Author: Gayle Forman
Goodreads Rating: 4.28
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!
Everyone that I know that read this book absolutely raved about it. They loved how cute and sweet it was and the relationship between Willem and Allyson and how great they were together. I will admit that I thought this book was super cute as well and that it was a great story, but I just don’t think that I was as taken with it as everyone else seemed to be. When this story was told so fluidly, I just don’t know that I connected as well to Allyson during the book.
At first, I felt a real kinship with Allyson, she was a character that I could relate to. I didn’t like to take risks and I liked to do what was expected of me, so when she broke away from her tour group to go see a different Shakespeare performance, I was really happy for her for doing something out of character. When she was in London and made her decision to go to Paris I was rooting for her to do something so daring, something I only wish I had the balls to do. Allyson was finding herself without needing her friend Mel or Melanie or Laine or whatever her name was to push her into being someone that she wasn’t.
The people in Allyson’s life all seemed to be people that had little interest in who Allyson was and more interest in who they wanted her to be. I don’t think that these people didn’t love her, but I feel like Melanie’s attempts to bring Allyson out of her shell and out to parties and whatnot seemed to be more about what Melanie wanted and who Melanie wanted her to be instead of who Allyson was. The same thing goes for her mother who tried to get her to do everything that she herself wanted like to be a doctor and to see the world and to do all these other things that her mother didn’t get the chance to do. Allyson herself if partially to blame because rather than say she wanted to do something else she just held on to who everyone wanted her to be.
I really loved that she took a chance and went out with Willem to see Paris when she would have otherwise never seen the city. For that one day, being Lulu really helped Allyson find out who she really was and who she wanted to be instead of who everyone else wanted her to be and do. They were sweet and cute to each other they way that they each intervened in each other’s lives and changed the way Allyson saw the world. Even though she didn’t get to see all the sights of Paris, she still had this amazing experience, that had it ended better, I feel as though maybe we would have had more of a Lulu than an Allyson, she would have become who she really was.
This leads me to why I was not partial to the book. For months after Paris, she pines for this man who she believes left her and stole her watch, and I just felt that although they had this intense day together, spending months letting yourself slip and reject everyone else in your life was pure silliness. Rather than trying to get to know her new roommates or trying to get into what she was doing, she sat back and let life pass her by and her friendship with Mel slip away. I myself have pined for a guy, but not one that I had known for a day even if we spent the whole day together. I was glad when during her second semester, she had found this way back to life with Dee and her roommates even if it did come to be because of Willem.
I was really glad that she even started to make friends even if she didn’t realize it. This supporting cast of characters seemed to do more for her than Melanie ever did in the book. Dee had to be my favorite one, because he was so different from everyone else, I loved how he covered Allyson’s ass with her parents and he was this great friend to her even if she was all over the place.
I admired her dedication to finding him once she resolved to do so even getting a job as a dishwasher in a restaurant which was lower than her pedigree. Even though she had to work herself to the bone and spend every dime to find Willem, she did it including learning French. (which I will admit is something that I’ve always wanted to do and have considered taking community college classes to learn. I am really anxious to read Willem’s side of the story because there is so much unknown about what happened in that one day.
The Courts Decision: