REVIEW: Just One Day - Gayle Foreman

5/5


Just One Day by Gayle Forman is a mash-up of David Nicholl’s One Day and Jennifer E Smith’s The Statistical Probability Of Love At First Sight. With teenage characters and genuine love, I can see why this story has captured the hearts of many. I listened to the audiobook, which wasn’t read as well as what I am used to from Penguin, with the male voices sounding bizarre. Nonetheless, the story was excellent.

Allyson is a typical American tourist in Europe, taking part in a boring educational trip and even she’s bored, until she meets Willem. He’s an actor in a low-key, not-fully-legal Shakespeare company and they hit it off from the start. They spend one magical day in Paris together and share an intimate evening in the most romantic city in the world. However, the next day when Allyson wakes up, Willem is gone. Allyson attempts to continue with her normal life but shortly embarks on a journey to find Willem and find out the truth – did he really leave her? Why?

This story has some beautiful and exciting settings which will transport you across the globe, from London to Boston to Paris to Amsterdam. Each city was distinctly different and Forman captured the necessary signposts of each location, with extra charm and character.

I particularly enjoyed how this novel was not your typical love story. Without giving too much away, there’s no magical reunion between Allyson and Willem – they don’t spot each other across a crowded room and fall into each other’s arms instantly. Promise. Plus, Allyson realises she doesn’t need Willem. She is her own persona and she doesn’t need him to love her to make her complete. That journey of realisation was, for me, the most satisfying.

Also, the relationship between Allyson and her parents – particularly her mother – was detailed and thorough. For what was probably only meant to be a background character, Allyson’s mother was a fully-formed character in her own right. Forman could write a book just on her. The tensions between mother and daughter and the difficulty a mother goes through when their child, and in this case only child, starts to become independent, is explored from both perspectives. Similarly, Allyson’s best friend Melanie was an interesting character with her own story. Their friendship is rocky and real, with genuine arguments and drifting which I am sure many readers will be able to relate to.


Overall, this was an enjoyable and gripping read – and I hardly ever use the word ‘gripping’ to describe contemporary romance. Forman used the excellent technique of giving every character a problem, a desire, a motive, making them vivid and believable as well as enriching the plot of the story.

Grab your copy here and let me know what you think!

Love, Jess

P.S. If anyone wants to give me audible credits, I won't complain.

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