Release Date: Jan. 8, 2013
Publisher: Dutton Juvenile
Age Group: Young Adult
Series: Just One Day #1
Buy: Amazon / Barnes & Noble / IndieBound
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!
I’ve ingested so many All-In-One-Day books and movies and episodes of TV before, and yet I never seem to tire of them. In fact, it’s one of my favorite tropes. However, what happens if that magical one day… doesn’t stick? What if the haze of bliss erupts in an instant to show that you’re not changed, you’re not brand new? You’re still enveloped in all of the things that you don’t like about yourself times about seventy kabillion, and now you’re even more aware of it than you were before. This is Just One Day. This is what Allyson Healey has to face once she awakens alone in Paris after a day unlike any other. After an experience like that, where does she go, not only immediately, but existentially too? How will Allyson find herself again when she wanted to lose herself in the first place? More importantly, how can I find out what happens in Just One Year before next fall?
Just One Day raises so many questions.
I’ve been trying to figure out the best way to say this, so here goes: Allyson makes a ton of decisions that make me crazy and with which I do not agree. However, she is also compelling as hell. These two aspects don’t always mesh, at least in my mind, but in this case, they do in the easiest way. There were times when I may have wanted to grab Allyson by the shoulders and bodily shake her (I know it’s a romantic notion, but DO NOT wander off with a complete stranger to a whole ‘nother country!!), but I also desperately wanted to travel along on her journey. Plus, it’s so easy to slog through the tough parts with Gayle Forman behind the wheel. She writes these densely provocative and beautiful passages that pull you in, yet they are entirely readable and accessible. She makes you feel smarter while she’s also teaching you something new. It’s brilliant.
More than anything, I can’t stop thinking about how the story goes past the one perfect day into the starkness of reality. Everything doesn’t become hunky-dory once you step outside the box, and Allyson finds this out in a pretty harsh way. This is about walking that razor thin line between the straight-laced, non-wave-making Allyson with the throw-a-book-at-a-jackhole-and-run-for-your-life Lulu. When she falls too much into one “character” or the other, she falls and she falls hard. It’s only when she finds her balance that she becomes even more compelling.
While I blew through this book in a matter of days and absolutely enjoyed it, I know I will love it even more once its companion comes along. Just One Day deftly weaves us through Allyson’s side of things, but it raises so many unbelievably I-need-to-know-right-this-very-instant questions, the most burning of which is Dude, Where’s my Dutchman? Like, honestly. What? Where? How? AND WHY? Willem, I have questions. You have answers. Let’s discuss.