View from the window seat:
Sheltered good-girl Allyson Healey is on the supposed trip-of-a-lifetime in Europe. But when it doesn’t turn out as amazing as the brochure claimed, she takes a chance when a handsome Dutch actor named Willem asks her to come to Paris with him for one day. Allyson can’t deny the spark between them, and thinks he feels the same…until she wakes up after their whirlwind day in Paris to find him gone. Allyson spends the next year breaking free of the expectations of her friends and family and finally coming to terms with what she learned about herself in Paris.
I feel like I’ve melted into a pile of fangirlish goo after reading this book (quite the imagery, eh?). I think this is my favorite Gayle Forman book, which is saying a lot because I LOVED If I Stay. My main reason for my unabashed, obsessive love for this book? Allyson. Never before have I related so much to a character (the closest I can think of is Macy from The Truth About Forever). Allyson lives only within the confines of everyone else’s expectations of who she is and what she should do with her life, especially the expectations of her parents. She finally takes a chance when an accident spins her and Willem together and they travel to Paris for a day. When her trip ends badly, she spends the next year by first mourning the loss of the person she was when she was with Willem and then discovering that that person has always been there, waiting to break free. What starts as a happy accident turns into a powerful journey of self-discovery where Allyson sheds her uncertainties about where her life is headed and bravely goes into the world to find answers. It’s this journey of change that makes this book resonate with me so much. We’ve all been there before, unsure of ourselves and our futures. Gayle Forman manages to perfectly capture this uncertainty.
The romance, quite honestly, wasn’t what made this book amazing to me. The spark between Allyson and Willem is wild and passionate and freeing, but what I love so much about Just One Day is that ultimately the story isn’t about her almost-maybe-true-love. Their whirlwind romance is merely the catalyst for something greater in Allyson’s life, a change that maybe makes her more able to be in love with someone. She has to be herself before she can be with someone else. And that, my friend, is how romance is done.
Because I’ve already gushed like crazy, I’d like to share a few random thoughts that I had whilst reading:
1. WHO DOESN’T LIKE NUTELLA? I literally said this aloud and reread that line a few times, thinking I read it wrong. Allyson, girl, you need to get your priorities straight.
2. I desperately want to travel through Europe now.
3. Maybe I should try appreciating Shakespeare more.
4. I’ve never had a macaron before, and now I want one like crazy. Also, I want to try that butter and sprinkles sandwich Willem was eating.
5. TRAVEL TRAVEL TRAVEL TRAVEL.
Just One Day is a perfect story of self-discovery and love set against a backdrop of unique characters and beautiful cities.