Series: Just One Day #1
Author: Gayle Forman
Author: Gayle Forman
Publisher: Dutton Juvenille
Release Date: January 8, 2013
Pages: 368, Hardcover
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.
"We are born in one day. We die in one day. We can change in one day. And we can fall in love in one day. Anything can happen in just one day."
Allyson's is what her friend Mel calls "adventure-averse". She is responsible, predictable, and maybe even a little bit dull. But then Allyson does something that surprises everyone, even herself - she agrees to go to Paris for just one day with a boy she just met. Wether it be Will, the magic of Paris, or the high that comes after making such a crazy decision (maybe a little bit of all three), Allyson comes alive on this day. In fact, it's like she becomes a new person altogether - a braver and more confident Allyson, also known as "LuLu".
“Or maybe it's not a miracle. Maybe this is just life. When you open yourself up to it. When you put yourself in the path of it. When you say yes.”
Other than a few signs that Will knows a lot of ladies, the day goes better than Allyson could have ever expected and she starts to think in terms of just one more day, and then some. But when she wakes up the next morning alone to find Will gone, Allyson is forced to consider that she may have been just another girl on Willem's already long list of conquests. Feeling foolish, heartbroken and confused, Allyson returns back to her carefully planned and dutiful life.
“I think everything is happening all the time, but if you don't put yourself in the path of it, you miss it.”
But months go by and Allyson can't seem to shake herself out of the slump she's in. She still doesn't understand how she could have misconstrued that day with Will so badly. Worse yet, she feels like she didn't just lose her heart to a boy, but that she lost the rest of herself too. Her old life now seems suffocating and she doesn't know how to go back to pre-Paris Allyson, or if she even wants to. In a moment of boldness and clarity, Allyson decides that she will go back to Paris and search for Will. She's looking for answers... she's looking for herself.
“He showed me how to get lost, and then I showed myself how to get found.”
I know what it is like to be afraid of taking chances. Afraid of stepping outside of your comfort zone. It's like gambling with your life and going all-in on yourself.
I understand the fear of taking control of your own life. Making decisions that very well might let down your loved ones.
I know what it's like to feel stuck. So hung up on the what ifs of the past, that you can't move forward and appreciate the presence.
For these reasons and more, I could really relate to Allyson and her situation and while she was going on her journey, I went on one of my own.
“What is the real question is not whether to be, but how to be?”
Gayle Forman is really great at creating characters and stories that connect with readers. Just One Day is really a lesson on living life to the fullest, not being afraid to take chances, and accepting change. It's also about embracing love. This is a story everyone can relate to even without traveling to Paris for a day with a total stranger (but if you want to get to try and get the full experience, by all means).
I always self-reflect when I read Forman's stories, but Just One Day hit closer to home than her other books. I really learned a lot from Allyson and her experience. She was such an inspiration when it comes to taking control of your life and anything being possible. This book forced me to look at the confines on my own life, and motivated me to consider changes I may want to make to get the most from it.
I'd never hesitate to recommend any Gayle Forman books. Her beautiful writing pulls you in and her stories are always so raw and emotional and real.
“Sometimes the best way to find out what you’re supposed to do is by doing the thing you’re not supposed to do.”