Monday, December 9, 2013

Book Review: Just One Year by Gayle Forman

Pages: 336
Genre: YA Realistic Fiction
Pub. Date: October 10, 2013
Series: Just One Day (Book #1)
Source: Personal Copy
My Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Goodreads says, "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."
Just One Year doesn't pick up where Just One Day left off, but rather it starts off with Willem in a hospital in Paris.  Finally readers will get some answers as to why Willem disappeared on Allyson. He is suffering from amnesia due to a head injury; however, he does remember Lulu, but doesn't remember how to find her. He traces his steps in Paris without any luck and ends up traveling all over the world just to connect with her.  Just One Year is written from Willem's point of view and readers will have the chance to learn more about him, both the good and the bad.  Gayle Forman's Just One Year isn't as romantic as I had hoped, but rather more of a book about self-growth as well as a captivating travelogue.  

Willem is a compelling character and I enjoyed his journey in Just One Year. Like everyone else, I was dying to get some answers as to why he left Allyson that fateful morning. I was hoping he had a good excuse and it all starts to make sense once readers learn that he woke up in a hospital, alone and confused.  Willem is a complex character with a lot of baggage. While he is searching for Allyson, he also grows as a person. He reconnects with family and friends; plus, we get some interesting background regarding why he is such a nomad.  

Part of me wanted Just One Year to pick up where Just One Day left off and I was a little disappointed that it didn't. Although I liked Willem's journey and I knew it was necessary to fully appreciate his story, I felt parts of it were slow moving and slow to build when compared to Just One Day. The only reason why I trudged through was because of Forman's writing. She is a fantastic author and as I have said before, I will read anything she writes. I just need to trust her and I'm glad I did.

I love traveling and this book reminded me a bit of Johnson's 13 Little Blue Envelopes. As Willem travels to places like Mexico looking for Allyson, they have near misses and I just wanted them to finally reconnect, but I knew I had to wait.  Then he travels to other exotic places, trying to connect with his mother and in turn, learns more about life and reignites his love of acting.  The travel aspect of Just One Year really connected with my love of travel and I thought Forman did a good job showing readers how traveling the world can shape a person's life.

The romance builds slowly in Just One Year, as I mentioned before. The book's main focus is self-growth, but by the novel's end I was completely satisfied. If you are a fan of star-crossed lovers, the idea that one day and one person can change your life, and you love traveling, then you should check out Just One Day and Just One Year. Combine all of these aspects with Forman's fantastic writing style and you have a book with intelligence and a book that will make you feel deeply.

7 comments:

  1. I need to give these books another try. I have a copy of Just One Year for review but I never finished reading Just One Day. I kind of got angry with the first book. I'm glad that things turned out well in the second book even if it wasn't quite what you were expecting with the story and romance.

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    1. It took me awhile to warm up to Allyson in Just One Day, but once I did, I really enjoyed the story. Definitely give it another try!! Thanks for visiting, Christina!

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    1. Gayle Forman is the best! You should definitely read her books…If I Stay is my favorite. Thanks for visiting, Carrie.

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  3. I wish this book had picked up where we left off with the last one. I love Forman's writing, but I think I would have enjoyed this one much more if she had taken a different angle with it.

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