I was drawn to this book after reading If I Stay and Where She Went. They were both amazing reads, with powerful characters and heart-wrenching moments. I knew immediately that I needed more of Gayle Forman’s work in my life.
Just One Day follows the story of Alison who is spending her summer between graduating and college travelling around Europe. She’s seen the cities, the monuments and experienced the cultures but hasn’t fully enjoyed the experience. When offered a unique opportunity in the space of one day she knows this is her chance to reinvent herself and become more adventurous.
This book is interesting in that it is split into two sections, ‘Just One Day’ and ‘Just One Year’ so half of the book is focused on this particular day where Alison meets someone and goes on an adventure to Paris, whilst the other half is spread out over the course of a year and focuses on the consequences of her day in Paris. It is a real play on the concept of time and I really enjoyed it, it was unique and charming and captured so many different aspects of the plot.
Although Alison is only in Paris for one day, she manages to take in so much which is interesting because that one day has a major affect on the next year of her life. Something which would otherwise seem so insignificant and only take up a little bit of time, it really shows how precious the smallest moment can be when life continues to go on.
I liked Alison as a character because not only are the readers taken on her adventures and experiences, they get an insight into her head and what she is thinking and feeling. Gayle Forman really captures Alisons feelings and for much of the novel I was sympathetic towards her, she grows in this novel and develops into a much stronger and independent character.
As she travels the book takes place in America and Europe, this again is a nice touch as it kept me intrigued in the plot to see where she was going next. I really didn’t expect the plot to take the turn that it did, despite Alison’s friends and family blatantly pointing out that it’s the only plausible thing that can happen. In a way it seems like a jolt at the reader too, almost like saying ‘wake up, how did you not see that coming?’ Either way it had me hooked until the very end because I desperately wanted to know what was going to happen.
The other characters in this book feature at numerous times and they are all from a different aspect of Alison’s life. I liked how the characters were introduced and how the readers gets to know them better further into the plot. I was so stuck between the pages of this book that when I had reached the end it was something I thought about for a few days afterwards. Not to mention it ended on a heart-wrenching cliffhanger making me pine after the second book for a few days.
There seems to be a recurring theme in the book that nothing is how it seems and the plot and the characters all seem to embody this. Each of the characters appear a certain way in the beginning and you’ll think you love them or hate them or just like them but by the middle of the book your opinion will have changed and same again for the end.
I really enjoyed this book and I am giving it a 4 out of 5 stars on goodreads. I desperately need to get my hands on the second book just to find out what happens. I would recommend this to any YA readers or fans of Gayle Forman but I know I’m a little late on the band wagon and many people have already read this, if not give it a go!