Book: Just One Day, Gayle Forman
Series: Just One Day series #1
Release Date August 20th, 2013
Rating: 4 stars
I am an introvert. I prefer staying in reading books with a cup of tea or a good movie with my friends rather than go out to twenty different bars with ten-inch stiletto heels while forking out tons of money for drinks and clothes and taxis. But of course, because I do stay in more often than go out, and take the easy route rather than the complicated and risky one, one question always nags at me. Would I regret not going out in the future and risk making amazing memories or friends for life?
That’s kind of what this book addresses. Allyson is a girl a lot like me: she prefers staying in watching movies than going out every weekend. During the summer after she graduated, her parents paid for an amazing trip to Europe for three weeks with her best friend. She got to see all the cultural European landmarks; Rome, Vienna, London, you name it. And every night, while the rest of the tour-group goes out for drinks, Allyson stays in her hotel room watching movies. But then, Ally meets Willem. After hitting it off in Stratford-Upon-Avon after convincing Ally and her friend to see his group’s attempts of The Twelfth Night, he eventually convinces her to go to Paris with him when it was cancelled on the tour due to a strike. And suddenly Ally is struck with a personality change. She goes from the girl who stays within her comfort zone to suddenly going to Paris for a day with a boy she just met. And that one day becomes the most magical and memorable she has ever had. From jetting down a boat watching the world of Paris go by, napping in a beautiful park, experiencing her first crêpe, and getting cosy in an art shack, everything seems perfect and Willem and Ally seem like soulmates and you just know they’ll live happily ever after.
But then reality sets in the next morning when Ally wakes up and Willem is nowhere to be seen. Suddenly all those warnings about taking off with strangers comes tumbling back and Ally realises just how little she actually knew about the boy she spent that one day with.
I found the premise of this book intriguing, especially as I am one of those safe girls who stays within her comfort zone. I mean, if a hot, attractive stranger asks if you want to go to Paris with them, the most practical answer is no, right? He could be a serial killer for all anybody knows! But what if this stranger is your soulmate, your kindred spirit, and that time spent in Paris is the best experience of your life? Would you regret not knowing what would happen if you’d said yes?
Unfortunately, Ally gets the more practical side to reality as she goes back to real life, still unsure of what exactly happened to Willem. She starts college, but she isn’t the same girl she was before Paris. She keeps to herself even more, and doesn’t study or get involved in the true college experience. It’s not until she finally decides, almost a year later, to track down Willem that the magic happens. Ally goes on an extremely personal and nostalgic adventure, one where she meets many different people from all walks of life who all believe that she can track down Willem. It starts off with her trying to find Willem, but Ally realises that throughout her journey, she found herself instead. She completely grows as a person and discovers who she is, what she wants, and where she wants to go. She stands up to the people who were putting her down and follows her gut instincts instead of listening to practicality.
This is an amazing book of self-discovery and the true importance of what one day can make, when it is with one really important person.