Thursday, March 28, 2013

Badass Books: Just One Day

As promised, here is my review of Gayle Forman's Just One Day, the latest YA Book Club (click the image below for Tracey Neithercott's book club of epic awesomness), two days late. So as soon as this goes up, I'll begin making my rounds to see what everyone else thought! For more reviews/thoughts on this book, click here.


Summary (from Goodreads):

When sheltered American good girl Allyson "LuLu" Healey first meets laid-back Dutch actor Willem De Ruiter at an underground performance of Twelfth Night in England, there’s an undeniable spark. After just one day together, that spark bursts into a flame, or so it seems to Allyson, until the following morning, when she wakes up after a whirlwind day in Paris to discover that Willem has left. Over the next year, Allyson embarks on a journey to come to terms with the narrow confines of her life, and through Shakespeare, travel, and a quest for her almost-true-love, to break free of those confines.


Why I read it: As some of you may remember, I actually don't read a lot of contemporary. This is my second contemporary this year--which is far beyond my typical reading. I think that's why I love YA Book Club, it's introducing me to books I probably wouldn't have otherwise picked up. I actually didn't know a single thing about this book before I started reading it. I'd seen the cover on Tumblr countless times, but that was it. Nothing more. So when Willem leaves (as mentioned above) I had no idea it was coming. I really liked going into it blind.

ZOMG YES: My favorite thing about this story was the side characters. Allyson sort of annoyed me throughout, but she grew, and the woman she grew into was awesome. Still, the secondary characters were the best. Each of them had this endless sort of depth--their own stories, their own novels just waiting to be written. From the ones I didn't like at first (Celine, Kali) to the ones I loved (Dee and Wren FTW!), these side characters really made the novel for me.

The other stand-out part of this book was the voice. Gayle's prose is beautiful, funny, and thoughtful. It reminded me of being 18 and 19 again, and to me that's a success.

Kthxbai: While I did enjoy this book overall, I don't know if I'll pick up Just One Year when it comes out. I probably will, but since Willem and Allyson weren't my favorite characters, I just don't know. While Willem had his own sort of depth to him, I think I want to get through a lot of the other books on my list before I'll revisit him. Still, I felt empowered by Allyson's journey, and that made the read worth it to me.

Have you read Just One Day? What did you think?

6 comments:

  1. I loved the side characters as well. So much personality. Dee was my favorite. :-) I was completely romanced by this book (as you well know!), so I'll definitely be reading JUST ONE YEAR. In fact, I can't wait ot get Willem's side of the story.

    What are you reading now? Any recs to pass along?

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    1. I recently finished Splintered by A.G. Howard and loved that. Next I'm thinking of starting either Nobody But Us (which I know you read and loved--a third contemporary! who knew?) or Altered.

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  2. I loved the side characters, too! I even liked the more minor ones, like her Shakespeare professor and the tour group leader (her name escapes my memory already).

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    1. Yes, I loved them both! And even Melanie and her journey.

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  3. My favourite character in this book was Dee by a landslide. That being said, I wasn't wowed by JUST ONE DAY. Perhaps it's because I've seen TAKEN (I kept thinking what a bad idea it was to take off with a stranger to Paris), or because it felt like InstaLove to me (sort of felt like she moped for *months* over a one night stand), but I just didn't connect. I'm curious about Willem's side of the story, but like you, I probably won't be rushing to read it. Rather than be all Negative Nelly, I will say that I did love the way Allyson grows into the person *she* wants to be. There was great character development in that respect.

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    1. I'm really with you Jaime. I had some similar feelings, and I might not have finished this book if not for book club. And I'm with you on the character development.

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