Monday, August 5, 2013

Review: Just One Day by Gayle Forman

Let's just say that I can't believe I let a day sit between me and writing a review of this great read.  I actually tore through this one back during the school year, but my lapse in review writing made me forget to stop back in to write about it.  Since the next book is about to come out, I wanted to hurry and get a review written so I could then share this one!

Synopsis:  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."

Review:  Just One Day is one of those reads that you think you know what is going to happen, and then you feel a total bait and switch coming, and then you go, "Oh shoot, what in the heck just happened and when is that other book coming out?!?"  

Allyson is that American high school tourist who has had a great trip, but wants to make a real memory.  What does she do?  She sneaks off with this cute Dutch actor to Paris.  

WAIT.  The high school teacher in me literally started screaming, "What in the world are you thinking?!?" I started panicking right away and couldn't relax.  Literally.  Is this Willem some creeper who is going to steal her money and run off, leaving her in Paris to "learn how cool and independent she is there in Paris?  Is Willem going to be kind and take her around Paris to show her a nice time and deliver her safely back to London?  What was going to happen?!?  I panicked!  That, on it's own, kept me on my toes.

Listen.  It's London.  It's Paris.  How wrong can you really go with those locations?  Once you relax (or I relaxed into the story), I thought it was an amazing tale, but things go in a remarkably different direction than you initially imagine.  The story is surprising, and shocking, and stunning all at the same time.  I think that I read the last 3/4 of the book in one sitting and even choked a little tear near the end.  The trip to Europe actually only takes up the first 1/3 of the book, and then the last portion is dealing with what happens.  

For anyone that has reviewed this book, there is a huge reveal in the book that is spoiled if you say too much.  Needless to say, Allyson and Willem do part ways after Paris and you want to know what happens.  That is the crux of this book, and that is what propels the next book coming up.  There is a lot more to the story, but it is such an emotional read that you are stunned by the range that it reaches.  All I can say is GO read it.  This has been one of my favorite reads thus far this year.  I like to be surprised in good ways, and this one kept me on my toes.

Disclaimer:  There is one adult scene in Paris that some teens might be sensitive to.  I do think that the rest of the book handles it in a very adult way and does not brush it under the table.  I wanted to FYI it though for sensitive readers.

*FTC Disclosure:  This review was based on a library copy of the novel.

The next book, Just One Year, which will be Willem's story, comes out October 15th.  Let's just say that I can hardly wait!

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