October 21, 2013
Review: Just One Day
Just One Day by Gayle Forman
Summary: 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.
The Good: Where do I start... Gayle Forman is a master of bringing emotions to life through her words. That's what I loved most about Just One Day. The characters are beautifully flawed. Allyson is a great protagonist who is still trying to find who she is. I enjoyed the supporting characters, Dee and Wren among these. I love how Shakespeare is interwoven through the plot, especially since Forman focused on As You Like It and really analyzed it through Allyson without getting dry. (My Shakespeare freak is showing just a little here.) I liked how the book progressed; it covered a whole year yet wasn't slow at all.
The Bad: I felt like, just a little, through Allyson's determination to not be pre-med and take all those science courses, Forman was condemning students who love math and science. Just a little. This isn't just Forman; so many YA books today encourage those who are artsy and look down on those who are logical and analytical. There's nothing wrong with either. I also want to note that I'm fine with Allyson being more artsy; this is important to her journey. But I'm not sure she should've been the one to make this move.
Also, her roommates were overly annoying. I'm not sure if they were supposed to be, but I was bothered by their every word and action. Finally, Allyson's parents, especially her mother, were just a bit steretypical.
The Ugly: Language is mostly PG, although the s-word is used a couple times and the f-word appears once. Romance is generally very tame; in the one iffy scene, things don't get too graphic.
The Verdict: I really, really, really enjoyed Just One Day. So I say give it a try, if you can look past the ugly. And if you've already read it, what did you think? :) I probably would've rated the book an A-, were it not for the language and sexual content.