Just One Day by Gayle Forman
Summary: Allyson is about to leave Europe, and she’s disappointed that she missed Paris due to a workers’ strike. When a handsome young man named Willem offers to spirit her away to Paris, she takes a chance and accepts. They share one of the best days of Allyson’s life, but the next morning, Willem has disappeared. He might not have been the good guy that Allyson thought he was. And so Allyson returns to the U.S., feeling rejected and taken advantage of.
My thoughts: I was under the impression that Just One Day was going to be a cute, quick, romantic read, a la The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight. I mean, with a title like Just One Day, it sounded like a whirlwind romance! Boy was I wrong. Just One Day does not take place over just one day—it spans an entire year, and a significant part of that year, for Allyson, involves depression. So yes, Gayle Forman is still the queen of sad books. She has this way of verbalizing things that are so difficult to put into words—and she does it so well. It’s because of this that Allyson is such an easy character to relate to: through her narration, Forman expresses ideas that we’ve all thought about.
Allyson is sure to be one of my favorite protagonists this year. She’s so dynamic—her growth is exponential—but at the same time, she’s an underdog, so she’s easy to root for. She’s the kind of girl we were and the kind of girl we wanted to be, all rolled into one.
Just One Day is an emotional rollercoaster: Forman lets us feel jubilant for the first part, devastated for the second, and hopeful for the third. Just One Day isn’t just a romance, it’s a book about self-discovery, about owning who you are, and about learning that it’s possible to be happy, even when you think you never will be again. It’s a beautiful book, really. It’s very different from Forman’s other books, but at the same time, kind of similar. If If I Stay was enjoyable for you, Just One Day will be, too.
For those who like: realistic fiction, romance, stories about depression
Comment question: If you could spend just one day in any country, which country would you choose?