Title: Just One Day
Author: Gayle Forman
Published by: Speak
Publication date: 20th August 2013
Genres: Young Adult, Contemporary, Fiction, Romance, Travel
Just One Day follows Allyson Healey on a spur of the moment adventure with a Dutch actor named Willem whom she’s only just met on the train. Her entire life she has been orderly, tactical and precise. Then, on that train, on her final day of her European tour, she accepts Willem’s offer to spend a day in Paris with him.
While Willem is a wonderful and realistic character, I sometimes had trouble getting past the fact that Allyson had agreed to join him for a day in a totally different country to where she was supposed to be. She seemed like such an uptight character to me and yeah, I know even the most ‘stick to the plan’ people can detour away from their organized lives sometimes, but I couldn’t just nod my head and say, ‘Yes, this is totally something Allyson would do’.
My favorite part of this book was the writing and the world building. I felt like I was right there with Allyson and Willem on the cobbled streets, surrounded by blossoming flowers and a myriad of scents coming from different cafes and restaurants. The descriptions of everywhere they went and everything they saw were so detailed and were directed at all of my senses.
I enjoyed reading this book, but thinking back on it two years after reading it, it’s not incredibly realistic and reminds me of the movie Before Sunrise (1995). Besides the obvious setbacks, I do like the visual aspect of it and the interactions between Allyson and Willem. It’s a good book, good enough that I excitedly bought the sequel to find out what happens next, but it’s not life changing. I still think about it sometimes, but only of the beautiful way Forman describes each setting. I haven’t come across many books that can drag me into a different world so easily and keep me wrapped up in its pages.