Saturday, March 11, 2023

Book Review: Just One Year by Gayle Forman


Goodreads Overview:

When he opens his eyes, Willem doesn’t know where in the world he is—Prague or Dubrovnik or back in Amsterdam. All he knows is that he is once again alone, and that he needs to find a girl named Lulu. They shared one magical day in Paris, and something about that day—that girl—makes Willem wonder if they aren’t fated to be together. He travels all over the world, from Mexico to India, hoping to reconnect with her. But as months go by and Lulu remains elusive, Willem starts to question if the hand of fate is as strong as he’d thought. 

The romantic, emotional companion to Just One Day, this is a story of the choices we make and the accidents that happen—and the happiness we can find when the two intersect.


I was very late to the party when I finally got around to reading Just One Day. It received a ton of hype, and I could definitely see why when I finally read it. Willem and "Lulu" are fantastic. I loved their whirlwind romance and could not wait to see what happened from Willem's perspective. Just One Year tells everything they went through the year after their fairytale day in Paris. While everyone keeps telling Allyson to forget about him, because he was nothing more than a player who took advantage of her, she can't help but wonder what really happened. 

Neither of them exchanged information, so when they got separated, they had no way of contacting each other. They are now an ocean apart trying to piece together the bits of information they did share. She scours the internet and tries contacting his acting company, but to no avail. She eventually decides to get a job and save up enough money for a trip back to Paris to see if she can find any clues. It really is a needle in a haystack plan, but she can't move on with her life without trying. Willem is equally as resourceful. He is a traveler at heart and sets off on his own search, which is equally as fruitless. Just when things appear hopeless, fate steps in once again. 

I was SHOCKED by how this book ended. It was very abrupt with no real conclusion. Readers were left completely hanging in the balance. I don't know if it was known at the time that a novella was being released seven months later, but that is what happened. Was the novella released because readers were outraged or was the short story always part of the plan? I don't know the answer to that question, but I would have been furious if I read this when it was released and had no clue what happened after the last page of this book. As it was, I immediately downloaded the Just One Night eBook and read it that same evening. Why this was split into a book and a short story is beyond me. The ending was perfect, so be sure to have a copy of Just One Night on hand when you finish Just One Year.

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