Plot in a Nutshell:
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.
-Synopsis (from Goodreads)
Thoughts in General:
There are books that just come off as purely cinematic and for me Just One Day by Gayle Forman falls under this category. I really felt as if I was watching a movie in every page I turned. The characters were well put together specially the protagonist and her development was really spot on. The plot had the right amount of drama which elevated the whole feel of the novel and the thrilling escapism of the travels the protagonist enters herself into makes me want to jump on the next plane to Paris and get lost myself. The scenery that Gayle Forman manages to weave was so well written that my ever growing passion to visit Europe intensified! Though at times, I had a hard time managing my impression of the main character however as the novel progresses along I began to understand what she’s going through. A truly enjoyable book that was really inspiring and totally picturesque.
Thoughts in Details:
Allyson Healey, the main protagonist, was always sheltered by her mom and dad. Everything in her life was already planned out and she doesn’t complain. However on the last day of her Teen Tours! Europe excursion, she meets a guy named Willem, during a street performance of Shakespeare’s The Twelfth Night, and when he asks her to go to Paris with him as they crossed path on a train station, Allyson throws caution to the wind and decides to go for Just One Day.
I am going to be totally honest with you. I was really annoyed with Allyson during the first half of the story. There were things that she did and feel that were a little bit off hence my annoyance. Then when the day was over and the thing that happened blew up (nudge to those who read the book), I was actually siding with her friend Melanie. However as the novel progresses, Allyson starts to have certain revelations about herself and that was where I started to get her point of view on things. She started to grow on me and wouldn’t you know it I was rooting for her to achieve the things that she really wanted. I actually became proud of her when she stood her ground and suddenly this fighting spirit took over her. She became less whiny and she started taking matters into her own hands which was really admirable.
The ensemble of characters in this book was really fleshed out except for Willem. This guy takes the cake for being the mysterious stranger, for sure. Melanie, Allyson’s childhood BFF, was the typical teenager looking for ways to reinvent herself. Dee was probably the most complex character I’ve read in this book. He seems to take on different personalities depending on the person who was interacting with him which made me think that he was a bipolar. However the reader finds out that there’s a reason behind his different veneers. Allyson’s Mother was so over protective and totally immersed in her daughter’s life that I felt suffocated whenever she was mentioned while her Dad was the opposite. And the rest of the people that touched Allyson’s life were all great and you’ll see it here that sometimes you will be able to get help in the most unlikely of all places.
The book takes place in different locations like Paris, Boston, Mexico, Miami, Amsterdam etc., and for me this added the cinematic effect that I got from this book. I could really see this novel turned into a movie and with the right screenplay and cinematography it’ll be so good.
The plot of the novel was somewhat reminiscent of those teen adventure movies (i.e. okay I can’t think of anything else but The Lizzie McGuire Movie), however the way Gayle Forman molded the events and the development of the characters made this novel really outstanding. Even though I was annoyed with the main character, I really sympathized with her and the things that happened to her. I don’t know if it is a coming-of-age story but to me it felt like it and it was done really well. The book wasn’t a romantic journey that I thought it would be but it was a story about identities, self-discovery and the lengths one would go to finally acknowledge their true selves and it was way better than my first impression.
Just One Day deserves a…
Thumbs Up! Sentimental and really moving this novel will really stir your emotions and will make you crave for macarons (well I did).
What did you guys think of Just One Day? Did you agree or disagree with my statements above? Tell me on the comments section and let’s start a conversation.