Friday, September 19, 2014
Review: Just One Year
Author: Gayle Forman
Published: October 13, 2013
Hardcover, 336 pages
4 Gold Stars
(summary from Goodreads)
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.
I had really high hopes for this book. Just One Day was sweet and romantic. A girl who never diverts from the path goes out on a limb and travels to Paris, meeting a gorgeous guy on a train and falling into a trip that remains with her for a long time. They spend one night together, a night neither will forget, but when she wakes in the morning he is nowhere to be found. Devastated, she tries to find him, going all over Paris and even to Amsterdam. With no luck and no time left, she leaves, feeling bent and broken. While Allyson is looking for Willem, he too is looking for her and this is his story. He travels all over the world looking for her. We know they do not see each other for a year. We know there will be no connections made throughout the novel. But even though I knew this, I kept hoping they'd see each other, or that at least at the end, when they do find each other, we'd have more time to bask in the glory of their love. I was left hanging, still hoping for more, after going through 300 pages of anticipation for them to be together.
Forman is a beautiful writer. Willem's adventures were fun, although I was bored sometimes during the story. I think it's because it's a companion piece and you know when the important parts will happen. I wasn't as invested with Willem as I was with Allyson and I kept wanting more but didn't get it. I'm reminded of Where She Went, Adam's point of view after the events from If I Stay. I think I would have enjoyed a story like that more, something that doesn't coincide with the first novel. I understand why it was a companion piece, I understand wanting to show his side of the story so that we know he didn't just leave her, but I also really wanted to know what happened after they found each other. I think that's my biggest complaint.
The adventure was fun. I loved exploring the world with Willem. We see Amsterdam, where he reunites with old family members. We see Mexico and India, where he reconnects with his estranged mother who he doesn't get along with. He spends a lot of time there repairing the relationship. There were some really good moments and the thoughts Willem feels about Allyson were sweet and I wanted them to be together so badly. It's worth a read for those who enjoyed the first book and those who like a good travel read.
"There's a different between losing something you knew you had and losing something you discovered you had. One is a disappointment. The other eels like losing a piece of yourself."
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