Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Just One Day

From Goodreads:
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!

My Rating: ****

Contemporary YA is not my go-to genre, but reviews here and there have led me to pick one up now and again - leading me to discover that I trust two authors of contemporary YA to always deliver a gorgeously written story with real heart: Stephanie Perkins and Gayle Forman. Gayle Forman's If I Stay and Where She Went were so beautiful and heartbreaking, so I was kind of excited to try out Just One Day. Once again, she's given readers a very real, very entertaining, and very moving story.

Okay, but first I have to say straight up that it was hard for me to get past my "Oh my gosh I hope my daughter never ever ever makes the decision Allyson just did!!!!!" constant reaction to almost everything Allyson does from the moment she meets Willem until they part. This book could definitely serve as a "How NOT to Travel Safely in Europe" guide. I'm still shaking my head. What was she thinking????

But the point is that she has never allowed herself to be herself, to be spontaneous, to follow her dreams - and she does. And the chemistry between her and Willem is great and their adventure amazing. Oh so wishing I could go to Paris right now. Craving chocolate and bread and crepes and seriously I've got to stop thinking about it so let's change the subject.

I loved that certain things tied the book together - Shakespeare is a recurring theme, disguises and nobody being who you expect them to be. There's definitely a lot of mystery surrounding Willem and even though I can't say I loved this character, I know Gayle Forman's holding out on me and I can't wait to read Just One Year so I can't find out what's really going on in his head.

This story succeeds because it's much more than some whirlwind day in Paris, lovely though it may have been. Allyson has to return home and adjust to college and face up to her very demanding parents and her struggling best friend and realize that nothing about her life is going the direction she wishes it were. She makes new friends and stands up for her real interests and then, only then, does she finally return to Europe and I will say no more. :D

Recommended for: fans of sweet contemporary YA with real character growth. Also for fans of travel, Europe, and especially Paris.

Content: A pinch of sexual content, not graphic. Some innuendo and swearing scattered throughout. Allyson is not a drinker or a party-er, so there are no crazy college frat scenes.

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