Release Date: January 8th, 2013
Publisher: Dutton Juvenile
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.
I love stories that have lots of travel, I am fascinated by love stories that blossom in 24 hours, and I absolutely adore Gayle Forman. So, all of these things combined, Just One Day was bound to be a win for me from the start. We start the story off in the UK with Allyson and her travel group. A little impromptu Shakespeare and an attractive guy, get Allyson thinking that it's about time to live a little. This leads us to Paris with dashing Willem and one heck of a romantic, whirlwind adventure. This is where we get all of the interactions between the two of these characters and we learn so many things about each of them, but by the end of this day, we still don't really know either of the characters very well. Here Allyson has taken on the personna of "LuLu" and is behaving the way she would. Willem says beautiful things and is extremely daring, but by the end of their adventure we aren't sure if we really ever met him at all.
The middle of the story was where things dragged a little for me. Allyson spends a lot of time pouting and feeling sorry for herself, she meets new people only to alienate them, and seems to only be able to focus on what she lost. It serves a purpose and it does push the story forward, because eventually she starts to realize sitting around and moping isn't doing anyone any good. Once she realizes this we get to see some growth in her character and a whole new motivation. Not to mention she makes some awesome friends once she starts getting into stuff going on at school.
The last part takes place back in Europe and I'm constantly going back and forth between this being my favorite part, or the first part being my favorite. This time we get to experience foreign places with Allyson on her own. Except, she doesn't stay on her own for too long, because she ends up making friends with some fellow travelers at her hostel. Once they know what she's up to they all want to help Allyson on her quest to find Willem. And in the end, finding Willem doesn't end up being the most important thing out of this whole experience for her, because she just might have found herself.
I loved this book and it has definitely earned itself a permanent place on my bookshelves. I look forward to traveling Europe with Allyson again and again, and I absolutely cannot wait for the companion novel that is coming out later in 2013. A definite recommend :0)