Just One Day
by Gayle Forman
This book and I didn't get off to a good start. It wasn't bad in the beginning, far from it, it just underwhelmed me. I think I'm in the minority in not really enjoying those American-Goes-To-Europe type stories. Until I read Just One Day, there had only been one of those types of books that I've really loved (Anna and the French Kiss).Summary: 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.
In the beginning (the one day section), I thought this was just going to be another one of those hyped up books that just don't click with me. I wasn't fond of the main character, I wasn't interested in the touristy aspects, the romance didn't really work for me (or the love interest)...but then, somewhere along the way (once I got to the year section of the book), I got hooked and emotionally invested and by the end I was all, "OMG, I love this book!"
I really enjoyed the writing (there were many paper scraps littered through the book on pages with good quotes by the time I was done reading), the characters that I wasn't too fond of started to grow on me, new side characters won me over really quickly and I loved reading about them, and bits of the story that had initially seemed cliché and dull to me got interesting and complex and it impressed me how the author handled it.
I love how she showed the way friendships can change as your lives change, how people can be more than what you think, how there can be more to a story than there seems to be and just...I loved it all.
I loved how she handled the insta-love thing, too, because it was clear that it was more than just her being obsessed with a guy she just met. It was more about that one day making her realise that she wasn't being the person she wanted to be or living her life the way she wanted to live it - it was more that she loved who she got to be with him, than loving him and the book makes that distinction clear in a way that most insta-love books I read fail at.
When I finished reading, it was one of those, "WHAT?! It cannot end there! I demand a sequel!" kind of moments and I can't wait until the companion novel (or sequel? not sure which it is) comes out so I can see more of these characters and the story.
I still think that maybe the whole American-in-Europe plot isn't my kind of thing, because even though I love the book, that aspect doesn't make the list of things I love about it -- a book has to bring more to the table than just having the entire plot relying on the Europe thing and this book definitely brought the something more.
Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5.