Thursday, January 3, 2013

ARC Review: Just One Day

Just One Day by Gayle Forman
3.5/5 stars
Dutton Books, 2013
368 pages
YA Contemporary Travel
Scheduled for release January 8

I was fortunate enough to receive this ARC from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. I've read Forman's If I Stay, receiving it with very mixed-up complicated feelings. But the premise for this was so appealing (travel in Europe! College! Shakespeare!) that when it arrived, I knew I'd give it a try.

First part: Allyson (sidenote: I have an unreasonable prejudice toward this name as my sister's is Allison and thus I feel like the only way to spell the name is with two l's and an i. It's stupid, I know) is a senior on a whirlwind school trip through Europe when she meets the Dutchman Willem and impulsively embarks on a day trip with him to Paris, intending to spend just one day. But soon she wants more, leaving her ruined when she wakes up and he is gone. Yes, he didn't make any promises but moving on feels impossible for her. For one day, she was glamorous Lulu, not dull dutiful Allyson, moving without an itinerary, a plan or a map, just on pure impulse for fun.

This part was okay. Allyson feels resentment toward her best friend Mel, who is embracing the new opportunities while Allyson is a stick in the mud as well as toward her extremely overbearing and interfering mother who can hardly let Allyson be. These feelings help explain why she's so eager to assume Lulu and run off with someone she doesn't know (this also kind of happened in Wanderlove and I hated it there-I do not feel like it is a safe idea and safety should be paramount). Then she has what she considers an amazing day although it doesn't sound all that great to me, probably another reason why Allyson and I didn't click.

The second part was aggravating. Allyson is at her college near Boston (Harvard? It's never stated but it makes me think of Yankee Doodle Dandy-movie shoutout :) and enrolled in premed courses as pressured by her mother but she doesn't want to do anything. She is tired all the time and floundering in school for the first time ever. I hated Allyson in this part. I understand that she was depressed but a. he was a one-night stand, why does he get so much of her attention? and b. she's a fictional character so I have zero sympathies for her hardships. I felt like she tossed everything aside because of this stupid boy, who she pinned so much of her aspirations and hopes to be a new person. Just be a different kind of person, Allyson!

Luckily for the third part she soon starts to take that advice, meeting the amazing Dee, one of my favorite book characters ever! He understands trying on all your different personae and without even trying, serves as an inspiration to Allyson, demonstrating friendship when she sorely needs it. She also begins to get more out of her head and makes plans to track down Willem, including a trip to Paris. These events set us up for the forthcoming Just One Year, which I believe will be told from his perspective and let us know what happened after Willem left in Paris.

Overall: I can definitely see why so many people have liked this book but it was most definitely not for me. Also really great for people who love travel as there are some great descriptions of Europe in here.

Cover: I love the watch-it is so fitting!


  1. Oh disappointing. I loved If I Stay and I was really looking forward to this one. Will still read but with more realistic expectations lol. Allyson does sound annoying but I'm intrigued with your comments about Dee

  2. Running off with someone you've only just met does sound ridiculously risky. Allyson (with a y ;) ) sounds irritating, I think I would have been shouting at her myself! I haven't read 'if i stay' yet so I think I'll start with that one first :)

  3. I love it when we disagree because it hardly ever happens.

    I can completely see where you're coming from, and yet, I see it differently. While I agree that as a book guy, Willem isn't really my cup of tea, I really related to Allyson. She's on this path all set out for her by her parents and suddenly she realizes it's not taking her somewhere she wants to go. I didn't mind the wallowing because I didn't see it as breakup wallowing, but more as the result of a complete identity slash existential crisis. And I loved watching her struggle to figure everything out.

    Thanks again for sharing your ARC with me -- that worked out well for both of us :)

  4. Dee sounds great and glad that you enjoyed the last part.
    Happy reading,
    Brandi from Blkosiner’s Book Blog

  5. Awwww sorry this one didn't quite work for you! I can definitely see how Allyson's behavior post one-night stand would be frustrating, it would likely bother me as well. Still, I've heard such good things about Gayle Forman's books, so I'm curious to see what I'll think of it:)

  6. i cannot wait to read this for myself. i enjoyed forman's previous books and i'm very excited about this one but i think like you i'd be frustrated with allyson too from how you describe her.

  7. I am still planning to read this one and hopefully Allyson won't annoy me. I don't like it when characters are all mopey about a boy.

  8. Awe.... I was really looking forward to this. Great review... :)

    Jenea @ Books Live Forever

  9. I LOVED Gayle's other books (Where She Went and If I Stay) so I've been really looking forward to this one too! The concept sounds great. Though, I hope I don't find Allyson to be as annoying as you did, or I'm sure it will ruin the book for me. I did love Wanderlove, though, so maybe that's a sign I'll enjoy this one. Anyhow, thanks for the honest review! :)

  10. Even thought I haven't read anything by Gayle yet, I'm ridiculously excited for this one. I'm glad you found things to like! Thanks for writing such an honest, balanced review.

  11. I always appreciate reading reviews that are a little more negative among all the positive. I am very curious as to what I will think. I really enjoyed If I Stay and Where She Went but I also had some issues with them as well. Great review! :)

    ~Sara @ Forever 17 Books

  12. This is the number one book on my TBR list! I've had my days of travel through Europe, and I can't wait to to experience that thrill again with Allyson!


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