Re-read: Just One Day (Just One Day #1) – Gayle Forman

Re-read: 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
Source: Anderson's Bookshop
Genres: Contemporary, Contemporary, New Adult, Young Adult
Find it on the web: Buy from Amazon // GoodreadsDate Completed: October 2, 2013
Related Posts: If I Stay (If I Stay #1), Where She Went (If I Stay #2), Just One Day (Just One Day #1), Sisters in Sanity, If I Stay (If I Stay #1), Where She Went (If I Stay #2), 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!


Pretty much ever since I finished JUST ONE DAY, I had been dying for a re-read. Between this book and IF I STAY/WHERE SHE WENT, it was really the reason I started the Gayle Forman Read Along — I needed a good, solid reason to re-read when I was drowning in books I still haven’t read. Ever since I first finished JUST ONE DAY back in December of last year, I felt like I NEEDED to read it again. I had connected with it so much the first time around but I needed to reach out and make that connection again. I needed to fall in love and get heartbroken all over again. I needed to remember what was so special about this book for me.

I think one of the most interesting things about re-reading this book was that it was RIGHT after I had met Gayle Forman. (I died. I was SO nervous.) I was actually a bit thrown off by her speech at the Anderson’s YA Lit conference because she talked about JUST ONE DAY and JUST ONE YEAR more as Allyson and Willem’s journeys of finding and discovering themselves more than any part of this romance and I was like, “WHAT!? Gayle, you’re crazy! These are hands down love stories.” (Okay, I didn’t actually say that.) Obviously they’re still love stories and hi, I swoon. I melt. But hearing that from Gayle and then re-reading JUST ONE DAY (which I had actually just started before that conference) had totally changed how I viewed this book — in a good way.

I’m just going to come out and say it: I’m a review buffer. I knew I loved Gayle Forman and I knew I did love reading JUST ONE DAY… But… I don’t think I knew exactly WHY I was giving it five stars my first read around except for the fact that I wanted to. I knew I felt a connection, but I didn’t exactly know specifically why other than the fact that I knew I was going to love it. The magic of re-reading JUST ONE DAY opened my eyes to everything that I wasn’t sure of the first time around. I knew that JOD was not only about Allyson & Willem but also about Allyson’s self-discovery and that was just SO much more apparent to me this time around. Allyson didn’t just fall into a depression after her Europe trip because of Willem — she missed that part of herself that was free and independent and fulfilling. I think I passed up a lot of those moments when I first read this book because I was looking for a heart-breaking romance and I missed one of the main points of the book.

I also really got to appreciate all of the Shakespeare references and allusions so much more. Not like I’ve brushed up on my Shakespeare since my last read, but I think that re-reading, I was less anxious to get to the end and see what happens (since I already knew), so I got to really take my time and drink up every single word on the page. I read into the Shakespeare ties and saw exactly how much these plays paralleled what was going on in Allyson’s life as well. There were so many underlying themes that I appreciated so much more the second time around and I was kind of fascinated how closely the book followed these themes in the selected Shakespeare plays!

JUST ONE DAY was exactly what I needed before I started the much-anticipated JUST ONE YEAR. It also rekindled my thirst to write for which I cannot thank Gayle enough. Her writing is truly an inspiration to me and on a personal note, it’s made my WIP feel like a real book for the first time when before it was just random paragraphs that had little cohesiveness. It was such a pleasure to read this book again and create an even deeper connection than I had before!


Allyson/”Lulu” // Character Obsessions: Time, responsibility… Paris, Lulu.
I absolutely connected with Allyson during my first read but I made such a deeper connection with her this time around. I had totally identified with her in regards to meeting, falling in love with, and then losing Willem, but I got to experience her personal journey of self-transformation so much more in my re-read. I ended up feeling so proud of the changes she made to her own life to finally make herself happy instead of trying to be the “good girl” and please everyone else. It’s something I STILL struggle with in my own life so it was really great to see her character make this sort of full transformation.
Willem De Ruiter // Character Obsessions: Lulu, ladies, traveling, being a free spirit.  
I probably shouldn’t have liked Willem as much as I did the first time around because even though Allyson may have been the tiniest bit paranoid, she really wasn’t that far off. Willem has a lot of ladies. Of course, none of them were the connection he had with Allyson, but even still, he was kind of a ladies’ man and/or player soooo. There’s that. But I think I always knew that Allyson was the catalyst that started his change as well, even though we didn’t really know Willem in JUST ONE DAY since we only had Allyson’s side of the story. I think I just had a lot of hope for him and I could feel that he was changing with her just as she was changing with him.

Kept Me Hooked On: Shakespeare. I still haven’t read much Shakespeare (okay, I haven’t read ANY since high school), but I loved the way it blended into this book. Allyson’s life sort of parallels those themes from As You Like It and select other plays and it really make Shakespeare more accessible to me. It made me WANT to read these plays. There was a statement somewhere in the book about transcending from the words to the feelings in the plays and when you make that emotional connection, you sort of gloss over the language and it all becomes accessible and I’ve always been so held up by the language and technicality of it that I was afraid to go back and try again. I think I’d really like to try to read As You Like It now that I know more about it from JUST ONE DAY and see if I can make that connection as well.
Left Me Wanting More: Of Willem’s story, obviously. I quickly resolved that by reading JUST ONE YEAR, of course, but honestly, when I first read JUST ONE DAY, I did rate it five stars but still felt the tiniest bit of SOMETHING missing. Re-reading it, I felt like I really connected on all levels and it just made me fall in love with it in so many more ways than I already had.

Addiction Rating

If you’re already read JUST ONE DAY, I highly suggest re-reading this one. I think going back through it helped me pick up so much more of those underlying themes and “missed connections”, if you will. If you haven’t read it yet, I really suggest it! (Clearly!)

book_recommendations1BOOKS LIKE JUST ONE DAY

(Click the cover to see my review!)

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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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3 thoughts on “Re-read: Just One Day (Just One Day #1) – Gayle Forman

  1. Alexa Y.

    It makes me so very happy that your re-read made you fall in love with Just One Day in a completely different way! For me, the transformation was actually the first thing about the book that I found completely relatable, so I’m happy it hit you the same way it did for me. It’s great that the story has inspired you to write (!!!) and read some Shakespeare (which I am always totally up for if you want to do it!) too.

  2. Stormy

    It’s so interesting to see how your thoughts sort of change during a re-read–very positively, in this case. Just One Day has been sitting on my shelf FOREVER but I think you’ve finally convinced me to pick it up soon! I’ve heard mixed things about Just One Year though, so to say I’m nervous would be an understatement.

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