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I am an avid reader, educated and certified Pastry Chef, Proud USN submariner's wife, and mother to two of the greatest kids. Born in the south but living the good life in New England!

Review: Just One Year by Gayle Forman

Just One Year- Gayle Forman coverTitle: Just One Year (Just One Day, #2)
Author: 
Gayle Forman
Genre:
 Young Adult/Contemporary Romance
Publisher: 
 Dutton Juvenile (October 10, 2013)
Rating: 
 4.5 out of 5 

Synopsis:

After spending an amazing day and night together in Paris, Just One Year is Willem’s story, picking up where Just One Day ended. His story of their year of quiet longing and near misses is a perfect counterpoint to Allyson’s own as Willem undergoes a transformative journey, questioning his path, finding love, and ultimately, redefining himself.

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

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.

 

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Review:

Just One Year is the much anticipated sequel to Just One Day by Gayle Forman except this one doesn’t necessarily pick up right where the last one finished. It is imperative that anyone who’s interested in this story must read Just One Day first as they are written as parallel POV that take place over the same year all while taking on different paths and voices. Instead of having a novel with two points-of-view, each telling their side in increments, these two books work in tandem within the mind to give the reader the full shape of the story.

In Just One Year we are given Willem’s voice and eyes as he navigates the world on his own journey. It’s when his path crosses Allyson’s, and although it was brief, things happened that neither of them is prepared to handle. As with any instant love there is conflict and in this story the conflict isn’t completely between them; it’s the actions and life movements around them that causes most of the interferences. They spend one glorious day in Paris on a whim but what follows is anything but. Allyson is left with unanswered questions and Willem is left wondering what happened and how to get it back. This quagmire leaves the reader pining away for their worlds to right themselves and fix all that had been broken. This story has plenty of excitement and sigh-inducing love but it’s more about those life “accidents” that always leave behind the what ifs and those tenuous steps towards self-discovery and overall acceptance that propels it. Willem and Allyson come from completely different parts of the world and have very different families and lifestyles but somehow, when they are together, it just works between them and with each page turn you just hope they will see it too.

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.
I didn’t realize that before. I realize it now.

This story is also a journey. A wild journey around the world filled with doubt, solitude, but most of all, self-discovery. Willem, being a bit of a lost soul, travels immensely in this book and it’s seeing these locations and situation through his eyes that makes him so endearing. What I enjoyed most was that as a reader, I was not just a viewer; I was a travel mate along for each and every bump in the road. Willem goes from the beauty of Paris to the wondrous beauty of The Netherlands, to the sandy beaches of Mexico then to the eclectic streets of India and back. All along this journey he meets new people, reconnects with old friends and finds a bit of himself all while the driving force within him grows in the background. His need to find “home”, find “love” and find his “Lulu” becomes a secondary character and adds an emotional layer to the story that anyone can relate to. I will admit that I struggled to accept his family situation and his mother’s choices but by the end I understood why it was written the way it was.

Sometimes the wind blows you places you weren’t expecting; sometimes it blows you away from those places, too.

Another layer to this story, which surprised me most, was the silent but pivotal role Shakespeare’s work played. There was more of it in Just One Day however, seeing these plays and roles through Willem’s (and Allyson’s) eyes added a nuance and texture to the scenes that I wasn’t expecting. Each person sees what they want within Shakespeare’s work and its here that we see how a simple phrase from a long lost play can change a person’s perception and feeling and seep in to their lives. Even as a small part, Shakespeare still shines through and reaches the hearts of those who are open to it and the way it was delivered within this story was very nicely done.

I would whole-heartedly recommend these two books to friends and family looking for an all-consuming read. I had a terrible book hangover after devouring both of them back to back but I don’t regret a single missed minute of sleep or a single tear shed while immersed in this world.  Gayle Forman has just earned another fan.
amazonBarnes and noble

 

Gayle Forman author picAbout the Author:

Once upon a time, in a galaxy far, far away, I was a journalist who specialized in reporting on young people and social-justice issues. Which is a fancy way of saying I reported on all the ways that young people get treated like crap—and overcome! I started out working for Seventeen magazine, writing the kinds of articles that people (i.e. adults) never believe that Seventeen ran (on everything from child soldiers in Sierra Leone to migrant teen farm workers in the U.S.). Later on, I became a freelance journalist, writing for magazines like Details, Jane, Glamour, The Nation, Elle, Budget Travel, and Cosmopolitan.

In 2002, I went traveling for a year around the world with my husband, Nick. I spent time hanging out with some pretty interesting people, a third sex (we’d probably call them transvestites here) in Tonga, Tolkien-obsessed, role-playing punks in Kazakhstan (bonus points to those of you who can find Kazakhstan on a map), working class hip-hop stars in Tanzania. The result of that year was my first book, a travel memoir called You Can’t Get There From Here: A Year On the Fringes of a Shrinking World. You can read about my trip and see pictures of it here.

What do you do when you get back home after traveling the globe for a whole year? First, you get disproportionately excited by the little comforts in life: Not having to look at a map to get everywhere? Yay! Being able to drink coffee without getting dressed and schlepping to a café first? Bliss! Then, if you’re 32 years old and have been with your husband for evah, you have a kid. Which we did. Presto, Willa!

So, there I was. With a baby. And all of a sudden I couldn’t do the kind of gallivanty reporting I’d done before. Well, you know how they say in life when one door closes another opens? In my case, the door came clear off the frame. Because I discovered that I could take the most amazing journeys of my life without ever having to leave my desk. It was all in my head. In stories I could make up. And the people I wanted to take these fantastical journeys with, they all happened to be between the ages of 12 and 20. I don’t know why. These are just the people who beckon me. And I go where I’m told.

My first young-adult novel, Sisters in Sanity, was based on another one of those social justice articles I wrote when for Seventeen and you can click here to read the article. Sisters was published in 2007. My next book, If I Stay, was published in April of 2009 by Dutton. It is also being published in 30 countries around the world, which is surreal. The sequel/companion book to If I Stay, Where She Went, comes out in April 2011. I am currently working on a new YA novel, that is, when my kids (plural, after Willa we adopted Denbele from Ethiopia) allow me to. And after that book is finished, I’ll write another, and another….

Wow. This is crazy long. I suppose the short version of this bio could simply read: My name is Gayle Forman and I love to write young-adult novels. Because I do. So thank you for reading them. Because without you, it’d just be me. And the voices in my head.

Gayle Forman is an award-winning author and journalist whose articles have appeared in such publications as Jane, Seventeen, Glamour, Elle,and The New York Times Magazine, to name just a few. She lives in New York City with her husband and daughter.

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