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Friday, March 21, 2014

Book Review: Just One Year (Just One Day, #2) by Gayle Forman

BOOK review
Started on: 13.March.2014
Finished on: 18.March.2014

Title : Just One Year (Just One Day, #2)
Author : Gayle Forman
Publisher : Definitions
Pages : 336 Pages
Year of Publication : 2013
Price : $ 11.37 (

Rating: 3.5/5
Review for Just One Day (Just One Day, #1) by Gayle Forman
"I'm beginning to think that I've talked myself into a lie of my own telling. Because the truth is I don't know here. All I know is that she's a girl who bears a passing resemblance to Louise Brooks. But what is that? The contours of a person, but really no more real that a fantasy projected onto a screen."
The story starts as Willem de Ruiter wakes up in a hospital, not knowing where he is or remembering what has happened to him. Then memories started to come back to him, little by little. He remembered about a black-haired girl who was waiting for him, a girl called Lulu. Unfortunately Lulu is not her real name, it's a name Willem gave her because she looks like Louise Brooks. With the little memory he has of Lulu, Willem started tracking back all the clues he had: starting from the double happiness sign that Lulu told him about. Though it seems the probability of finding Lulu again in Paris is close to none.

"But Wrong Lulu is right. Accident - how I found her. Accident - how I lost here. You have to give the universe credit, the way it even things out like that."
"See how funny life is," Bram used to say as the epilogue to their epic love story. "If the car hadn't broken down just there, or if she'd run out of money in Copenhagen, or if Daniel were the taller one, none of this might ever have happened."
But I knew what he was really saying was: Accidents. It's all about the accidents.
After he gave up about Paris, Willem returned to Amsterdam to take care of his family matters after since his father, Bram, was deceased. Willem's relationship with his mother, Yael, is distanced since then, and she moved to India to work. He's also reunited with his friend since he's eight, Broodje,  who definitely sees that something has happened to Willem. Broodje even suggested Willem to get laid so he could get over anything that's been on his mind - but nothing seems to work. Willem keeps imagining what happened to Lulu when he left her, and what she thought about him. After Willem spill everything to his friends about Lulu and that one day, they all started planning on how to find the so-called Lulu.

Willem remembered Lulu said she goes to Cancún every year for the holidays with her family; so he decided to get his passport, invite Broodje, buy the tickets and go find Lulu.Yet again, it's never easy finding a girl, without knowing her name, amongst all the girls in Cancún. At this point, Willem starts to lose hope and feels that he should just give up. If they're meant to meet again, he's sure things will fall into place. Along the way, Willem met a girl named Kate - who turns out to play an important role in Willem's life.
"Only now it strikes me how wrong I was. I didn't know her at all. And I didn't ask the simplest of questions, like where she stayed in Mexico or when she visited or what her last name was, or what her first name was. And as a result, here I am, at the mercy of security guards."
"The devastation caught me off guard. There's a difference between losing something you knew you had and losing something you discovered you had. One is a disappointment. The other is truly a loss."
While feeling lost, Willem decided to go to the place he avoided the most, which is India - where Yael is. Through misunderstandings and heartfelt emotions, Willem and his mother are able to tighten the family bonds that was once loose. At the end, his journey to find Lulu might not only be about finding her; but it also leads Willem to finding the path he's supposed to take and mend the broken parts of his life.
"Wouldn't you want to know?" Marina continues. "That in some little way, something random you did had such an impact on someone's life? What do they call that? The Butterfly Effect?"
"Something happened that day. It's still happening. It's happening up here on this stage. It was just one day and it's been just one year. But maybe one day is enough. Maybe one hour is enough. Maybe time has nothing at all to do with it."
image source: here. edited by me.
I have to say I am somewhat disappointed with the sequel of Just One Day - because as much as I love the first book, it seems I couldn't love this one the same way. A friend of mine who also read this book told me that the story should've just stopped at the first book; but I have to read this out of curiosity - because I need answers! Though it turns out the answer I needed does not exist in this book. Aside from the disappointments, I can never deny my love for Gayle Forman's writing - that makes me want to type out all the beautiful quotes in this book. My disappointment with this one won't make me avoid her books in the future, I'm actually waiting for the next one to be published. Just One Year still brings out the same topics in the story; talking about friendship, family bonds, and of course the never-ending talk about romance.
"And in this train station in London, I'd thought okay, maybe this was the meant to be: The universe, I knew, loved nothing more than balance, and here was a girl who wanted to go to Paris and here was me who wanted to go anywhere but back to Amsterdam."
The story is narrated by Willem de Ruiter - which I was totally excited about at first, because I was dying to know about Willem's personality in the first book. As for the plot itself, I was actually wondering what the story is trying to say as a sequel. The story starts off with Willem in the hospital, trying hard to find Lulu, but of course it all end in vain. And he keeps looking for Lulu - even though nothing significant happened. When he finally gave up on trying so hard looking for her, the story shifted to Willem and Yael's relationship. It's really nice to see the mother and son reconcile, but somehow it doesn't feel as heart-warming as I hoped it to be (?). I've seen better in Gayle Forman's other books. There's also part that talks about Willem's career as an actor, how he got casted in India and then getting to play Shakespeare in Amsterdam. I might have enjoyed it better if this book is not a sequel, but as I'm reading the book I keep questioning 'where is the answer I needed?' - so I guess that's why I couldn't really enjoy this book that well. What's worse is the ending! I'm not going to describe anything to avoid spoiler. (For those who are curious, you can message me personally, I'll gladly tell you ;)) I should just say that it leaves my mouth hanging open, like what the? I've been waiting for the continuation of that ending, and this is all I got? ㅠㅠ Aside from all my complaints though, there are still things I love about the book (which made me decide to give this book a 3.5/5 rating). I really like all the small talks Willem had with the new friends he made, especially Kate. It also made me think about accidents and will. Does something happen because of accident (fate?) or does it happen because of your own will? Those kind of conversations really made me think too :) I guess the main point of this book is to show how Willem's journey in finding Lulu actually turns his life around: including his reconciliation with Yael and his achievement in career - only then he gets to find her :3 *sorry, that was long.
"I wasn't going to find her. By looking." I shake my head. It's hard to explain this part. "It wasn't meant to be."
"Meant to be," Kate scoffs. "Excuse me but I'm having a hard time buying all this woo-woo stuff." She waves her arms in the air and I have to reach out for the steering wheel until she takes it again. "Nothing happens without intention, Willem. Nothing. This theory of yours - life is ruled by accidents - isn't that just one huge excuse for passivity?"
I was quite surprised how I didn't make Willem my favorite character in this book - because I was so excited about him when I read Just One Day. In this book, my favorite character has to be Kate; a girl who gave Willem a ride in Mexico who turns out to have a pretty important role in his career. She's a straight-forward and fun person, her comments on Willem is just what he needed. I also like Yael, Willem's mother, who doesn't openly shows her affection but doing all she can even when Willem is oblivious of the fact. I also like Broodje's character in this book, because I can totally see how much he care for Willem.
"At times I'd thought it was something like that - after all, I'd never been quite so strung out about a girl. But it's a funny thing because since that day with Lulu in Paris, I've reconnected with Broodje and the boys, I've visited my mother and have been talking to her again, and now I'm living with Uncle Daniel..... And just in general, I'm better. Better than I've been since Bram died, and in some ways, better than I was even before that. No, Lulu didn't break my heart. But I'm beginning to wonder if in some roundabout way, she fixed it."
So, even though I do have my disappointments (as I've stated earlier), I still managed to finish this book and enjoyed my read. I'm still looking forward to Gayle Forman's next work, because I still remember how I fell in love with her writing when I read If I Stay. For those of you who have read both books of the Just One Day duology, feel free to share how you feel about the sequel. Maybe it turns out you liked this sequel (unlike me), and I'd love to hear your opinions ;)

*Oh, I almost forgot to mention this because I rant so much. 
What a coincidence that I read this book exactly one year after I finished Just One Day last year (March 13th, 2013)? Is it... 'accidents'? ㅋㅋㅋ
"I should be elated. I should be relieved. But, weirdly, all I feel is let down. Because this matters to me now. And something tells me if it matters, maybe it shouldn't be easy."
*just me and my disappointments* ㅠㅠ

by.stefaniesugia♥ .


  1. I do agree with your friend that maybe Just One Day is enough telling ;)) #lol but well I also admit that Willem's POV will be quite a selling to make ^^
    ....ah, and I think I can prepare myself for the ending, and since I am not really planning to read Just One Year, so I would like to know the spoiler-ed ending if you don;t mind^^a where can i contact you via private pathways, unni?^^a here's my email

    I also noticed your blog's changing in design and its so neomu yeppo, unni^^

    Khairisa R. P

    1. I sent the spoiler to you! ;)
      Thank youu, I'm glad you like the change ^3^ Just followed your pretty blog too ;))


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