Allyson Healey begins the upending of her planned, predictable life in Just One Day. What can happen during 24 hours in Paris? Maybe the better question is: What can’t?
FYI: I picked up Just One Day after spending three days in London,where the book begins. Even though I had triple the time Allyson did in that great city, nothing remotely romantic* happened. I am slightly miffed at the universe for this slight.
Just One Day and Just One Year are an incredibly compelling duo, fast and easy to read. On the surface, they feed the beautiful idea that in one moment, everything can change. Say yes, not no. Be free and experience life. All of those Instagram worthy quotes that sound wonderful but can be so difficult in practice when confronted with the unwieldiness of life.
While I was going into this expecting fun, escapist reads, the duo pleasantly surprised me by showing pieces of the journey to knowing oneself. It’s certainly a lifelong process and something far too complicated to be completely captured in a few hundred pages, but it was nice to walk along with Alyson and Willem, the romantic interest, for a little while.
There are two things I would have liked to have known before jumping into these books.
- Just One Day does not actually take place over the course of one day. I expected this because of the title and the fact that Gayle Forman’s If I Stay does happen over the course of twenty-four hours. The significance of both books’ titles are metaphorical.
- Just One Year does not actually continue the timeline. Instead, it is the same story, but from Willem’s perspective. It’s fascinating and definitely enriches the reading experience, but it won’t necessarily satisfy the But What Happened?! feelings that might occur after finishing the books.
I never read novellas, but Just One Night by Gayle Forman is something I’ll be picking up for a little more closure. Jamie at Perpetual Page Turner has a great review of the final part of Allyson and Willem’s lives we get a glimpse into.
I left Just One Day and Just One Year on a book trade bookshelf in a hostel in Dublin. Maybe the books’ next owner will have more romantic inclinations. I’d kind of like to think so.
*Looking back, this was probably for the best.