Genre: Young Adult, New Adult?, Realistic Fiction, Coming of Age, Romance
Published: January 8th, 2013 by Dutton Juvenile
Hardcover, 368 pages
How I Got This Book: Checked it out from the library
Why I Picked It Up?: This is a blogger rave book that somehow weasled its way onto my TBR and holds lists. Must be an enticing story 😉 .
Book Jacket Blurb: “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.” –From Goodreads
My Review of this Work:
Warning: This book will invoke emotions. So be cautious.
Initially, I was drawn to this book because of my slight obsession with European travel. I am in the midst of planning my own trip to Europe in the distant future (sadly now probably not for another 2 years), and so my NEED to read about these places where I want to travel is pretty great. And when I find out this European traveling story is written by none other than the emotion-invoker Gayle Forman (author of If I Stay, see my review here), I knew I was in for a ride!
As the title (and the blurb) suggest, this book is about one day in the life of Allyson Healey, and how that day influences her life over the next year. On a European tour with her BFF, Allyson strays from the schedule and ends up in a park where she meets an actor by the name of Willem. The next morning, she bumps into him again, and he convinces her to go against her reserved personality and take a plunge into the unknown with him–by taking a day trip to Paris. For one day, tentative Allyson becomes outgoing LuLu, and she has one of the best days of her whole life. Until she wakes up the next morning.
To me, this book is a coming of age story in the most personal sense. Allyson strays from the path she thinks her life ought to go for one day, and that sends her on a very emotional journey of self-discovery. She spends her first year of college trying to figure out who she is and who she wants to be, and it is a heartbreaking struggle. But who hasn’t been where she is? Who hasn’t had to figure out if “what you wanted to be when you grew up” according to your friends and family is still what you want to do with your life? Who hasn’t gone through extreme heartbreak and had to learn how to keep living life afterward? Who hasn’t questioned EVERYTHING and ended up with very few answers? All of these questions, all of these emotions, are extremely realistic and incredibly easy to relate to.
Of course, this emotional journey is reflected in Allyson’s outward personality and actions. She finds herself pulling away from those around her, having an attitude, not caring about school–many of the symptoms of depression. In turn, there are some moments when she does come across as rather annoying and needing a good shake. But you have to remember what she is going through internally is an emotional war that does affect her actions (or lack thereof). So don’t give up on her.
I apologize for this review. It is less of a review and more of a reflection. This book resonated with me on such a personal level. Maybe because I have gone through something as emotionally devastating as what Allyson goes through in this book. And just like I did, she finds a way to begin to cope and find meaning in her life again. So take this review as a testament to how memorable this story is, and how much it buries itself in you and won’t let you forget it.
But it is not the end. The sequel to this book, Just One Year, comes out this October. So you have until then to read this book so you can read that book right after.
My Bookshelf Rating:
This is the story of a girl who spends one day acting completely out of the norm for her and spends a year really trying to figure out who she is. Just One Day pulls you in immediately and sends you on the same emotional roller-coaster ride that Allyson goes through. She is such an easy character to relate to (though sometimes you might want to poke/prod/slap/hit her on occasion), and her story is everyone’s story at this turning point age. I cannot wait to see what happens in the follow up novel coming out at the end of the year!
Love and Cinnamon Apple Sauce,