Just One Year – Gayle Forman

Synopsis

Just One Day. Just One Year. Just One Read.

Before you find out how their story ends, remember how it began….

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.

Review

This book is not just one anything — it’s about everything. Gayle Forman knows how to express emotions with such commanding authority, and I leave feeling as if I’ve woken up from a dream. Forman’s writing is breathtakingly poetic.

This is a book about coincidences. It’s about fate. I had to flip through Just One Day to refresh my mind before reading this book, and I’m glad I did. There were so many glimpses, so many moments of what could have been, but wasn’t. So many missed opportunities, from connecting with Patricia Foley to the unseen postcards. I’m glad I got this other perspective, because it showed that these two people were searching for each other all this time. It was crazy to think how often being at certain places at certain times made all the difference. It was amazing to think how much of his life was influenced by his decisions to take the wheel or to let go of his opportunities.

This book is about love. Perhaps it took more than a little suspension of disbelief to think one day could make such an impact on both these individuals; that they never really gave up. But I loved how Forman paired this with Willem’s parents’ love story, making it so much more familiar and grounded. Love is a strange thing, and it can creep up when you least expect it.

This book is about discovery. Self-discovery, and discovery of worlds unknown. I loved following Willem on his travels, even though he stopped gallivanting around Europe and instead was searching for home. Paris was reminiscent. Mexico was vibrant. India was alive. And Holland was home — although perhaps only for a certain time in his life. Really, theatre was his community, and I loved seeing him go back to acting (in various forms: putting on a mask in real life, acting in Bollywood, and taking hold of Shakespeare).

I kind of wished this book had picked up from where the other one left off. A bit of it felt redundant, because I was reading the same story from the other side of the coin. I’m glad Kate was explained, but I wish there was some insight on the mysterious Wren in the previous book. Knowing Willem’s future plans, I rest assured that Willem and Allyson will find their double happiness together — but I wish I got to see some of it rather than the journey towards their reconciliation for a second time.

Related Reading

  • Just One Day – Gayle Forman
  • If I Stay & Where She Went (duo) – Gayle Forman
  • Wanderlove – Kirsten Hubbard
  • When You Were Here – Daisy Whitney

Rating: 4/5 

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