Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Just One Day & Just One Year by Gayle Forman

Allyson Healey's life is exactly like her suitcase—packed, planned, ordered. Then on the last day of her three-week post-graduation European tour, she meets Willem. A free-spirited, roving actor, Willem is everything she’s not, and when he invites her to abandon her plans and come to Paris with him, Allyson says yes. This uncharacteristic decision leads to a day of risk and romance, liberation and intimacy: 24 hours that will transform Allyson’s life.
A book about love, heartbreak, travel, identity, and the "accidents" of fate, Just One Day shows us how sometimes in order to get found, you first have to get lost. . . and how often the people we are seeking are much closer than we know.
Beginning of the book was good. End of book was good. Middle of this book? Boring…  This would be a two star read for me except for the ending. Now I HAVE to read the second book, stupid cliffhangers. This is a story about finding love of course but it is just as much about the road to self-discovery all told from Allyson’s point of view.

~Spoiler Free Review~

Writing: Gayle Forman does a good job with her writing. Even when the book dragged on in the middle I was able to push through because of the writing style.

Characters: Allyson was alright. She seemed to constantly be in a state of gloom which was a barrier for me. I couldn’t fall in love with her character personally, but she wasn’t bad. You know I love a strong independent woman so I liked her more towards the half of the book when she took matters into her own hands. I can’t tell yet how I feel about Willem. I don’t really find him sexy or funny. It’s apparent he knows how to get around, both with land and the ladies. He’s either a hardcore player or he is a more complicated character. I’m sure this will come out more in book 2 as it is from his POV.

Side note – I loved Dee!

Plot: I really like travel books. Throw in a little romance and I think it makes a nice combo. The romance was… meh.  In my opinion their one day wasn’t romantic enough or even enjoyable enough to dwell on for a whole book. I didn’t get the strong connection between “Lulu” and Willem that I think was trying to be portrayed. I like the idea of this book but again Allyson held me back a bit from loving it. I liked the idea of a whole Paris rendezvous and I think Forman portrayed college life and the “New Adult” genre pretty decent. Without wrecking anything, I like everything after Allyson finishes her first year of college.

Overall: A very respectable book. I wouldn’t read it again and I wouldn’t go around recommending it to people, but good nonetheless. If you like some romance and are interested in reading about traveling then this would be a good book to pick up if you have time. I wouldn’t make a point of cramming it into any upcoming TBR’s though. If you have not read Anna and theFrench Kiss by Stephanie Perkins yet I would recommend that book over this book. 

I liked it.
Note: This book was the February book choice for The Chick Lits Bookclub

When he opens his eyes, Willem doesn’t know where in the world he is—Prague or Dubrovnik or back in Amsterdam. All he knows is that he is once again alone, and that he needs to find a girl named Lulu. They shared one magical day in Paris, and something about that day—that girl—makes Willem wonder if they aren’t fated to be together. He travels all over the world, from Mexico to India, hoping to reconnect with her. But as months go by and Lulu remains elusive, Willem starts to question if the hand of fate is as strong as he’d thought. . . .

The romantic, emotional companion to Just One Day, this is a story of the choices we make and the accidents that happen—and the happiness we can find when the two intersect.
Just like its predecessor, the beginning and ending were good but the middle... I understand that it is building the story but I’m dying there for a moment begging Forman to throw me a bone. Still, the love story is very present however Willem, even more so than Allyson, is discovering himself more with every hop across a border. I enjoyed Willem story a little more I think just because I was fonder of the family dynamics in this book but I still had some very similar feelings for book 2. I'll try not to be too repetitive in this review. 

~Spoiler Free Review~

Writing: Again, Forman’s writing is good. The middle was just too much of a drag for me to give anything more than three stars but the writing got me to push through. I mean, C’mon… the ending in Just One Day? Had to find out what happened next!

Characters: Okay, okay. I like Willem. I like him a lot. He’s not my type of guy per say, I don’t find him sexy, but I do find him appealing and I get it now. I enjoyed his road to his self-discovery and his relationship with his mother. A bit of a player but he’s coming around ladies! I’m glad Allyson wasn’t around until the end, her depression couldn’t cramp my read in this book. I liked all of supporting characters in this book.

Plot: Same basic plot as book one but from Willem’s POV. If you enjoy books more along the traveling side you will like this book more than the first. Willem travels more and to very different places too, good diversity in surroundings throughout the book.

Overall: More enjoyable than the first, personally. Couldn’t wait to read the ending after book 1 but STILL didn’t get enough for a two book build up… Again, same as the first, it was good, wouldn’t read it again and wouldn’t recommend you run out and get it. If you are bored and you want to use literature to travel this is a decent pick to do so. 

I liked it.
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