Friday, January 18, 2013
Book Review - Just One Day by Gayle Forman
Publisher: Penguin Young Readers Group
Release Date: 1/8/2013
Source: ARC provided by publisher for review
Purchase: Barnes and Noble | IndieBound | amazon |
Rating: 5 out of 5 macarons, I mean stars - simply brilliant.
Synopsis: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!
There are reviews that are impossible to write because you love a story so much that you just don't know where to start. So I'll dub this the All Over the Place review. I hope you read on.
As I read her story, I related so much with Allyson (we won't even begin to discuss that we shared failed pre-med freshman semesters). She is a classic pleaser, over-achiever and all around good girl always doing what is safe. But what happens when she takes that European tour with her best friend and meets a boy? A boy who promises to show her Paris in a day. Oh, Willem. Oh, the trouble you caused. And oh Gayle. Oh, the trouble you caused. Yes, Gayle, the author. She caused all this lovely, conflicted trouble in my mama heart and I thank her for every, single word.
I'll confess that I haven't read Gayle's If I Stay series, so being introduced to her writing through Just One Day has been one of this year's pleasant surprises. Her characters are so layered that just when you think you have them pegged, they'll become different -- more mature, sadder, riskier and just the kind of people you want in your own life. Again, I can't begin to describe how hard I fell for Allyson's story. The moments of happiness and discovery were beautiful. The moments of depression and self-questioning made me crave macarons (more on that later). Another huge thank you to Gayle for writing Dee. He's just the kind of guy Allyson needed at that very moment, and in reading their chapters, I remembered how friends have entered my life just when I needed them the most. Of all the things that rang true in this story, their friendship touched me the most.
Macarons, you say. See that picture of the recipe book I had to buy when I spied it at Barnes and Noble? I am going to try making them. Wish me luck. They'll probably turn into lovely looking, inedible hockey pucks, but I needed to have one after reading about Allyson's experience with these melt-in-your-mouth morsels.
And now that I'm dreaming about macarons, I'm thinking about characters like Celine (hello, French mean girl). She wasn't supposed to be someone I'd understand, but by the end of the book, I did.
I'm avoiding the mention of Willem, aren't I? The swoony, Shakespearean actor and serial heart-breaker. Here's why. That last chapter simply melted my heart. And to say that I need his version of the story, Just One Year, like NOW is to underestimate my love for French pastries, cafe au laits and small art galleries in Paris.
If you enjoy a story about a character who evolves and discovers the person she wants to be -- pick up Just One Day. But a warning from me: this book will linger with you and you'll flip back to re-read about tulip greenhouses, cobblestone streets and kindness in the most unexpected of people. And Willem. You'll want your passport stamped with Paris, if only to spend those 24-hours with him.