Thursday, February 14, 2013

BR: Just One Day

by Gayle Forman
Just One Day duology; book I

Oh boy, it feels like it's been a long road for this book. The amount of hype*, the amount of Audrey-annoyed-ness... but it's Gayle Forman so I had to read it.

This is also another review that I snagged off my "initial thoughts" ramblings on Goodreads. So it's less polished but.. eh. *shrugs*

Summary (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.

My Thoughts

Awww this one made me smile. Mostly.

Let's start with the goods, shall we? The writing and voice were engaging, and I feel Gayle Forman always does well when writing about universal feelings in a connected type of way. I liked that she made the protagonist older, and the way Allyson dealt with her parents and her independence was interesting. Allyson's personal journey was depicted excellently in general; I liked the way Forman focused a lot on self-discovery, and allowing the timeline to make it realistic.

I also adored the small quirky things that made the novel more rich, things like the French lessons, the macarons, Babs, and the part with the watch :)

I had a few issues with the middle chunk of the book: the college experience-- while the feelings I thought were authentic, it skimmed over some academic things (is no one stressed for exams or is it just me?). Apart from Dee, pretty much every other character fell flat and/or were predictable (the "simpering girls" in class part could not possibly be more condescending. I'm judging you as hard as you are judging them, methinks.) The roommate situation felt stale, but more in the "I know what the author is trying to do, but it's not...quite there" type of way.

Who was that best friend again? I forget her name, but she's up there on the "sucky best friends" list.

The last chunk felt rushed and too coincidental, and instead of lifting me inside some type of fairytale adventure, I was kind of bogged down by it.

And lastly, it felt...methodical. Maybe a bit too planned, I don't know why such an aspect is sticking out for me (I know, it's called a plot, things are planned, Audrey you're being ridiculous) but I didn't feel the rush during the "just one day" part, nor did I fall in love with Willem the way I think most readers did.

Nevertheless, despite some of my reservations, I'd highly recommend it. I'll be among the masses of people looking forward to the second part, and I'm definitely looking forward to knowing Willem better :)

Rating in HP Terms: Acceptable
Recommended for: contemporary fans, fans of Gayle Forman and Stephanie Perkins
Acknowedgements: great! 4.5/5

8.3/10 - because while some parts irked me, I did generally enjoy it. I realize now that my review touched more on the negatives than the positives, but trust me, there was a lot of neat things going on that Forman executed wonderfully.

*Penguin is my absolute least favourite publisher in terms of marketing strategies. There. I said it.
**This is a personal opinion, but I really disliked this part in the jacket flap/summary. It made me think as if in everyday life, she went by "Lulu" as a short for "Allyson" and all I could think was "that's the worst nickname ever." (this is not the case, by the way)

source: library
author twitter / website / tumblr 


  1. I've read a lot of mixed reviews for this one. I still want to read it, after all it is Gayle Foreman and she writes fantastic stuff. I'm glad it has a lot of fun quirky things about it though. :)

  2. I really want to read this for myself since it has been getting mixed reviews. But I think I'd lke it since I've enjoyed Gayle Forman's previous books.

  3. I'm almost definitely not picking this up, because the premise just doesn't appeal to me, but it's great to hear you connected with the protag! It's also interesting to me that you'd highly recommend it even despite your multiple quibbles.

  4. Wow, at first I thought you really didn't like this book - then I got to the end of your review and phew! - it's not as bad and I can still expect to like it :) I even think it's good to see a review that points out a few flaws - I've actually never heard anything slightly negative about Gayle Forman :)

  5. omg I definitely agree with the marketing for Penguin. hello, Marcus Finch. I had certain issues with this book too but I overall enjoyed it. It wasn't what I was expecting. I really like your insightful & honest review, thank you! :)

  6. Thank you for your honest review. Honestly, I'm beginning to think that I've grown out of Gayle's books: I loved If I Stay when it first came out, was indifferent to the sequel, and now, while I like the concept of Just One Day, there are just too many opportunities for it to go poorly, and "books set across Europe" already have a high standard to live up to in 13 Little Blue Envelopes, one of my favorite books when I was younger.

    On the other hand, I'm hoping I get to go to Europe this summer/soon. Maybe I'll get some inspiration and material, starting from Just One Day. :)


for those who are confused, it means "Don't forget to be AWESOME". *hugs*