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Magan: Just One Day by Gayle Forman

book cover for Just One Day by Gayle FormanJust One Day (Just One Day #1) by Gayle Forman
Publication Date: January 8, 2013
Publisher: Dutton Juvenile
Pages: 368
Target audience: Young Adult
Keywords: Paris, College, Life Experiences, Falling in Love
Format read: ARC borrowed from Anna at Anna Reads (Thanks, lady!)

Summary: Allyson is on “the trip of a lifetime” in Europe with her best friend, Melanie, after their high school graduation; after following all the rules throughout the trip, Allyson decides to be spontaneous and go to Paris for one day with Willem, an actor she meets in a Shakespeare play.

Tomorrow is a day all book readers need to rejoice, rush to the closest bookstore, purchase a copy of Just One Day, and read it in its entirety. I am not kidding, not in the least. This book is probably one of my very favorite books I’ve read … ever.

Forman took me by complete surprise with her previous books, If I Stay and Where She Went. There are moments I still reflect on scenes from those books and find myself daydreaming about the characters. It’s always a bit scary to read something new when an author leaves that kind of impression. Regardless, Jamie and Anna talked up Just One Day and graciously sent it my way.

Within the first few pages, the confused and very structured main character, Allyson, had struck a chord with me. Her life was controlled and micromanaged by overbearing parents who planned every second of her life. It’s not until the end of her tour in Europe that she realizes how little she’s explored because she was too afraid to do something not on the itinerary (meanwhile, her best friend, Melanie, has made new friends and semi-reinvented herself).

When the chance to go to Paris for a day with Willem (a boy she meets through a local production of a Shakespeare play) arises, she pushes her hesitations aside and chooses to be adventurous. Willem is funny, intelligent, good-looking, and has a wandering spirit that’s up for the challenge of showing Allyson the city. Allyson morphs into an alter-ego, Lulu, who is the bold and daring version of herself. The girl that’s brave and doesn’t need to have every moment pre-planned.

Forman’s writing is beautiful and perfect; her prose is spot on. Her descriptions are vivid — painting clear pictures of the places they went, the people they encountered, the sights they saw. Though I may have expected a “touristy” and overly romantic trek through Paris, what I received was so much more than that. Their stops felt very realistic and not overly idealized. I loved that I didn’t receive the postcard description of the city, but experienced two people discovering themselves in a foreign city in a very natural way. Nothing feels forced, cliched, or contrived.

Maybe you’re like me and you assumed that Just One Day would be mostly an epic love story. Forman’s themes are so strong, making me believe that her words could reach a vast audience.

+ JOD is about a pressured, sheltered girl with high demands being forced on her by her parents (Go to med school. Make something of yourself. Collect clocks. Wear these clothes.) and how she struggles to break free of the mold they’ve so tightly cast around her.

+ It’s about the separation and distance we face when we part from our childhood friends to chase new dreams. (How do you remain friends when it seems life is pulling you in two opposite directions?)

+ There’s the sense of change and wanting to chase after something new and different and acting on it, even though (or maybe especially because) everyone expects you to stay the same.

+ It’s about making friends as an adult and how different that can be than the judgmental ways of high school… and how our preconceived notions of someone can be so, so wrong.

There are no words to describe my love/adoration/infatuation for Just One Day. One day can change the course of your life. I wish I could purchase copies for every person on the planet because it has affected me that immensely.

I highly encourage you, friends, to go out tomorrow and purchase a copy of this book. Allow yourself to fall in love with Paris, to seek answers to all the questions surrounding Willem, and to grow and change with Allyson.

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September 18, 2013 - 8:00 am

Young Adult Book Review: Just One Year by Gayle Forman - […] One Year (Just One Day #2) by Gayle Forman Other Books Reviewed in This Series: Just One Day Publication Date: October 10, 2013 Publisher: Dutton Juvenile Pages: 336 Target Audience: Young […]

January 30, 2013 - 3:46 pm

Estelle's Shelve It: 1/20/2013 - […] Ditched: a Love Story by Robin Mellom The Sharp Time by Mary O’Connell Falling for You by Lisa Schroeder (Magan’s review) Just One Day by Gayle Forman (Magan’s review) […]

January 27, 2013 - 9:01 pm

Rather Be Reading Blog: Magan's Shelve It --> January 27, 2013 - […] Just One Day by Gayle Forman [Goodreads | Amazon | My Review] — Sooo, Gayle Forman is probably the coolest lady on the planet. No kidding. I LOVE HER. I […]

January 22, 2013 - 5:10 pm

Magan - Hannah, I’m so glad you bought it! I hope you LOVE IT. It’s really one that I paced myself going through because I couldn’t even think about it being over. I didn’t want it to end! Can’t wait to read your review! xo

January 21, 2013 - 4:28 pm

Hannah @ So Obsessed With - I totally bought it this week because I have yet to read one less than crazy about this book review. I don’t know if I’ll start it right away or give it a little time, but I’m excited either way. Sometimes I try to let a little time pass when I start hearing too many raves so that I’m not going into with crazy hyped expectations. Excited to read this one, lady! Great review 🙂

January 14, 2013 - 9:52 pm

Magan - Meagan! YAYYYY! I’m so, so excited for you! I hope you LOVE it with the same kinda passion I do! Enjoy!

January 14, 2013 - 4:46 pm

Meagan - Just ordered it on Kindle, can’t wait to dive in after this great review! Thanks!

January 14, 2013 - 12:35 pm

Asheley Tart (@BookwormAsheley) - I haven’t read a single non-gushing review about this book, so I feel pretty sure that I’ll love it to pieces and that it’ll make a pretty big impression. Also, look at that cover. How can it not?

But I think I want to wait a little while. I want to wait until I can read it without everyone else’s thoughts in my mind, so I can read it with a clean slate and make my own thoughts. Ya know? I’m SO GLAD you liked it though, because every person I trust just makes me more and more sure that it’ll be one that I need to buy rather than borrow. Great review, Magan!

January 14, 2013 - 11:55 am

Magan - Thanks, Tara! Writing this review was so hard because I wanted to word vomit and be like “OH EM GEE THIS IS JUST SO GOOD BUY IT.” Hahah!

January 13, 2013 - 9:09 pm

Tara - Dude, this review is SPECTACULAR! You captured the very essence of this book and gave it the justice it deserves. Is it time for Just One Year yet?!?!

January 13, 2013 - 12:02 am

Rather Be Reading Blog: Magan's January 13, 2012 Shelve It - […] + A short Saturday review of Never Girls #1: In a Blink by Kiki Thorpe + Big Kid’s Table: January 2013 Adult Fiction Picks + A review of Through the Ever Night by Veronica Rossi + A review of Anatomy of a Single Girl by Daria Snadowsky + A review of Just One Day by Gayle Forman […]

January 9, 2013 - 1:12 pm

Magan - Taylor! I hope you love it! (And I hope it gets to you soon!) ENJOY! 🙂

January 9, 2013 - 1:11 am

Taylor @ Reading is the Thing - Unfortunately my town doesn’t have a bookstore, so I pre-ordered this book months ago and it only shipped today. I’m absolutely DYING for it to get here. I’m glad you liked it so much, I have really high expectations after If I Stay and Where She Went. Great Review!

January 8, 2013 - 11:15 pm

Magan - Alexa — yay! I really, really hope you love it. I really, truly have no negatives. Nothing that didn’t sit well with me. <3 Enjoy!

January 8, 2013 - 2:10 pm

Alexa Y. - “Tomorrow is a day all book readers need to rejoice, rush to the closest bookstore, purchase a copy of Just One Day, and read it in its entirety. I am not kidding, not in the least. This book is probably one of my very favorite books I’ve read … ever.”

I may have subconsciously heeded your instructions, as I am now the proud owner of a copy of Just One Day. I’m looking forward to reading it because it sounds like just my type of book! The different things that you took from reading it all appeal to me, and I’m seriously just wishing I could leave my office already so I could start it.

January 8, 2013 - 12:15 pm

Magan - Lola — thanks! Hope you enjoy it!
Keertana — there just really isn’t a negative I could think of about this book. Really, I loved it ALL! ENJOY!
Aneeqah — GIRL! You need to read Where She Went! That one was my FAVE of those two. Purchase JOD soon! 🙂
Annie — there’s a world of amazing just waiting for you! Gayle’s books are AMAZING! Read them all!
Brittany — I am buying it today, too! I NEED it on my shelves!
Nikki — I liked your little pun! Ay! I hope you love this! And I hope it helps you reminisce. 🙂
Anna — Me too, girl, me too!
April — Oh girl! So flattered by all your compliments. Seriously – thanks! And yes! I think that’s why I resonated too. Even at 27, I’m still figuring out how to live my own life.
Janita– !!! READ MORE CONTEMPS! If anything, read more GAYLE FORMAN! haha
Leoni — I can’t wait for Just One Year either. Willem’s perspective? Heck yeah!
Ginger — thanks, love! This book was just AH! SOOOO good. Beyond good. Amazing! xoxo
Judith — Gayle’s writing does something to me too. It just takes me places & her writing is so vivid. I hope you enjoy every bit of JOD.
Rachel — oh, girl! There’s so, so much more. Be prepared!
Lori — thanks, lady! YES! I was so surprised by JOD. So. Freaking. Good.

January 8, 2013 - 3:02 am

Lola (Reading by Lamplight) - Fab review! Looking forward to reading this one! 🙂

January 7, 2013 - 8:41 pm

Keertana @ Ivy Book Bindings - I am SO happy you enjoyed this one! I can’t wait to read it and some of the negative reviews, with readers disappointed by the pace or by Willem and their lack of connection with him, really scared me, but I am thrilled to hear that it’s every bit as perfect as I hoped and imagined! 🙂 I cannot WAIT for it to arrive at my doorstep soon! Wonderful review!

January 7, 2013 - 8:24 pm

Aneeqah @ My Not So Real Life - Wow, I’m glad you were able to enjoy this one so much! So far, I’ve only read If I Stay by Gayle Forman, but that book alone convinces me that her writing style is absolutely superb. Based on all your excitement for this book that you have, I’m totally going to be picking up Just One Day! It sounds totally emotional, and I can’t wait to see what adventure Ms. Forman has planned for us next.

Fabulous review Magan! <3

January 7, 2013 - 6:34 pm

Annie - I’ve never read anything by Gayle before but I’ve heard so much about this book! I actually did not know what it was about until today, when I read your review! It sounds awesome, and I can’t wait for it to come out! I’m sure it’s amazing!

January 7, 2013 - 3:37 pm

Brittany @ The Book Addict's Guide - I absolutely love Gayle and this one did not disappoint in the least!!! I borrowed the ARC but I am buying this as soon as I possibly can! <3

January 7, 2013 - 1:14 pm

Nikki @ Foil the Plot - Everyone has been shouting rejoices from the rooftops about this book and I want to read it sooooo badly! I’m really happy that I only have to wait, like, one more day (get it!?)!

But seriously, the whole plot reminds me vaguely of a personal experience some years ago so I have a feeling this book will resonate with me in a very real way. I’m stoked!

January 7, 2013 - 12:46 pm

Anna - I LOVE BOOKS!

January 7, 2013 - 11:07 am

April Books & Wine - Nailed it.

Seriously, you perfectly described why Just One Day is such an amazing book and I love, love love that.

Also?

“There’s the sense of change and wanting to chase after something new and different and acting on it, even though (or maybe especially because) everyone expects you to stay the same” This is one of the reasons why Just One Day really resonated with me, because that’s kind of what I’ve been experiencing lately in my real life.

January 7, 2013 - 10:19 am

Janita @ Book, Interrupted - I don’t read a lot of contemporary, but I’ve heard that If I Stay was excellent. Gotta but that on my TBR pile 🙂 Awesome review

January 7, 2013 - 9:41 am

Leoni - Great review and this book has also become one of my favourites! I loved this book and can’t wait for Just One Year!

January 7, 2013 - 9:37 am

Ginger @ GReads! - Oh my, this review is lovely Magan. You captured exactly what made this novel so what it is. I adored the self discovery Allyson endured, but I also loved that it wasn’t something easy and perfectly tied up with a bow on top. It felt REAL.

January 7, 2013 - 9:27 am

Judith - Beautifully written! Reading your review made me even more excited for this book, and I really can’t wait to get my hands on a copy! Gayle Forman’s writing just does something to me, and I’m glad there’s more to this book than ‘just’ romance. So excited for this 🙂

January 7, 2013 - 9:02 am

Rachel - I really love your review! I’m looking forward to reading this book. I definitely assumed it was going to be a love story, so I’m glad there are other themes in it as well.

January 7, 2013 - 7:15 am

Lori - I LOVE this review! You said it so much better than I could. I went into it expecting a love story as well, but we got so much more!

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