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Monday, March 18, 2013

Book Review: Just One Day by Gayle Forman


BOOK review
Started on: 10.March.2013
Finished on: 13.March.2013

Title : Just One Day
Author : Gayle Forman
Publisher : Random House
Pages : 369 Pages
Year of Publication : 2013
Price : $ 9.02 (

Rating: 4.5/5
*Please mind my slow review-writing these few weeks. I'm going through mid-sem exam, which is killing me and my time.
"Another day. That's all I'm asking. Just one more day. I can't think beyond that... Part of me knows one more day won't do anything except postpone the heartbreak. But another part of me believes differently. We are born in one day. We die in one day. We can change in one day. And we can fall in love in one day. Anything can happen in just one day."
Allyson Healey and her best friend Melanie, are on a European Tour before they started going to university. That day, they were supposed to be watching Shakespeare's Hamlet - but then they both come across a group of actors who are also doing Shakespeare, in a different way. Allyson, who's an all-time good girl, wanted to try something interesting - which she didn't find the whole tour. So she and Melanie decided to go watch it, not only because the idea of escaping sounds fun, but also because of the guy who offered them to come, Willem.

When the tour ended, Allyson never even imagined to meet Willem again in the train to London. It all started when Willem commented on Allyson's breakfast - and the conversation keeps on going. Without knowing Allyson's name, Willem who thinks she looks like a film star named Louise Brooks, started calling her Lulu. Allyson then expressed her disappointment for not going to Paris even after being so close to it. And out of nowhere, Willem said he will take her to Paris, for just one day. Unexpectedly, and so unlike Allyson, she decided to go with him.
"It's totally crazy. I don't even know him. And I could get caught. And how much of Paris can you see in just one day? And this could all go disastrously wrong in so many ways. All of that is true. I know it is. But it doesn't change the fact that I want to go.
So this time, instead of saying no, I try something different.
I say yes."
"I think everything is happening, all the time, but if you don't put yourself in the path of it, you miss it. When you travel, you put yourself out there. It's not always great. Sometimes it's terrible. But other times... it's not so bad."
That one day, is the definition of perfect day for Allyson. She felt free, as if she was a whole different person as Lulu - someone who dares to take chances. Allyson and Willem talked about many things, as if they weren't strangers at all.Willem showed her not only the beauty of Paris, but also makes her realize the beauty of living. Allyson fell in love with Willem, and the way he makes her feel. They spent the night together, ending the day happily; but the next morning Allyson found out Willem is gone. With no money and no luggage, Allyson struggles to return back to London, leaving Paris with a severe heartbreak and a big question in her head.
"That's what I see before my eyes when I think of this day.
It has to do with Paris, but more than that, it has to do with the person who brought me here. And with the person he allowed me to become here. I'm too overcome to explain it all, so instead I say the one word that encapsulates it: "You.""
Allyson goes to college as a pre-med student, just like how her parents wanted her to be. As time goes, Allyson started to discover herself - and feels that she needed to find Willem and know what really happened that one day. She needed to make sure whether Willem really left her that day or not, to be able to move on and forget. But then Allyson realized she didn't know much about Willem, not even his last name. And so the journey to find him won't be an easy one.
"You think you fell in love with someone, and that is what you know about him? Eight things? And how would I find him with these eight things? Forget looking for a needle in a haystack. That's easy. At least it would stand out. I'm looking for one specific needle in a needle factory."
image source: here. edited by me.
My first reaction when I found out the I've reached the last page of this book: "Really, Gayle Forman? You're going to end it this way and make me want to die out of curiosity?". At that point I was dying to have the second book titled Just One Year (which is said to be released in October......). But thankfully, after a few days I could get over it, even though I'm still super curious as to what Willem's side of the story going to say. When I started reading this book, I have a lot of expectations because I really enjoyed reading If I Stay and Where She Went; and this time it is also a Young Adult book, with similar things inside: family, friendship, love, and heartbreak.

The plot itself doesn't really serve too many huge conflicts; because everything that happens is a result from that one day. As I've said, the story is not only about the love Allyson had for Willem - but more about the heartbreak, the result of that heartbreak, and how she tried to heal that. There's also story about Allyson's parents who always wanted her to be a doctor, and how she always tried to fulfill that even though it's not her own dream. When she started to explore herself and tried something new, Allyson found out what she really wants, and gained new friends along the way. And then there's problem between Allyson and Melanie because they started growing apart from each other. All the little problems just flows in naturally into the story, making the character very deeply layered with emotions.

As for the characters, I actually am more interested in Willem rather than Allyson (the main character, who's telling us the story). But unfortunately, Willem doesn't show up that much, and that makes his character still blurry and mysterious for me. So, I guess I'll have to wait for the next book to see if I'll love him the same or not. As for Allyson, I'm actually not very fond of her, but the character development is very thorough. From being a good-girl, and for one day she became a free person as Lulu, and then going through heartbreak, pressure, then she finds the things that can strengthen her again, into a strong girl who is determined to resolve everything. I can definitely feel her confusion about what happened that one day, and I'll probably do the same: think about it every day, and think about all the possibilities. But anyway, I really admired her determination at the end.
"It's okay. And I'm glad I did it." And I am. Maybe he never would've stopped me had I not had the Louise Brooks hair. Or maybe he would've, and we would've exchanged actual names. I'll never know. Once accidents happen, there's no backtracking."
"Whether I'm still in love with him, whether he was ever in love with me, and no matter who he's in love with now, Willem changed my life. He showed me how to get lost, and then showed myself how to get found.
Maybe accident isn't the right word after all. Maybe miracle is.
Or maybe it's not a miracle. Maybe this is just life. When you open yourself up to it. When you put yourself in the path of it. When you say yes."
Aside from the plot and characters, I think it's Gayle Forman's way of delivering the story that I love the most. There are bits of conversations in the story that really caught my attention; for example like Willem's philosophy about love, about how life is full of 'accidents' which we also call fate, the Shakespeare's parts, and things that made me think. Because somehow I'm a bit like Allyson, who doesn't really say 'yes' to many new things or like to take on new challenges. After reading this, I'll probably try saying 'yes' to things - but definitely not going to Paris with a stranger......

 Overall, it was definitely a great read - and of course I'm waiting for the day Just One Year gets published. I really hope Willem's side of the story will make us understand what and why he did it (although in this book we get tiny bits of clues - no spoiler). I hope you're happy for successfully leaving me curious, Gayle Forman : }

by.stefaniesugia♥ .


  1. masih nunggu Just One Year terbit baru beli sekaligus.. Biar ga lupa dan ga penasaran. Hihihi

    1. yup, keputusan yg tepat itu...
      agak nyesel sih ak udh baca ini duluan ;___;

  2. Wah, ini yg dari tadi pagi diributin sama bang Ijul di twitter. Haha.. pasti ya endingnya cliffhanger. Aku nunggu buku keduanya terbit dulu aja kali ya baru baca biar ga penasaran :P

    Nice review stef.. dan selamat mid-sem. Good luck!! Keke, aku mid-semnya masih bln depan :P

    1. hahahha cliffhanger BANGET. abis baca jd nyesel, tau gitu nunggu smp taun dpn baru baca T-T
      thank you ky! ;*

  3. Ahhh gak sabar baca buku ini, waktu itu aku preorder tapi belum aku ambil XD kalau cliffhanger apa mending nunggu sampai Just One Year terbit aja kali ya hehehe

    1. iyaaa, tunggu Just One Year aja, drpd ditinggal penasaran sm buku ini ;___;

  4. eh, Just One Year bakal bercerita dari sudut pandang Willem ya?


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