Just One Day by Gayle Forman

Monday, April 20, 2015

Just One Day by Gayle Forman
Publisher: Speak (Penguin Group)
Publication Date: January 8th, 2013
Pages: 369
Song I Played While Reading: Anna Sun by Walk The Moon
Rating: 4 stars

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: twenty-four hours that will transform Allyson's life. 

The wanderlust bug has bitten me. The Conspiracy of Us by Maggie Hall cracked open something in me that can't be stopped, and before I knew it I was googling European tours and volunteering abroad and it was like the possibilities were endless. So in between now and my month long traipse across Europe, I'm finding the next best thing; reading about it. Is anyone surprised? No.
I really enjoyed this book. It was inspiring and uplifting and just made you feel good, as if you had just eaten warm cookies and were now wrapped up in a blanket. There was a small blip in the story where it got a little dark, something that bothered me to no end and made me want to throw one of Allyson's antique clocks at her head, and the reason why I docked it a star.
But overall this was a story about getting lost and finding yourself in the process. I love the whole idea of abandoning responsibilities (for a short period of time, of course) and just being. Living for the moment, wandering around to new places, doing things you don't normally do. That's what this story is ultimately about. Allyson has had her entire life planned out since she was in elementary school. She didn't mind it because she didn't know any other type of way of living. She was comfortable. So this unplanned trip to Paris with a boy she barely knows shot an arrow through her head and heart and opened up her eyes to a different way of existing.
Allyson was an easy character. Though a little annoying at first, she quickly opened up and we saw the person she was meant to be while in Paris. It all comes full circle in the end, but let me tell you. The road there (especially in the beginning while at school) was a struggle to get through. It was both boring and sad, in the way where it made me itch to just jump into the story and fix everything. I hate seeing characters get stuck in such a rut.
Willem was an interesting character. I liked him, but something about him also rubbed me the wrong way. It was small things, so I could ignore it pretty well, but it still nagged at me when he would do them. There relationship was simple and "fluid", as Captain Jack said. I really enjoyed their banter and the way they acted around each other.
The writing was electrifying, sometimes giving me goosebumps and other times making me close my eyes and just picture all the places this book features. It was vivid and gorgeous.
The ending was pretty satisfying for an open-ended one. Usually I hate those with a burning passion, but surprisingly I didn't mind this one. I was so in-tune with Allyson that her choice to go you-know-where right at the end satisfied me in a way where I knew, even without actually reading it, that she would be okay with whatever happened. I'm sure this is what authors usually want a reader to feel when they have an open-ending, but this is one of the rare times when I actually felt it.
Overall, I highly recommend this (if you haven't already read it, which would be a surprise because I'm SUPER late to the Gayle Forman train), and think theres something in it for everyone; romance, travel, self-discovery, trying new things, going out of your comfort zone, and creating your own path in life.

"I turn to Melanie. It's on her now. She narrows her green eyes at Willem. "If you rape or murder my friend, I will kill you."
Willem tsk-tsks. "You Americans are so violent. I'm Dutch. The worst I will do is run her over with a bicycle."

""I think everything is happening all the time, but if you don't put yourself in the path of it, you miss it. When you travel, you put yourself out there. It's not always great. Sometime's its terrible. But other times..." He lifts his shoulders and gestures out to Paris, then sneaks me a sidelong glance. "It's not so bad."

""Here." Melanie shoves a drink into my hand. It's in a hallowed-out piece of pineapple. I take a sniff. It smells like suntan lotion. It is sweet and warm and burns slightly going down. "Good girl."
I think of Ms. Foley. "Don't call me that."
"Bad girl."
"I'm not that either."
She looks peeved. "Nothing girl."

"Part of me knows one more day won't do anything except postpone the heartbreak. But another part of me believes differently. 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."

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