Title: Just One Day
Author: Gayle Forman
My Rating: 5/5
"A breathtaking journey toward self-discovery and true love, from the author of If I Stay
When sheltered American good girl Allyson "LuLu" Healey first meets laid-back Dutch actor Willem De Ruiter at an underground performance of Twelfth Night in England, there’s an undeniable spark. After just one day together, that spark bursts into a flame, or so it seems to Allyson, until the following morning, when she wakes up after a whirlwind day in Paris to discover that Willem has left. Over the next year, Allyson embarks on a journey to come to terms with the narrow confines of her life, and through Shakespeare, travel, and a quest for her almost-true-love, to break free of those confines." - Goodreads
I haven't given a book such a high rating since I can't even remember (okay maybe I do. I think it was The Fault In Our Stars, which moved me to tears no less than ten times). Just One Day, though, totally blew my mind.
When I first started the book on a five-hour train ride to visit a friend, I didn't set the bars high. Some decent romance would do, I thought. Never did I expect to be so out of breath, moved, and yearning for more when I finished by the time the train pulled into the station.
It's funny, really, because the most appropriate place to read this book is probably when you're traveling, because a large part - or I should say the most important part - of the story happens on trains, planes, different places on a journey. Being on a train filled me with the kind of wanderlust that was just right for this book.
Allyson/Lulu and Willem's quick-sparked romance surprised and captivated me. Personally I'm never a big fan of insta-love! in YA books. But this one, oh how this one makes me swoon! Everything seems to click between the two of them, and the chemistry is undeniable, yet at the same time full of guessing games. In retrospect I think the time they spend with each other - one day - is what makes this love so believable. This one day that was given to them is full of uncertainty, curiosity, unasked questions and imperceptible answers, and that is why they feel brave enough to fall for each other, or more accurately, the image of each other. This kind of love cannot stand the test of time, but is enough to make Allyson, and the reader, think deeply about love.
In Allyson's college course Shakespeare Out Loud, the students perform As You Like It. One of the lines struck me the most. It's in Act IV, when a jealous and desperate Rosalind asks the confused and smitten Orlando if he'd take Rosalind as his love. Then comes Orlando's reply, "For ever and one day."
Can one day be forever? Can forever be condensed into just one day?
The answer is, in my opinion, both yes and no. No because no promise could and should be made beyond the one day if all you ever came for is adventure; yes because the amazing things that can happen in one day will last a lifetime.
Lastly, a song that I think goes with the book quite well.