Adventure and Romance are Fully Embraced in Gayle Forman’s Novel Just One Day.
Review by Kelley Crawford
Summary: It’s the summer before college, and Allyson is spending her time traveling from site to site in Europe. She’s with her best friend, Melanie—who changes personas as often as she changes her style—and a tour group that is on a tight schedule. One night Melanie and Allyson decide to loosen the strings of that schedule, and that’s when Allyson meets Willem. He’s a Dutch actor who whimsically moves through life, and Allyson can barely believe it when she agrees to go to Paris with him—for just one day. That day turns into the greatest day of her life, and the night with Willem proves to be even better, but then morning comes. There’s no trace of Willem, and Allyson is left on the unknown streets of Paris. She journeys home never knowing what happened to him. The loss of Willem starts to affect everything—school, her friendships, her socialization, and her ability to move on with her life. She knows the only way to get over Willem is to let him go, but to do that, she must find him and discover why he disappeared. She goes searching for Willem, and what she discovers is beyond what she could have imagined.
Review: The scenic descriptions throughout Just One Day make Paris, London, Holland, and various other destinations feel like characters in the novel. Those places come alive as Willem and Allyson walk through the cities and create memories with one another. Forman’s ability to blend the characters and the setting create a deep identification for the reader, so they find themselves smiling when Allyson does or questioning life as Willem does. The realistic light Forman displays on the characters’ relationships also helps create a deep engagement with the story and the characters, and those elements together make this novel one that’s definitely worth reading.
Bottom Line: Just One Day will have you wishing it went on longer.
Audience: If you like Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants (Ann Brashares) or The Fault in our Stars (Jon Green) then you’ll want to get on board with Just One Day. Also, you can read the sequel Just One Year if you need more of Allyson, Willem, and their adventures together.