“We are born in one day. We die in one day. We can change in one day. And we can fall in love in one day. Anything can happen in just one day.”
Just One Day by Gayle Forman was my favorite contemporary novel for 2013, and the sequel Just One Year was just as amazing. But for those who have read it you will know the end of JOY was still left hanging kind of. It was still perfect. But I'm pretty sure everyone had questions. What happened to Willem and Allyson? So imagine my hysterical excitement when Gayle announced a novella to answer all the questions readers had, describing the events after the last page of the book. It came out on May 29th, and again Gayle Forman achieved perfection. So in celebration of the release of Just One Night here are 5 reasons why you should read this series:
1 - The travel
“Travelling's not something you're good at. It's something you do. Like breathing. You can't work too much at it, or it feels like work. You have to surrender yourself to the chaos. To the accidents.”
Paris. Amsterdam. India. Mexico. The travel in this series is insane. And makes the series seem magical but also real at the same time. Willem talks about accidents in travel, and says that is what makes travel so wonderful. I love how it's such a real way to look at it. Allyson doesn't even like her trip in Europe until she goes to Paris. And when she goes back she has work hard to get there. Travel in this book isn't presented as a shiny Contiki brochure, but shows real life issues, such as being restrained by money, getting lost and not loving everywhere you go. But it also shows how travel can not only be the worst days of your life but the best. When Allyson arrives in Paris, she immediately loves it. Gayle really captures the idea of finding a place and feeling at home, and wanting to explore every inch. If these books doesn't make you want to travel the world, I'm not sure what will.
2 - The emotions
“...being Lulu, it made me realize that all my life I've been living in a small, square room, with no windows and no doors. And I was fine. I was happy, even. I thought. Then someone came along and showed me there was a door in the room. One that I'd never even seen before. Then he opened it for me. Held my hand as I walked through it. And for one perfect day, I was on the other side. I was somewhere else. Someone else. And then he was gone, and I was thrown back into my little room. And now, no matter what I do, I can't seem to find that door.
I'm a crier, so this wasn't a surprise but the sheer build up of emotion in this book was so incredible, I cried through the whole second half of Just One Day. Allyson was going through such intense emotional journey. And again, Gayle Forman really captures the realness of life. Allyson's struggles at college are ones that everyone goes through, and something I definitely related to. Her relationship with her parents evoked so much anger in me, I wanted to slap them back into reality (metaphorically, I'm not a violent person). And I love how this wasn't a book about how the boy saved the girl. However much Allyson was effected by Willem (I guess it woke her up a bit), she had to save herself. And this emotional journey she went through was one of the most beautifully written ones I've read, her character development was incredible. We see this with Willem, as over the year he becomes the person he needs to be for the events of Just One Night to happen. His relationship with his parents, though different to Allysons, is important to the storyline. And above all the feels of Allyson and Willem - what a romance. But I will get to that.
3 - The realness
“He showed me how to get lost, and then I showed myself how to get found.”
I read JOD in one night, because I couldn't put it down until I found out what happened. One of the main reasons I think I just coudln't put it down was because Gayle Forman writes this book with such raw emotions, that despite events that seem unlikely, just make the book seem real. Both Willem and Allyson's have to find out who they are during each book. Neither of them realised that they were lost until they met each other. I think this is also something that happens in real life, there are people who you meet and tell you things about yourself that you never knew but are true. It's hard to explain but this books weaves a sense of emotions that hit you with how real they seem.
4 - The romance
“Loving someone is such an inherently dangerous act. And yet, love, that’s where safety lives.”
Meeting the love of your life in Paris. Clearly the best way to do romance. But it's more than just that. Willem's metaphor of being stained, of staying in love is unique and amazing way to describe the action of love. Gayle Forman creates such great loves in her novels, and Willem and Allyson (despite the seemingly impossible circumstances) was one that I loved reading. And I love how Willem has to go on a journey (metaphorical) to realise that he loves Allyson. At first when reading Just One Year I was annoyed that Willem seemed unworthy of Allyson's love. But I came to realise he actually is, he just isn't ready to realise that. And of course Allyson changes so much too, she becomes a stronger person that can have hope for love (sounds really cliche, but seriously read the books, they are amazing. I am just distorting them because I can't give them enough credit).
5 - The perfection of a two book (and one novella) series.“Can you move on from something when you're not sure what it is you're moving on from?”
I literally couldn't love this series anymore. And one thing I think that is really cool, that amongst so many trilogies and four, five, six book series etc. that Gayle Forman writes two books and in doing so killed me emotionally while I was reading it. She very cleverly uses the aspect of time in the way she writes, and hence the two books are aligned perfectly. I love the idea of the two book series after her first series (If I Stay and Where She Went, also fantastic books!) and these books were even better in my opinion. Although many were frustrated by the end of Just One Year, I though it was a very appropriate ending. Of course I still had questions and wanted to know what happened. So a lot of freaking out happened when she announced the novella. I thought this was a perfect way to end the series. The novella was also cleverly written from all the characters perspectives which I though was pretty cool. She ties all the loose ends. Seriously, no one could be unhappy with the ending now she that she's published this.
So yeah, I really, really love this series. I hope that you may be keen to read this series or her other books, because wow they are worth the hype I promise. Just read it!