Google+ YA Romantics: Just Finished Reading ... Just One Day by Gayle Forman

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Just Finished Reading ... Just One Day by Gayle Forman

Just One Day
by Gayle Forman
To be published by Dutton Books
on January 8, 2013

Source: ARC from Around the World Book Tours. I also got my own copy thanks to the fantastic Bookworm 1858, who did an ARC swap with me.




My summary: Allyson follows all the rules on her student trip to Europe. That's just the kind of girl she is: rule-follower, perfect only child, academic overachiever. Until she makes a rash, impulsive, completely un-Allyson-like decision. In London, she meets Willem, an actor who's part of a cast of a very unconventional Shakespeare play. She agrees to hop on a train to Paris with him. This one decision -- and the brief relationship with Willem that follows -- will have lasting repercussions, making Allyson question everything she thought she'd figured out about herself, her life and the world.

My take:  Just One Day is a book I wish I'd read at eighteen. Yeah, I relate a lot to Allyson. I'm of those rule-following, people-pleasing sort of girls. So I was literally biting my nails and dying with jealousy as I watched Allyson throw her carefully made plans out the window and hop on a train. If this book had just been about that rash decision, following Allyson and Willem around Paris and dissolving on a scene of them standing in front of a golden sunset of happliy-ever-after, I would have been satisfied.

But Just One Day was so much more than that. This is a story about identity and independence, about how difficult it can be (at any age! ) to figure out your place in the world. For those readers who have had it up to here with insta-love,  Just One Day takes a very different look at the whole "love at first sight" thing. You follow this romantic young couple around Paris and everything is all happy and hazy. Then, a few scenes later, the whole love affair blows up.  In the aftermath of her time with Willem, Allyson has to come to terms with the fact that he's someone she barely knows, someone whose actions she can't understand. Or is she the one who's in the wrong, who never gave him a chance?

I loved Allyson as a character and I loved the growth she shows through the course of the book. Because again, Just One Day is not just one of those simplistic "Good Girl Gone Wild" kind of books that's just for laughs. It's a thoughtful look at a girl who realizes that the goals she's been working toward may be the wrong ones, that the guy she's fallen for may be the wrong guy. For a while, she wallows. Then she picks herself up and sets out to try to figure things out. And it's hard. And she knows that unlike in a mushy romantic book, her whole plan might just end up a disaster. But Gayle Forman wouldn't do that to me.... would she?

Just One Day has a companion book/sequel called Just One Year that will be released later this year. I can't wait to hear more about Allyson, and I can't wait to hear Willem's side of the story, because let's just say he has some explaining to do!

But...



...if you've read Just One Day and loved it, you've got to watch these two Richard Linklater films: Before Sunrise (1995) and its sequel, Before Sunset (2004).

In Before Sunrise, American tourist Jesse meets a young French woman named Céline on a train. Jesse persuades Céline to get off the train with him in Vienna. Jesse has a flight back to the States the next morning and doesn't have money for a hotel, so they have a romantic night in Vienna together, roaming around the city until sunrise. Then they say goodbye, promising that they'll meet in six months. Will they? Your opinion might depend on whether you're a romantic or a cynic. And if you want to find out what really happened six months later, you can find out in Before Sunset. In that film, Jesse is now a successful writer who's just published a book about the beautiful young Parisian he met ten years before. He's doing a reading in a Paris bookstore and is stunned when Céline walks in.

Is Just One Day giving a wink and a nod to these films? I don't know, but both feature two young tourists meeting up, a train, a group of actors doing an impromptu play, the romantic night together, the abrupt separation. There's even a character named Céline in both.

So, if you've seen and loved these films, you've got to read Just One Day. And vice versa.


48 comments:

  1. I thought Allyson wallowed way too much-I got so tired of that girl especially since I didn't even like Willem so it was hard for me to feel sympathy. I do want to check out those films though-I've seen them around before.

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    1. It's so unusual for us to disagree!
      I didn't see it as wallowing -- I didn't think her depression had as much to do with the thing with Willem as with the fact that she realized that her life was like a train she didn't want to be on -- ooh, a thematic simile I hadn't even thought of until now.

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  2. I should't spend anymore money on books, but I can not pass this up!

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    1. I know the feeling. I will be giving it away in early February as part of the Romance Hop -- if you can wait that long!

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  3. I think I signed up for this tour, but I'm not sure- if not I'll be checking it out when it gets released! I'm fairly straight-laced, and I've always lived vicariously through books because if I met a handsome stranger in a foreign country I just know it'd turn out a lot more like Taken and less like Before Sunrise.

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    1. Ha ha ha ha ha ha.
      Well, Willem could be a dangerous serial killer. I won't know until I read the second book.

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  4. This book sounds great! I've never read anything from this author but I've always wanted to. The movies sound good as well. Great review :)
    World of Books

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    1. It's somewhat different from If I Stay, but I do see similarities between this and Where She Went.

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  5. Your review is so different to another that I read today! Really can't decide if this book is for me or not!

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    1. Yeah, Bookworm 1858 and I usually agree, so it's so funny when we don't!

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  6. I think I would feel a connection to the main character. I like how it is a different take on 'insta-love' so I am curious about that. I definitely plan to pick this one up, great review! :)

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    1. I loved how it was insta-attraction and then "oh, whoa, who IS this person?" Very realistic!

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  7. I relate with Allyson too! I can't wait to read this.
    Happy reading,
    Brandi from Blkosiner’s Book Blog

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  8. I loved Gayle Forman's If I Stay series and can't wait to read this one. The cover grabbed me when it was released and I know I won't be disappointed.

    Thanks for sharing, Jen! :)

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  9. This sounds awesome!! I am looking forward to this one and Allyson sounds like a great character to get to know.

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  10. I love this review, Jen:) You know how I feel about this book. Can't wait for the release so I can have a copy of my own to re-read whenever:)

    I TOTALLY got the Before Sunrise/ Sunset connection while I was reading too! I thought it was funny that there are films mentioned in Just One Day (Roman Holiday, The Unbearable Lightness of Being, etc.) but not THAT wonderful film that mirrors the book. I have to think it was probably in Forman's head but left out intentionally. Of course I could be dead wrong...

    I really do think this is the best book Forman has written and THANK GOD the second half of the duet releases later this year and not in 2014. I don't think I could wait that long:)

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    1. Whoops -- I think I said that the companion book comes out next year in the review. I need to fix that. I'm so used to the one year wait.

      I loved the Roman Holiday references. LOVE that movie too and it did have similarities to the book as well.

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  11. Ahh! Amazing review Jen! I love Gayle For man's concept on Just One Day and I still have If I Stay! *hides*

    Happy Reading Jen!

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  12. Oh, this sounds fantastic! I haven't read anything by Gayle Forman, but more and more I'm thinking I need to change that...starting with this book! :) I think I'll probably relate to Allyson a lot, too.

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    1. Try it -- now that you are getting into more contemporaries!

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  13. Just One Day sounds amazing. I'm so jealous of young readers these days, with their opportunity to read books like this. I know they were probably around when I was a teen, I was too busy reading tragic Gothic romance!
    And how insane is it that I grew up in the 90s and never watched Before Sunrise?!!

    Great review, Jen!

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    1. I agree -- when I was a teenager, I usually just read adult books because the choices were so much more limited. And I also read a LOT of Gothic romance!

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  14. I haven't seen those films, but I'm SO excited for this book! I love Gayle Forman's writing and the story sounds so cute. Great review! :)

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  15. When I first read the synopsis of this I thought of Before Sunrise! I'm really glad to hear this was so good. I really love Gayle Forman and knew it would be, but still. It's nice to have it confirmed :)

    Jesse @ Pretty In Fiction

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    1. Glad someone else made the connection -- you'll probably love this!

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  16. This book looks just like a book I like to read. With 18, I also had a trip with my friends to Paris, London and a few other places. I can't wait to get my hands on it and start reading, and I'll be sure to check out the movie too. Great Review!

    Anatea @ Anatea's Bookshelf

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    1. I also traveled a lot in college. It is a great way to discover things about the world and yourself!

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  17. I ordered this book! Can't wait to read it. Gayle Forman is just a great writer. (:

    Also, you know there is a movie called Before Midnight coming out this year sometime to hopefully finish up Celine and Jesse's story?

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    1. Yes, I read that. The story flashes forward again, right? I can't wait to see what happens.

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  18. I skimmed over your review. I'm so excited to read this book!

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  19. I liked your book review, thank you for featuring this book, I am a fan of the authors work. She is amazing and I cant wait to read this book this month!

    Thank you,
    Lasha

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  20. I don't like contemporary... but weirdly, I want to read this. It sound- well, beautiful, comes into my mind. I'm also one of those rule-following people- though I enjoy defying them sometimes- and the MC kinda reminds me of myself- except for the running away with a stranger. ;) And I'm not even 18 yet, so maybe I'll be thankful to have read this. So yeah, thanks to your review, I'm planning on reading this one. :)

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  21. I wasn't sure if I was going to read this one, but now I want to.

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  22. I feel like a horrible, low life, scummy blogger but I did not love this book. lol

    I'm sure I'll be the ONLY person who didn't. I loved If I Stay and Where She went though.

    I'm a bad blogger! BAD! hehe

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  23. Lately, I've been looking for reads that are a little more than just face value. I'll give this a shot. I had to laugh saying that after reading Karen's remark just before mine.

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  24. I loved IF I STAY, so I can image the author does the "day in the life" type of story well. I'm adding this to my list!

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  25. I adored her books If I Stay and Where She Went!!!!!! Before Sunrise and Before Sunset are my favorite films! I'm excited for Before Midnight to come out:) Thanks for the heads up! So excited to read this:)

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  26. I haven't read anything by her yet, but I'm dying to! The fact that you wish you read it when you were 18 really excites me since I am turning 18 in less than 2 months!

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  27. Willem really did have some explaining to do! Shame his explanations were so boring.

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