JUST ONE DAY (Just One Day #1) by Gayle Foreman
368 pages, hardcover
Available now (January 2013)
Review copy purchased
When sheltered American good girl Allyson flirt encounters laid-back Dutch actor Willem at an underground performance of Twelfth Night, there's an undeniable spark. So when fate brings them together a second time, Allyson takes an uncharacteristic leap, changes course, and follows Willem to Paris. After just one day together, the spark bursts into a flame...until Allyson wakes up after a whirlwind day shocked to discover that Willem is gone.
A life upended in one day turns into a year of self-discovery as Allyson embarks on a journey to break free from a lifetime of limits in order to find her true passions, and maybe even a true love.
Positive: The travel. Books that take their characters across continents and deep into unfamiliar cities always steal my heart. And make me want to travel. JUST ONE DAY follows Allyson's journey from London to Paris to the States back to Paris to Holland to Amsterdam. It's quite a trip, filled with intriguing characters, crepes, art, and plenty of walking.
Positive: Breaking out of your comfort zone, FTW. Allyson's always done what she's supposed to do. Heck, she's on a graduation trip across Europe, where she's legal, doesn't drink and doesn't sneak out after curfew. But this boy makes her think, makes her impulsive and helps her break out of her safe, little comfort zone. Every teenager should try something different, something that scares them and pushes them beyond their boundaries. Every *person* should do it. It's how we grow.
Positive: The romance, of sorts. Allyson and Willem flirt in the park but nothing comes of it. Until she runs into him again on the train and she's enchanted. Enchanted enough to follow him to Paris for just one day, despite her friend's shock and her fear. Willem teaches her how to be impulsive, to live in the moment. But, even as she opens up to him, she doesn't learn much about him. He holds himself close, revealing only tiny snippets. Still, she does fall into his arms rather easily probably due to the heady combination of freedom, Paris and a cute boy who's paying close attention to her.
Wish: Lose the funk. When it's all over and he's disappeared again from her life, she returns to her "real" life and her first year in college. Except she can't stop thinking about him and their one day. So she turtles up in her dorm room, sleeping and pretty much self-destructing. She alienates her roommates and her BFF. She tanks her GPA. She's in a ridiculous funk and she really just needs to snap out of it. Of course, there's more to it than just her puppy love. Parental pressures, college pressures and that brief taste of freedom all play a part in her school-year-long funk but still.
Overall: I couldn't put this book down, devouring it in one afternoon. Despite my annoyance that this girl could fall into such a self-destructive funk after one day with that dude, I enjoyed both her literal and figurative journey of self-discovery.
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