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Just One Day

Just One Day - Gayle Forman Okay, it’s time for another confession. Until I read JUST ONE DAY, I had never read one of Gayle Forman’s books. GASP I know, it’s an offense. I have IF I STAY somewhere in the Great Paperback Section of Doom, which takes up half my shelves – I think it’s around the entire series of VAMPIRE ACADEMY that I own but have never read. JUST ONE DAY was added to my wish list and forgotten until the amazing April of Good Books and Good Wine graciously offered me her ARC. A few days later, I finished JUST ONE DAY and enjoyed it more than I thought I would.But few books are without their problems, and JUST ONE DAY had a little nagging issue – the heroine became insufferable. Having been someone who suffered (and still does) from depression and questions over romance, particularly wondering if some guy is an ass and if I should dump him, I found Allyson’s response to be problematic. Not to mention annoying.THE BEAUTY OF TRAVEL, THE DARKNESS OF COLLEGEJUST ONE DAY blurs the line between young adult and new adult fiction. It’s published as YA, but ladies and gents, this is as new adult as they come from the big six. Our heroine is a card-carrying high school graduate who we meet the summer before she starts college at what I assumed was Harvard (never mentioned, but heavily insinuated). The summer before I started college, I just sat around and watched TV and played golf – because I went to college for a year on a golf scholarship before I permanently damaged my ankle. Allyson visits Europe and ends up in Stratford-upon-Avon, where she begins to make some of the most fateful choices in her life. She skips out on a professional show of HAMLET and instead watches an outdoor performing of TWELFTH NIGHT, where fate leads her to meet Willem, a handsome and charming Dutchman. And the next day, spur of the moment, she goes with him to Paris for…wait for it… Just One Day.I won’t ruin the moment of the next section, but once Allyson got back to the US and started college, trust me when I say that I understood what she was going through. When I was 18, I still didn’t know what I wanted to do in life. My freshman and sophomore years were devoted to figuring that out before I settled into political science with a heavy pinch of international studies, economics, philosophy, East Asian culture and language, and creative writing. Allyson’s helicopter parents, while not reminiscent of my own, were overwhelming enough that I loved their conflict with her.SOMETIMES HEROINES NEED TO ZIP ITAllyson, quite frankly, spent half the book in a state of perpetual whining. Since it’s in the jacket copy of the book, I don’t feel bad about telling you that Willem has his way with her and then disappears into the night. Or, in this case, early morning. Allyson is left alone in an abandoned building without her suitcase (left at Willem’s friend’s place) or her expensive watch or the guy she’s fallen in love with, so she panics and gets help from her former tour guide to get home. For all she knows, Willem stole her belongings, had sex with her, and ditched her like the trash, but what does Allyson do?She whines and moons and dreams of the guy that she thinks ditched her. And then she concocts a ridiculous plan to lie to her parents and cover it up while planning on going back to find him because she is still in love with a guy she knew for less than 48 hours.Sweetie, let’s have a chat since your best friend seems more concerned with being popular than helping you. When a guy ditches you like the garbage, you need to move on. Your new gay best friend Dee is there to help you get past Willem, but all you do is act like a spoiled brat, convinced that you need answers. When my ex-boyfriend cheated on me, I didn’t follow him around the country to get answers. I said, “Fudge him,” and moved on with my life. Why didn’t you do the same thing? You would have saved yourself a lot of moping time.JUST ONE DAY TURNS INTO JUST ONE YEARDespite my annoyance at Allyson, I quite liked JUST ONE DAY, and after a year of moping and plotting, of course there is room for a sequel that I can’t wait to read. Forman has a way with words that get you into the mood for traveling, and having spent just one day in Paris, I felt myself floating back, even if at times I felt a disconnect. Forman has a new fan in me, though, and I can’t wait to see what JUST ONE YEAR has in store for us next.But seriously, I have no idea why I thought this would be cute. It was very depressing and dark.VERDICT: If you ignore the whiny heroine, JUST ONE DAY is a powerful story about love, loss, regret, and finding yourself under the backdrop of that change from teen to adult. Check this one out.3.5/5