Monday, 27 October 2014

Review: Just One Year by Gayle Forman

Publication Date: October 10 2013
Publishers: Dutton Juvenile
Source: Received for review from Easons

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Blurb: Just One Day. Just One Year. Just One Read.

Before you find out how their story ends, remember how it began....

When he opens his eyes, Willem doesn’t know where in the world he is—Prague or Dubrovnik or back in Amsterdam. All he knows is that he is once again alone, and that he needs to find a girl named Lulu. They shared one magical day in Paris, and something about that day—that girl—makes Willem wonder if they aren’t fated to be together. He travels all over the world, from Mexico to India, hoping to reconnect with her. But as months go by and Lulu remains elusive, Willem starts to question if the hand of fate is as strong as he’d thought. . . .

The romantic, emotional companion to Just One Day, this is a story of the choices we make and the accidents that happen—and the happiness we can find when the two intersect.


I really enjoyed Just One Day and as soon as I finished it, I knew I needed to get my hands on Just One Year. Although, this seems to be a trend for me, I was preoccupied with many other books and forgot how desperate I was to read it.....and waited over a year to finally devour it on my holidays in Spain this summer. 

In Just One Year, we see the events that took place for Willem following that special day he shared in Paris with Allyson in Just One Day.  I really really loved reading this novel from Willem's point of view because after J.O.D I didn't really like him that much as I felt he came across like a "manic pixie dream boy". Yet, after reading this book I realised that Willem is a much more three dimensional and interesting character. 

I really enjoyed learning about Willem's past, his experiences, his crazy friends and what his day to day life consisted of. Getting this insight into Willem's past made him feel like a much more solid normal person than what I felt he was in J.O.D. i really enjoyed reading about his friends, who were equal parts crazy and fun, and his family problems as it all made me connect to Willem that little bit more.

 I also really enjoyed the story of Willem's parents meeting & falling in love, and the fathers brother story and just it was all so perfect and cute! When they were telling the story, I kept thinking of how one day, Willem will tell the story of the magical day in Paris where he fell in love with Allyson. (ALL THE FEELS)

Another thing that made me so happy was the fact that we got to see that Willem was actually searching for Allyson. In J.O.D , I  felt like maybe he wasn't searching for her because that day wasn't as significant for him as it was for Allyson. But reading about him searching for her and visiting the places, and the near meeting scenes almost killed me, all really made me feel so happy that he was actively seeking her out and that their day together changed him too.

Okay, okay, so I guess I have to talk a little about how this book was not a sequel to J.O.D, but a companion of sorts as it showed the events in a year following J.O.D from Willem's perspective. I really liked this set up as I felt that if it were a proper sequel, I would have been left wanting to know more about Willem and his life . I liked this idea as we got to see the minute details of his life and read lots of scenes that just focused on him and not the grand plot. 

That being said, I was happy we got to a tiny bit more of the ending than what we saw in J.O.D, but I was also desperate for more Willem & Allyson time. When I was reading the book and it was getting closer and closer to the moment when Allyson calls to the house and I looked down and realised I had less than 20 pages to read; This was my reaction: 


That being said I really loved the plot and the ending left me feeling all the warm and fuzzy feels. 

Another thing that I love about this duology, is how wander-lust inducing it is. The various settings in this novel were so strong and vivid that I felt instantly transported there, from Amsterdam to India. Gayle Forman has awoken this desire to travel in me that I never really knew was there before. 

The writing style was typical Gayle Forman brilliance. Vivid descriptions,poetic, perfect analogy's, engaging and quotable dialogue. This novel was fast paced, I confess to staying awake into the little hours of the morning just to read more of Willem's story. The varied chapter lengths were great as i often only had time to read one chapter before leaving, whereas other times i would have the time to sit and read deeply. The plot was intriguing, fast paced, memorable, entertaining. 

Overall a highly entertaining duology filled with breathtaking settings, fast paced plot, poetic writing style and characters that will stick with you. I can't wait to get my hands on a copy of Just One Night because I need more Willem & Allyson !! 

How this novel made me feel *happy dance* :  


Five Stars 

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