Allyson Healey's life is exactly like her suitcase—packed, planned, ordered. Then on the last day of her three-week post-graduation European tour, she meets Willem. A free-spirited, roving actor, Willem is everything she’s not, and when he invites her to abandon her plans and come to Paris with him, Allyson says yes. This uncharacteristic decision leads to a day of risk and romance, liberation and intimacy: 24 hours that will transform Allyson’s life.
A book about love, heartbreak, travel, identity, and the “accidents” of fate, Just One Day shows us how sometimes in order to get found, you first have to get lost. . . and how often the people we are seeking are much closer than we know.
I am not usually a fan of romance books, but this one took me by surprise. It was mainly the fact that Willem’s Dutch that I wanted to read this book (because I’m Dutch myself), and I actaully really loved it.
The Characters – I didn’t really like Allyson at the beginning, but she grew on me. I did like Willem right from the start, but I actually started hating him after that, because of what he’d done (until I learned the truth near the end of the book, and I actually liked him a bit more after that).
I also almost immediately fell in love with Dee, because he’s just amazing and weird (in a good way) and I loved his friendship with Ally (yeah, I am going to call her that). Other than that, the other characters were good as well, but I didn’t really ‘connect’ with them as I did with Dee and Willem.
Also, perhaps a bit of a spoiler, but Willem’s last name is de Ruiter. And that is just the funniest thing ever, because the most famous brand of Hagelslag in the Netherlands is called de Ruiter (or Ruijter, I never really checked actually; but you pronounce it the same). Coincidence? I think not!
And the Giant (whose name I have currently forgot, sorry) in France made me sob a little bit. HE HELD ONTO HER SUITCASE FOR A YEAR. A YEAR!
The Dutch stuff – Of course, with a (main) character being Dutch, there was a lot of Dutch talking; Hagelslag, Gezondheid, Godverdomme. There was one tiny part that bothered (or well ‘bothered’, I was a bit confused about it actually) me a bit; the big departure board thing. In the book, it was said that it was in Amsterdam, but I have been to Amsterdam a lot in my life, and I don’t remember anything like that (sure, there are screens with departure times, but I am guessing that they meant the big blue departure board with the ratteling sounds and the nostalgia; because that’s in Utrecht. Or rather, was (rip beautiful departure board)). But hey, mistakes can (will and may) be made. And my favourite part of the book:
And Wren and Ally met up at ‘the white statue that looks a lot like a penis’, that made me laugh out loud because I know exactly which statue they mean; and then I told myself they should have gone to Rotterdam, where there’s a statue of Santa Claus holding a Christmas tree, but it looks more like a dwarf holding a butt plug.
The Romance – Like I said, not a fan of romance; and though this book felt a bit like ‘insta-love’ to me, I loved it. The whole romance part was quite short, tbh, and the rest of the book was actually more Ally trying to get over/find Willem, but I liked it. I can’t say I actually ship them, but I would like to read more about them being together and talking about stuff (like hagelslag).
The Plot – I must admit, I am not a fan of Shakespeare, but I liked that the story kind of revolved around his plays, and yeah well, I just loved the story. I don’t really know what else I can say about it, I loved reading about Ally’s life after Willem, and the trip’s she’s made, the things she’s done.
The Writing – I really like Gayle Forman’s writing. I enjoyed reading If I Stay (and I am ashamed to say I still need to read Where She Went), and that’s also a main reason I bought this book. I am definitely going to read Just One Year, because I want to read more about Ally and Willem; and I have also added Where She Went to my 2014 reading list!
Anyway, I loved this book, and if you want to read a nice romance-y book, I suggest you pick up Just One Day!