Review: Just One Year (Just One Day #2) - Gayle Forman

Release Date: October 10th 2013
Published By: Dutton Children’s
Pages: 336
Goodreads: Add it to your reading list

Rating: 4 out of 5

Synopsis: Just One Day. Just One Year. Just One Read.

Before you find out how their story ends, remember how it began….

When he opens his eyes, Willem doesn’t know where in the world he is—Prague or Dubrovnik or back in Amsterdam. All he knows is that he is once again alone, and that he needs to find a girl named Lulu. They shared one magical day in Paris, and something about that day—that girl—makes Willem wonder if they aren’t fated to be together. He travels all over the world, from Mexico to India, hoping to reconnect with her. But as months go by and Lulu remains elusive, Willem starts to question if the hand of fate is as strong as he’d thought. . . .

The romantic, emotional companion to Just One Day, this is a story of the choices we make and the accidents that happen—and the happiness we can find when the two intersect.

Review: *This review is spoiler free.*

Just One Year is Willem’s perspective of the year that goes by since he met Lulu, the American girl he spent a day in Paris with. In the first book, Just One Day, we follow Allyson’s (aka Lulu) perspective and see what happens to her in the year after she met Willem. At this point, We didn’t know what had happened to Willem during this same period of time, and this is what Just One Year explores.

We see a different side to Willem to the one that we saw in Just One Day. In this novel, he is heartbroken and lost at times, but not just in love. He is lost in life, and has to go back to Amsterdam to face some of the real issues in his life whilst also trying to understand and come to terms that he may never find his Lulu again.

In the year following his day with her in Paris, Willem goes on a journey of self-discovery whilst trying to find Lulu at the same time. In looking for her, he finds out more about himself. His trip takes him to Mexico and India - a country he was avoiding we know this is where his mother is living, and their relationship is strained. I actually really enjoyed the Indian scenes in this book, the side characters were very funny, and the Bollywood movies lightened the feel of the novel. Willem also mends some other damaged relationships in his life and I feel in general he does a fair amount of growing and maturing.

Ultimately the novel isn’t just about Willem finding the girl he loves. It’s about him getting his life in order. When he originally meets Lulu, he stayed in Paris for a day with her only to avoid his problems back at home, and that day ended up being something magical. And now that Lulu is gone, he has a lot of life clutter to clean up.

I was so shattered at the end of Just One Day - and without saying explicitly why, it just ended at such a point where I thought I was going to have all my questions answered, and then didn’t. Gayle Forman was originally writing Just One Day as a standalone book, but when we all started moaning about wanting to know what happens to Allyson and Willem, Gayle decided to write Just One Year, which turns out to be a companion novel rather than a sequel.

Whilst I really enjoyed the overall story and finding out about what Willem had experienced during the same year, I did feel that at times the story dragged out a little bit unfortunately which was a real shame, because I was dying to read this book and found I was slumping about two-thirds of the way through. However, it’s worth the push through because the ending answers our questions. However, if you’re looking at what happens to Allyson and Willem after Just One Day finishes, you may be disappointed, as both novels virtually finish at exactly the same point. However, know that I know both perspectives, I am able to piece this together to form a complete picture of what is going to happen, which is all I’ve wanted since reading Just One Day.

Quotes: Gayle Forman writes the most beautiful and poignant words. Some of the quotes from this novel are just beautiful.

“There’s a difference between losing something you knew you had and losing something you discovered you had. One is a disappointment. The other feels like losing a piece of yourself.”

“I’ve since come to understand that the universe operates on the same general equilibrium theory as markets.It never gives you something without making you pay for it somehow.”

“Loving someone is such an inherently dangerous act. And yet, love, that’s where safety lives.”

“Saba used to say there was a difference between bravery and courage. Bravery was doing something dangerous without thinking. Courage was walking into danger, knowing full well the risks.”

“Love is not something you protect. It’s something you risk.”

“Sometimes fate or life or whatever you want to call it, leaves a door a little open and you walk through it. But sometimes it locks the door and you have to find the key, or pick the lock, or knock the damn thing down. And sometimes, it doesn’t even show you the door, and you have to build it yourself.”


What do you think?

  • Nara says:

    Woah, Bollywood scenes? You don’t see that too often haha.
    Dang it, it’s disappointing that both novels have a similarly unsatisfying ending! I was definitely hoping to find out what happens after the ending of Just One Day! Still, I’m looking forward to this book because WILLEM POV :D

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