Book Review: Just One Year by Gayle Forman

Title – Author: Just One Year – Gayle Forman
Publisher: Dutton Juvenile
Release Date: October 10, 2013
Series/Standalone: Duet – Just One Day #2
Format – Source: ARC – Borrowed

Just One Year chronicles Willem’s story after his amazing day in Paris with Allyson.

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I went crazy for Just One Day, gushing like a loon in my review. It’s my favorite Gayle Forman book for sure, so I obviously couldn’t wait to get my hands on Just One Year to find out Willem’s half of the story.

I had the weirdest reading experience with this book. I started off reading so quickly because I couldn’t believe I was finally going to find out what happened to Willem. But as I was reading, I just wasn’t clicking with the book. I loved Willem’s friends, I loved the places he went to (as I did in the first book…Gayle Forman sure knows how to capture the magic of travel), and I loved the complexities of his relationship with his mother. I just didn’t have the same connection that I had with Allyson. I immediately understood her in a way that rarely happens with characters for me. I saw myself in Allyson and her doubts and fears. Willem was like an alien, an entity I had nothing in common with and who acted in ways I never would. I missed Allyson.

But I kept reading because Gayle Forman books are compulsively readable and because as a fan, I had faith that I would make that connection somehow. But the ending was approaching and it wasn’t happening and I was panicking because what had the world come to where I didn’t immediately love a Gayle Forman book?!

And then there it was. A few sentences and I got it. Everything that Willem had done and felt I suddenly understood. It all clicked into place in my mind and I just had to put the book down for a moment to take it all in. Those sentences were these:

I understood then, Lulu and I had started something, something I’d always wanted, but also something I was scared of getting. Something I wanted more of. And, also, something I wanted to get away from. The truth and its opposite.

Because I too have been so scared of something that I pulled away but at the same time was filled with wanting. I know that tugging, those oppositional forces that make you run, make you uncertain, make you rebel against the best thing for you. Finally, I was stained by Willem. 

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Just One Year is a transformative journey about understanding what you want and finding the will to go after it.

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9 – seriously great – Sirius Black



One thought on “Book Review: Just One Year by Gayle Forman

  1. I’m so excited about this book! But I’m also afraid because I loved If I stay and then was disappointed by Where She Went. I really really hope this doesn’t happen again.
    Maybe it will be the opposite for me with Just One Year of how it was for you. I couldn’t connect to Allyson right away and always craved for Willem’s thoughts while reading Just One Day 😀

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