Monday, March 17, 2014

Series Review: Just One Day, Just One Year


Gayle Forman wrote an amazing book about a young woman finding herself during her first year of college and then followed it up with a good book about a young man dealing with young adulthood.  Who didn't daydream about the perfect soul mate you could meet while studying abroad when you were 18?  Well, I certainly did and the story in Just One Day could not have been much better until things fell apart and they lost one another.  Watching Allyson struggle with her first semester in college was heart breaking and I was so glad that Gayle Forman had her choose some unexpected classes in order to move on with life rather than having her try to fall in love with someone else.  I loved the new friends, especially Dee, and empathized with her and Melanie as their childhood friendship was put to the test.  I enjoyed Allyson's second trip to Europe almost as much as her first trip but for very different reasons obviously.  The first book ends in a cliffhanger where things between Allyson and Wilhelm could go either way moving forward. 

In Just One Year Gayle Forman picks up with Wilhem's story on the day he lost Allyson.  I just didn't connect with Wilhem's story at all.  This is probably because of his relationship phobia and the various references to former girlfriends he failed to commit to but I think it was also because I didn't particularly appreciate the story of his parents and his relationship with them which definitely takes up a good portion of this book.  The other serious limitation in this book is that Allyson doesn't show up until the last chapter!  I'm not kidding.  I expected the majority of the book to focus on Wilhem and his year but I really thought we would at least get a couple of chapters with Allyson and Wilhem together and I was so wrong. 

As much as I hate to say this, I would only recommend Just One Day and would recommend that you skip Just One Year UNLESS you really want to find out how Wilhem grows up away from Allyson.  I seriously hope that Gayle Forman considers a third book where Allyson and Wilhem travel the world studying and performing Shakespeare.  That is a book I would definitely read.

Just One Day
Author: Gayle Forman
Publisher: Dutton Juvenile
Publication Date: January 8, 2013

From Goodreads:
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 Year
Author: Gayle Forman
Publisher: Dutton Children's
Publication Date: October 10, 2013

From Goodreads:
When he opens his eyes, Willem doesn’t know where in the world he is—Prague or Dubrovnik or back in Amsterdam. All he knows is that he is once again alone, and that he needs to find a girl named Lulu. They shared one magical day in Paris, and something about that day—that girl—makes Willem wonder if they aren’t fated to be together. He travels all over the world, from Mexico to India, hoping to reconnect with her. But as months go by and Lulu remains elusive, Willem starts to question if the hand of fate is as strong as he’d thought. . . .

The romantic, emotional companion to Just One Day, this is a story of the choices we make and the accidents that happen—and the happiness we can find when the two intersect.

Posted By Sheri


  1. Great review! I have to admit to not really enjoying Just One Day all that much, I can't even remember the story looking back on it. I loved If I Stay and Where She Went though, so was really surprised when I didn't like Just One Day.

  2. I LOVED Just One Day, but agree that Just One Year was a bit of a letdown. I didn't mind the ending as much as everyone else did, but I didn't care much for Willem's story either. And I was impatient to get to the end to see what happened between the two of them.