I am in love with a book. Make that two books actually! Both Just One Day and Just One Year by Gayle Forman warmed my heart and made me lust for adventure. Together, these two novels tell the stories of Allyson and Willem, two college students from completely different worlds (and countries), and the way in which both of their lives are completely changed after spending just one day together in Paris. Cute, fun, and leaving me begging for more, Just One Day and Just One Year were JUST SO GOOD!
Everything that happens in that one day shapes Allyson for the rest of the year that follows. Exploring Paris with Willem opens her eyes to the world around her, and despite her efforts to resist his playboy charm, Allyson finds herself falling for him. When Allyson wakes up alone the next morning, however, she is hurt and confused. With no way to contact him (she doesn’t even know his last name), Allyson flies back home to start university with a broken heart. Trying to move on with her life, Allyson can’t help but wonder what happened to Willem that morning, and decides to go on her own adventure to find out.
On the flip side, Just One Year tells Willem’s version of the events that happened that day in Paris. Starting off the next morning after he left Allyson behind, readers discover the secrets behind his past, and watch breathlessly as Willem goes on an adventure of his own. While I spent most of the first book thinking that Willem was a bit of a jerk, the revelations that occur in his story had me completely falling head over in heels in love with him myself. Both Allyson’s and Willem’s stories weaved together seamlessly, and I found myself holding my breath on countless occasions as their journeys intersected without either of them knowing.
One of the things that surprised me the most about both of these books, is that while the one day that they spent together was the focus of the plot, the majority of both novels takes place during the year that follows. I loved getting to see how their one day together shaped both Allyson and Willem’s lives, and the ways in which their characters continued to grow throughout the year. Yes, I’ll admit that Allyson and her moping annoyed me for a bit, but when she started to gain her confidence back and spread her wings, I couldn’t help but feel proud of her. I love a story with great character development, and Foreman did not disappoint me with either of these books!
I’m not going to lie though, the things that I loved most about Just One Day and Just One year were the travel, romance, and plethora of Shakespearean references! Getting to experience Paris, Amsterdam, India, and Mexico, through Allyson and Willem’s adventures had me fighting the urge to book a plane ticket for the next day (if only I was rich!). I also LOVED the fact that Willem was from the Netherlands as my own family is Dutch! I squealed with delight at every reference to hagelslag, Dutch football, and canal boats.
Seriously though, both of these books are AMAZING! Ironically, I read Just One Day in just one day because I couldn’t seem to put it down! If you love a book filled with great characters and fun adventure, then add these to the top of your reading list! Just make sure to read BOTH books, because you won’t get the full effect of the story unless you do!
Rating: 5 Stars