Saturday, February 9, 2013

Book Review: Just One Day by Gayle Forman

Allyson is the kind of girl who always does what's expected of her.  Which is a lot.  With top grades and all set to be pre-med in the fall, Allyson is ready to fulfill all of her mother's highest hopes and dreams for her only daughter.

Which is why, when she meets traveling Dutch actor Willem in Stratford-on-Avon, and he invites her to a street performance of Twelfth Night put on by his roving theater company Guerilla Will, it is totally unlike her to skip the scheduled, boring-by-comparison indoor performance of Hamlet (which she's already seen) and roam the streets with a bunch of unruly actors.  But that is exactly what Allyson does, and it feels amazing to do what she wants, and not what someone else wants for her, for a change.

So amazing that, when she randomly runs into Willem at the train station the next morning, and he invites her to spend the day with him in Paris, she impulsively accepts.

What follows is a day of randomness, moments that sparkle, and accidents of fate, a day that Allyson revels in as Willem introduces her to Paris and all its delicious wonders and underground, out of the way treasures.  But when she wakes up the next morning, Willem is gone.  No note, no sign, no reminder that he ever existed.  Devastated, Allyson takes the train back to London, all her ecstatic joy at being free crushed beneath the weight of disappointment and a broken heart.

When she gets home to the States, Allyson doesn't know what to do.  With a taste of Paris, chocolate crêpês, urban Shakespeare, and living in the moment, she can't go back to the quiet good girl her mother expects her to be - but it hurts too much to even think about the girl she was with Willem.  But, with help from new friend and study partner Dee, Allyson slowly begins to rediscover that girl, and to find the strength to look for Willem - and herself.

A powerful book about being brave and breaking free from yourself, Just One Day will transport you to the streets, cafes, artists' squats and canals of Paris, leaving you wanting to travel as much as Allyson wants to find Willem.  If you know what it feels like to want to change who you are so you can be who you are, follow Allyson on her quest to follow her heart from high school to college, from the States to London to Paris to Amsterdam.  Fans of author Gayle Forman's previous books, the heartwrenching If I Stay and Where She Went won't want to miss this story of fate and accidents.

(who is torn between the starcrossed vampire dystopia Black City by Elizabeth Richards and the modern Alice in Wonderland in Splintered by A.G. Howard!)