Book: Just One Year, Gayle Forman
Series: Just One Day series #2
Release Date October 10th, 2013
Rating: 4 stars
I remember thinking while reading Just One Day that Willem was just a player who slept with every girl and then left each morning, never calling again. Like Joey from Friends or Barney from How I Met Your Mother. But when I found out there was going to be a sequel from his point of view, I immediately knew there was a lot more to this boy than the mysterious Dutch traveller that made Allyson see things in a different way.
And mother may I! Just like with Adam in Where She Went, having Willem’s perspective totally changed my view of him; he went from party player to an incredibly deep person who thinks of his “Lulu” as much as she thought about him.
We start the morning after, where it turns out the reason Willem left Allyson was because he was actually involved in an attack that involved him going to the hospital and getting a small bit of amnesia. After returning to the art shack and discovering Lulu’s disappearance, and the realisation that he doesn’t know her real name or how to find her, Willem is heart-broken and becomes a little lost.
For the next year, we see Willem become close to his childhood friend Broodje who, with some other friends, help him try and track Lulu down using the meagre bit of information he has. We also acknowledge some things that were very mysterious in Just One Day: his family life and his parents. With a father that passed prematurely and a mother that isn’t very open emotionally, I totally understood Willem’s desire to travel so often and his fear of staying in one place for any one length of time. While Just One Day had Allyson having a journey of self-discovery, Just One Year chronicles Willem’s journey of self-discovery, and while both their journeys happen differently, both characters learn a lot about each other and the meaning of love and happiness.
If I had any nit-picky things that really annoyed me, it was the ending. Just One Day ended with Allyson finally meeting Willem, and he inviting her inside. So I was itching to read about that scene and what happens afterwards (although I guess it’s mostly implied). But what happens? The book ends! Basically the same way as Just One Day. And that annoyed me no end because I really wanted to see them interact after the year apart.
But besides that one flaw, this was a lovely book and great companion to Just One Day. Not much happens compared to the prequel, but we get a lot of character growth and self-discovery, which was just as lovely to read as an action-filled book would be.
I would definitely recommend it to anyone who read Just One Day.