Happy Valentine’s Day!

In honor of the most romantic day of the year, I have a new favorite novel to share with you: Gayle Forman‘s latest,  Just One Day


From GoodreadsWhen 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 (October, 2013)!

For me, Gayle Forman is one of those authors, someone who is just so awesome she’s taken on a bit of a celebrity status in my head. She’s smart and generous in sharing her wisdom (as evident in blog posts like this one), and she’s thoughtful and classy (even when she’s calling people out for being assholes, like in this post). I was lucky enough to hear her speak at an event last year, and I was blown away by how funny and bright and authentic she was. I’ve come to look up to her both as a writer and a person, and If I Stay and Where She Went are two of my very favorite contemporaries. So, of course I terrified to read her latest release. I mean… What if I was a disappointed?

Thankfully, I definitely was not.

If I had to describe Just One Day in just one word, that word would be RICH. It is a story that is rich in far-reaching themes (finding your identity, lost love, coming of age, making a mark; there are mentions of Shakespeare throughout the novel). It is a story that is rich in lusciously-described settings (Paris, Mexico, Amsterdam, London, among others). And it is a story that is rich in colorful, dynamic characters (I adored Dee most). Every sentence, every page, every chapter of Just One Day made me think and wonder and imagine and  feel, which is the very best kind of reading experience.

I absolutely loved this book.

I think that’s mostly because I got the main character, Allyson. I understood her need to please, empathized with her initial absence of identity, felt the gaping hole she suffered when things with Willem went to hell. When I was eighteen, I was a lot like Allyson — that perfection-seeking girl with a lack of confidence and very little autonomy. That’s why it was so compelling to watch Allyson grow into her personality and become self-reliant, a full, well-rounded person. That’s why I was rooting for her even when she was at her lowest and, frankly, sort of hard to like. By the time I reached the final page of her story, I wanted to be Allyson’s friend. I wanted to travel Europe with her!

Now. Let’s talk about Willem. I want to read his story, Just One Year, like, RIGHT NOW. Just One Day ends in a pretty staggering cliffhanger. It will presumably continue on in Willem’s narration coming this October (*sigh*), and I cannot wait to hear his side of the story. As of now, I know him only through Allyson’s romanced eyes. In Paris, he is charming and fun and sexy and impulsive, but I get the overwhelming sense that there is much more to Willem than the persona he presented to Allyson. I am so looking forward to learning more about him, his apparently complicated past, his feelings concerning LuLu, and what exactly happened on that fateful morning in Paris.

Fans of contemporary YA, fans of romance, fans of beautiful writing, fans of books: please, pLeAsE, PLEASE go buy Just One Day. It is a gorgeous, emotional, whirlwind of a read, and you will love every minute of it.

Check out what some other Bookanistas are recommending:

Jessica Love raves about THE REECE MALCOM LIST

Nikki Katz swoons over SCARLET

Stasia Ward Kehoe is ga-ga for GOING VINTAGE

♥ Now… Go enjoy Valentine’s Day with someone you love! ♥


29 thoughts on “Book Rec: JUST ONE DAY

  1. Rachel says:

    I luuurved this book too, even if Allyson did a little too much moping her first semester for my liking. As a huge traveller, I get it but I also know that it could’ve been a little less than it was 😉 but that’s me being picky. I’m pumped for book2!

  2. Jaime Morrow says:

    I am right smack dab in the middle of this book as I’m reading this post. It felt like SO much had already happened in the book and then I realized that I was only about 30% through it (I’m reading it on my Kindle). I’m really curious/excited to see where it goes next. Thanks for the great (and spoiler-free!) review, Katy. And the recommendation the other day. 🙂

  3. zanne says:

    I loved this book too! I’m still thinking about it. I might have to write up my own blog post about this book. I had a bit of a “Just One Day” experience in Europe when I was in college and this book kind of reminded me of it. I will say–at first I kept thinking about the movie “Taken” (I had recently rewatched it) but once I got past that, I really enjoyed the book. I LOVE Paris, and like you said–the setting was so rich. I didn’t really find their day in Paris all that enjoyable, though. I can’t wait to read the sequel. I got Just One Day from the library, and I really wish I had bought it instead, because I want to reread it already!

    • katyupperman says:

      I’m still thinking about it too, Zanne. I’m really glad I bought it because it might just end up being one of those rare books I reread. I just adored it! (And hello… I’m a little bit envious of your European Just One Day experience!)

  4. Elodie says:

    I NEED to read this book!!!! I´m doing quite a lot of beta-ing these days but as soon as I´m done, I´m adding it to the top of my TBR 😀

  5. Krispy says:

    Ah, I am reading this RIGHT NOW, and I already get some of what you’re saying. ESPECIALLY about Allyson. I see so much of myself in her, it’s kind of scary-amazing.

  6. Stasia says:

    I loved IF I STAY and WHERE SHE WENT, too, and have been a bit nervous about picking this one up. You’ve erased my fears! Thanks for the great review!

    • katyupperman says:

      I thought the same thing, Rebecca. It’s a good thing, too, because the end of JUST ONE DAY made me immediately want Willem’s side of the story. I bet you’ll love this one!

  7. Molli says:

    You really sold me on this book, Katy! The way you talked about how you could identify with Allyson…I think I will, too. I’ve changed a LOT since I was her age – hard to believe it’s been nine years already since I was 18! So I think it will be a neat way of exploring where I am, and have been, watching her grow. Plus I REALLY want to meet this Willem dude!

    Awesome review!

    • katyupperman says:

      Oh, good, Molli! I hope the book lives up to my rave reviews. I bet you’ll really enjoy Allyson’s story, and I KNOW you’ll be intrigued by Willem! You’ll have to let me know what you think after you’ve finished reading. 🙂

  8. Katharine Owens says:

    oooh, great rec. I’m trying to read down the stacks on my shelves a little before buying other books. Not sure how long I can hold up. :0) But the Dutch themes have me especially intrigued. I’m always curious how people will depict my adopted country and its people. I will check it out. It may just take a while. 🙂

    • katyupperman says:

      You’ll have to let me know what you think, Kat. I thought Amsterdam and its people were portrayed in such a lovely light. In fact, this book really made me want to travel to the Netherlands… Actually, it made me want to travel though ALL of Europe!

  9. Tracey Neithercott (@T_Neithercott) says:

    I’m pretty sure this will be one I love and that I’ll identify with Allyson for the same reasons as you did. I’d have snapped it up already but I heard about the cliffhanger and October is so far away. I need a time machine. Anyhow, great review, as always. 🙂

    • katyupperman says:

      Thanks, Tracey! I’m so thankful that October isn’t TOO far away because yeah… definite cliffhanger ending! I bet you’ll love this one… You’ll have to let me know what you think after you finally get to reading it. 🙂

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