the book followed these themes in the selected Shakespeare plays!

JUST ONE DAY was exactly what I needed before I started the much-anticipated JUST ONE YEAR. It also rekindled my thirst to write for which I cannot thank Gayle enough. Her writing is truly an inspiration to me and on a personal note, it's made my WIP feel like a real book for the first time when before it was just random paragraphs that had little cohesiveness. It was such a pleasure to read this book again and create an even deeper connection than I had before!
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on February 9, 2015
You guys, I crack myself up. No matter how hard I try to avoid finding out too much information out about a book before reading it in order to avoid expectations and therefore being disappointed by those expectations, I still find myself frequently saying in various reviews that whatever book wasn’t what I expected. It’s really quite humorous when I think about it. But that’s kind of where I am with Just One Day. I’ve read and loved If I Stay and Where She Went by Gayle Forman. Reading those was enough to tell me that I wanted to read more of her books. And then the reception that Just One Day received when it first released had me saying “yep, that’s one I’ll have to check out.” Well of course when it went on sale, I had to scoop it up for my kindle. And I’m glad I did, but somehow along the way I developed those pesky expectations that I was trying to avoid. Or maybe I didn’t. It’s weird. It’s not like I had some elaborate story already built up in my head that I expected Just One Day to be—as a matter of fact, I honestly don’t remember reading the description for this book at all—but at the same time after reading Just One Day I can completely say that it was nothing like I was expecting. How does that even happen?

I can really relate to Allyson in a lot of ways. She’s pretty predictable and “safe.” She doesn’t do spontaneous. She doesn’t do wild. She doesn’t go out drinking with the other kids on the tour she’s on—not even with her best friend Melanie. She doesn’t understand why this guy she’s just met—Willem—could possibly be interested in her. But she doesn’t want to be that way anymore. She wants to live life to the fullest and experience new things. She just doesn’t really know that yet.

Willem…well…I’m a little torn on him. I love the idea of him being a leaf in the wind—going wherever the wind takes him. But yet, I find myself being just as guarded and assuming the same things that Allyson does. There are red flags with him. Yes, it’s possible that they could be explained away, but they’re not comforting at the same time. I didn’t know this before reading Just One Day, but apparently Just One Year is not specifically a retelling, but backtracks a bit. It tells a period of events when Allyson and Willem aren’t together from his POV. I’m not exactly clear on where Just One Year ends in their story, but I’m afraid I’m not going to be excited about that. Anyway, I said all of that to say that I think what the reader is supposed to get from Just One Day about Willem’s character will probably be quite different from what Willem’s story actually is in Just One Year.

As for the story itself, there were lots of moments that I felt were unrealistic (I mean I don’t care how sappy your story, but *highlight for spoiler* a hospital is NOT going to give you information about another patient, especially not their address). Yet, Just One Day had a fun and exciting feel to it (for the first 45%). The next 45% was what I wasn’t expecting, and I don’t want to go into too much detail about that part. And then we’ve got the last 10% which felt a bit unsatisfactory to me. I will say that the ending made me want to pick up Just One Year immediately, but not knowing the exact timeframe that Just One Year covers has me putting on the brakes and not rushing out to purchase it immediately.

I will say that I really enjoyed the highs and lows that Allyson’s relationship went with Melanie. Everything surrounding those two felt very realistic.

Favorite quotes:
-…being with Melanie makes me feel like I’m losing a race I didn’t even know I’d entered.

-“There’s a world of difference, Lulu, between falling in love and being in love.”…”You have to fall in love to be in love, but falling in love isn’t the same as being in love.”

-“I think the double happiness is the two halves finding each other.”

-We are born in one day. We die in one day. We can change in one day. And we can fall in love in one day.

-Stains are even worse when you’re the only one who can see them.

-“No one is who they pretend to be.”

-There is no opposite of stain

-Once accidents happen, there’s no backtracking.

This is probably going to seem really random to mention in this review, but for all the talk of duplicity, of people pretending to be someone else (or something else), etc, Just One Day had me thinking about Catfish. It’s not like this was a story about a catfish or someone being catfished, but it definitely made me think about it a little deeper. Just something funny I noted while reading.

Just One Day was extremely well-written. Gayle Forman had me devouring this book once I got started. The story wasn’t what I was expecting which was both a good thing and a bad thing. The characters we likeable, and I was rooting for a win the whole time. Parts of Just One Day felt spot on and realistic while others had me saying “that would never happen.” I couldn’t stop thinking about Just One Day for a couple of days after finishing it, but at the same time, I don’t feel the intense desire to rush out and get my hands on the sequel, Just One Year, even though I do hope to read it eventually. Just One Day gets 4 Stars from me. Have you read Just One Day? What did you think? Let me know!
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on March 11, 2015
Allyson is at the end of a European tour which was a graduating present from her parents. She's been a "good girl" all her life: followed the rules, good grades, friends with her parents, didn't stay out late drinking with other teenagers on the Teen Tours. But here in England she makes the unusual decision to break away from her tour, skip "Hamlet" at the Swan Theatre, and instead, goes to see "Twelfth Night" performed outdoors by a traveling group. At the end of the performance she is thrown a coin by the very cute guy who invited her to come. She does nothing about this, but by some accident, encounters Willem the next morning on the train to London. The attraction between Allyson and Willem is palpable. He persuades her to take the train to Paris that day, because her tour had not been able to go there earlier in their trip because of a strike. They can just be gone one day because she has to fly home the next. Their adventure, romance, and heartache change Allyson. The choices she makes that day begin her journey to grow up, to find herself, and to become who she was meant to be.
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on April 29, 2014
What can I say about "Just One Day"? It was a book with ups and downs, about family, about friendship, about finding yourself, about travel and living your life true to you. It was a beautiful written book, packed with great quotes, that I couldn't put down.

I loved Allyson's character. Yes, she was flawed and insecure, but it made me love reading about her more. She challenged herself and grew as a person throughout the book. She made mistakes, but also stood up for herself. As for the love interest (and other main character) in "Just One Day", Willem, I kind of liked him - but also kind of didn't. This book was written entirely from Allyson's point of view, so we don't really get to know Willem very well after that one day.

As for the other characters I did not like her mom for the most part of the book, her dad was okay, her grandma was really cool, her best friend was okay and probably has a whole line of her own problems, the friends she met while traveling was just the best! I'd love to read a whole book about Wren and her adventures.

One of the things I really, really, really loved about "Just One Day" was all the traveling. I love to travel and see new places, and reading this didn't really help this travel-bug. It made me want to visit Paris and discover "unknown" parts of the city, I want to go to Amsterdam during the Spring and see the fields of tulips and bike around the city...

Overall, I found "Just One Day" to be such an inspirational book. To go after what you want and live your life how you want to live it. I found the plot to be kind of unrealistic (though I'm sure it happens to someone!), I still couldn't not give it five stars. It was just amazing. Go read it (it's a really good summer read)!
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