Just One Day (Just One Day #1) – Gayle Forman

Just One Day (Just One Day #1) – Gayle FormanTitle: Just One Day (Just One Day #1) by Gayle Forman
Publishing Info: January 8, 2013 by Penguin
Genres: Contemporary, Contemporary, New Adult, Young Adult
Find it on the web: Buy from Amazon // GoodreadsDate Completed: December 9, 2012
Related Posts: If I Stay (If I Stay #1), Where She Went (If I Stay #2), Sisters in Sanity, If I Stay (If I Stay #1), Where She Went (If I Stay #2), Just One Day (Just One Day #1), Just One Night (Just One Day #2.5), I Was Here, Leave Me, I Have Lost My Way

Allyson Healey's life is exactly like her suitcase—packed, planned, ordered. Then on the last day of her three-week post-graduation European tour, she meets Willem. A free-spirited, roving actor, Willem is everything she’s not, and when he invites her to abandon her plans and come to Paris with him, Allyson says yes. This uncharacteristic decision leads to a day of risk and romance, liberation and intimacy: 24 hours that will transform Allyson’s life. A book about love, heartbreak, travel, identity, and the “accidents” of fate, Just One Day shows us how sometimes in order to get found, you first have to get lost. . . and how often the people we are seeking are much closer than we know. The first in a sweepingly romantic duet of novels. Willem’s story—Just One Year—is coming soon!


Given it’s Gayle Forman, I don’t think it would have been possible for me to give it any less than five stars regardless, but JUST ONE DAY truly deserves it and earned a special place in my heart, as all Gayle’s books do. It was definitely an emotional roller coaster and even though nothing close to the events that play out in the book have happened to me, then sentiment is just the same: falling in love, doubting how fast those feelings come on, fear of rejection, being rejected, and the quest to find the answers WHY. I can honestly say I’ve been through those exact situations and felt those feelings far too many times in my own teen/college years and I was right there with Allyson as she fell in love and then felt her heart break over and over again. I don’t know what more to say about the book except that I hope whoever reads this feels the same way I did – Totally invested, totally connected with the characters. I think if you’ve ever felt that way in a relationship (or non-relationship in some cases) that I think you’ll easily fall right into step with the characters that Gayle Forman creates.

It’s also further proof that I can actually read books set in foreign countries. Clearly before the select contemporary romances that I had read this year, I was not reading the right books. I’ve never been to Europe, but through the beautiful writing of Gayle Forman and several other contemporary writers, I’ve never felt more at home in Paris, London, Amsterdam, and various other sections of Europe. To me, that really says a lot, and I think the reason why is that I wasn’t just getting descriptions of events that happened here and there – It was an emotional connection to that canal, that house, that park that made it feel like a place I could see myself. I have a tendency to tie places back to feelings and that was something that was expertly written in Just One Day.

Of course I recommend it to anyone and everyone. I’ll recommend Gayle’s books to people until the end of time and there’s something so timeless about not only her writing but the way she writes her characters. I feel like even in 10 years when new generations pick up her books, they won’t feel dated. I’m sure some minute details like the technology of whatever cell phones turn into in 10 years may be outdated, but only slightly so because the focus is almost entirely on the feelings that Allyson experiences and the universal message that she not only learns for herself, but that the readers can pick up about their own lives as well.

And the end – AH! I feel like I’ll definitely read this book a few times before I can get my hands on Willem’s side of the story. I know it may feel like a long way from now, but maybe like the characters, I can wait JUST ONE YEAR.


Allyson/Lulu: What I loved so much about JUST ONE DAY is that we see Allyson go through this incredible personal transformation and realization that her life isn’t what she wants it to be, all stemming from the adventure and whirlwind romance she had with Willem in Paris. Going one step further, I absolutely, positively loved that she had a perfectly normal life — not affected by an accident, a disease, a death — and it’s like the whole Paris experience with Willem allowed her to see that her perfectly normal life really wasn’t hers at all. It was a ghost of her mother’s life, her friend’s life, all fitted together like perfect pieces of a puzzle so that until she stepped back and looked at the puzzle as a whole, she couldn’t tell how broken and fragmented it really was (wow, maybe I should be writing my own novel here haha). I just loved that we got this amazing story out of what seemed so ordinary and entirely relatable.
Allyson was also extremely relatable to me in the sense that she’s not sure how she really feels about Willem. Did she fall in love with him? Is it even possible to love someone, to miss someone, to care about them that much after one day? I’ve felt that way many times myself with unrequited crushes and after things turn south, I started to question all my feelings. How real could they have been if they didn’t seem to be reciprocated? Was I making a big deal out of nothing? Was I being over-dramatic and romanticizing everything that happened or were my feelings actually justified? These are all the questions that Allyson agonizes over and I was right there with her. Gayle Forman did a fantastic job of allowing the readers to experience all of these emotions with Allyson as she tries to figure out what’s real and what was just an act.
Willem: Willem is definitely an enigma throughout the book and as painful as it was to witness, I loved that I didn’t really get a clear picture of him, as seen through Allyson’s eyes. It’s true of any guy, really. You’d like to think you know what their best intentions are, how they feel about you, but there’s always that lingering doubt. The attraction between Willem and Allyson is obviously real and they had a very real series of moments in Paris, but when that’s gone, the doubt sets back in but the readers are still left with the pull back to Paris, left wanting to believe that it was all real. I wanted to believe that Willem really did have good intentions with Allyson, but situation after situation pops up and the readers are left with a tangled mess of head versus heart. When it comes down to it, his flaws are what make him a truly believable character and really drive the story. 


Please note all quotes are from the ARC of Just One Day. Exact wording and page numbers subject to change. 

p85: “‘I think you’re the sort of person who finds money on the ground and waves it in the air and asks if anyone has lost it. I think you cry in movies that aren’t even sad because you have a soft heart, though you don’t let it show. I think you do things that scare you, and that makes you braver than those adrenaline junkies who bungee-jump off bridges.'”

p89: “‘Did you just quote Shakespeare to a cop?’ I asked.”

p104-105: “There’s such a delicious surrender in the words, and I feel myself slipping away to him. Some small part of me warns against this. This is just one day. I am just one girl. But the part that can resists, that would resist, I woke up finally liberated of her.”

p125: “He said that earlier, about accidents, about never know which one is just a kink in the road and which one is a fork, about never knowing your life is changing until it’s already happened.”

p130: “Another day. That’s all I’m asking. Just one more day. I can’t think beyond that. Beyond that, things get complicated.”


Buy it… ASAP!

Wow, I just LOVED this book and totally connected with it. Gayle Forman totally knocked this one out of the park (again)!



Obviously, if you haven’t read Gayle Forman’s first duet of contemporary novels, IF I STAY and WHERE SHE WENT, PLEASE GO READ THOSE NOW (my SUPER old reviews are linked up to the covers above). They’re what first led me to fall in love with not only Gayle’s works, but contemporary romance in general.

Hi, I'm Brittany!
Hi, I'm Brittany!

I'm an avid reader, candle-maker, and audiobook lover! Here you'll find book reviews, fun blog posts, and my other loves of photography & craft beer!

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17 thoughts on “Just One Day (Just One Day #1) – Gayle Forman

  1. Melissa @ Harley Bear Book Blog

    I’ve heard so many good things about this book! And your review makes me want to read it even more. I love that it’s set in Europe. And I think this would be the one time I enjoyed instalove in a book lol. I’m glad the characters are easily connetable lol does that make sense? I can’t wait to read this now. Great review!

  2. Dee

    I’m soo jealous you have read this already – I requested it through Edelweiss and got turned down – can’t wait to read it when it is released

      1. Dee

        i’ve had pretty good luck recently with ARC’s through them – more so than NetGalley – but this was like one of the first ones I requested

  3. Kelsey

    I’m hoping to get the other books by this author for Christmas, and I will definitely be getting a copy of this book as soon as I can! I keep hearing so many good things about what he writes, I’m glad you liked it so much!

  4. LilysBookBlog

    Great Review! I’m dying to read it! Gayle has that unique ability to make me cry like a baby whenever i read her books no matter how many times i’ve read them before!
    I have no doubt I’m going to be going through a whole kleenex box when i read this

  5. Livvy @Nerdy Book Reviews

    I think it’s clear I need to read a Gayle Forman book even if contemporary isn’t entirely my scene, this book sounds really good.
    I’ve been on the fence about Sea of Tranquillity so I’ll have to think about that one too since you placed it as a recommendation too.
    Great review, this book has entirely been sold to me.

    1. Brittany

      Great! I really, really hope you enjoy them!!! Both Gayle’s books and The Sea of Tranquility are highly character driven and very emotional! I’d say with Gayle Forman’s works, it’s a great combination of both very stong and beautifully written positive and negative emotions that really tug at your heart strings.
      I really hope you enjoy them! I can’t wait to hear what you think.

      1. Livvy @Nerdy Book Reviews

        Well they definitely sound good, so I’ve been pushed to giving them a chance!!
        Thanks for the recs.

  6. tigerlilyrachel

    Oh my gosh, this sounds beautiful! I’m always worried about reading contemporary romance (as you know haha), but this sounds like it has the emotional depth that I love. I’ve had those exact feelings that Allyson has and it would be awesome to see how other people deal with them. AHHH, I can’t wait to read this!

    1. Brittany

      It definitely has a lot of depth and is very character driven! This is more of a serious, emotion-filled read and not a light and fluffy rom-com. I loved it <3333

  7. DEBtastic Reads!

    I didn’t read your review because I’m one of those ppl who doesn’t want to know more than just a line or two about a book she really wants to read. 😉 But I’ve bookmarked this post to return to after I read this book! 🙂

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