Lauren Mayer, children's book buyer for University Book Store in Seattle, has high hopes for Gayle Forman’s Just One Day (Dutton, Jan.).
I’m such a huge fan of Gayle Forman’s heartbreakingly romantic duet of novels, If I Stay and Where She Went, that when Colleen Conway, my awesome Penguin rep, told me about Just One Day, I believe I may have actually squealed! And it doesn’t disappoint – it’s a romantic, emotional rollercoaster of a novel that I read in one sitting.
At the end of a teen cultural tour of Europe, Allyson suppresses her “good girl” tendencies and impulsively spends a whirlwind day with Willem, a street actor whom she’s just met. Letting her emotional guard down around him, she feels they make a real connection – so she is devastated when she wakes after a night of passion to find him gone. Forman captures the intensity of a first crush in the uber-romantic setting of Paris, as well as the lingering self-doubt and depression that result from being dumped – or was she?
Though the stakes are not as mortal as in If I Stay and Where She Went, I think fans of those books will be drawn into this novel about self-discovery, Shakespeare, friendship, Paris, and those everyday “accidents” that send us off in new directions. Just One Day is about Allyson finding her own new path, taking control and responsibility for her own happiness, figuring out a new way to be. As she muses on Hamlet’s timeless soliloquy, “What if the real question is not whether to be, but how to be?”
Just One Day will appeal to fans of Stephanie Perkins (Anna and the French Kiss; Lola and the Boy Next Door) and Nina LaCour (Hold Still; The Disenchantments), as well as to fans of the Richard Linklater films Before Sunrise and Before Sunset. I can’t wait for the companion novel, Just One Year, told from Willem’s point of view, which is due at the end of 2013.