Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Just One Day by Gayle Forman

Quoted from GoodReads: "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."

I never was much interested in going to Paris or anywhere in Europe.  I am more of a tropical island sorta girl. After reading just one day by Gayle Forman,  I may have to rethink my travel plans!

I enjoyed everything about this book, from the cover art to the plot and character relationships.  This is a "coming of age" story (I hate that phrase, but that's what it is...).  Be prepared to let the dishes sit in the sink.  All you are going to want to do is read this book!   I read it in two sittings, mainly because I wanted some time to savor the story and try to figure out the plot and ending before I read it.

I especially enjoyed the relationship between Allyson and her Mother.  It was so realistic, I could think of  several Mother-Daughter relationships that this part of the plot could have been based on.  Teens struggling for independence will relate to this and of course, Moms will, too.  I really like the way the author dealt with their issues.  No spoiler here-you'll have to read the book.

The supporting cast of characters were fun and unique.  This is an area that is often overlooked by authors.  Forman spent the time on the other relationships in  Allyson's life and it makes the story and plot much more solid.  I wonder if the character of Dee couldn't have his own book...

There are many themes within this story.  First love, independence, the changing relationships as you transition and grow into an adult and choice.  Choice is my favorite theme in this instance.  Allyson makes the decision to live her life instead of just floating along on the path that has been planned out for her.  This is a life lesson that many teens (and some adults) have yet to learn.  Making bold choices and following your heart are two different things.  Making a choice involves thinking and considering your options, examining the possible consequences and coming up with a plan of action.  Even though my explanation sounds like a formula, it is not written in that manner.   This theme flows quietly in the background, which is exactly why I enjoyed it.

This book would be appropriate for older teens.  There is a love scene.  It is not too graphic, and they do practice safe sex(yeah!).  I plan to pass this book on to my 16 year old daughter.  The only thing I could possibly find to criticize it that the second book, Willem's side of the story- just one year doesn't come out until next fall. Just one day makes my "Best of 2012" list!

Thanks to the author and publisher for providing me with a copy of the book in return for an unbiased review.