Review: Just One Day by Gayle Forman

Book Title/Author: Just One Day by Gayle Forman
: Dutton Juvenile – January 2013
Genre: YA Contemporary
Series: Yes — Just One Year is out Fall 2013
Other Books From Author: If I Stay, Where She Went, Sister’s in Sanity, You Can’t Get There from Here: A Year on the Fringes of a Shrinking World

Amazon| Goodreads | @gayleforman |Β 

I received this from Penguin who was generous enough to provide me with a review copy in an exchange for an honest review. As always, this did this not sway my opinions in any way. Pinky promise!


As part of her graduation present, Allyson Healy and her best friend are spending a few weeks on tour in Europe. By taking one little risk, she ends up meeting Willem, an actor in a fun, underground Shakespeare troupe, who intrigues her with his free spirit and passion. By saying yes and taking a chance on spontaneity as Lulu, her more adventurous self, she finds herself having a life-changing day in Paris with Willem — who she discovers has disappeared without a goodbye. She returns home heartbroken and with questions about what that day meant and becomes determined to figure out who she is and escape the predictable little box she feels trapped in.

Oh Lord. Gayle Forman. You know my insane love for her books If I Stay & Where She Went so naturally this was one of my most anticipated reads for 2013. I tried to approach reading Just One Day as if it was written by somebody else because, you know, it’s hard not to fangirl automatically for your favorite author. But, alas, I could not do that because the things that make a Gayle Forman book, well, a Gayle Forman book, just crept up as I was reading. It’s the little pitter patters in my heart she is able to create or the fact that by the next page she is able to slice and dice my heart and makes it hurt so real.

Exhibit A:

It’s the amazing characters that you just want to spend more time with and care so much about (and oh my goodness — the minor characters are fab — Dee, Giant, etc). It’s the ability to make me feel every emotion so vividly. So, suffice it to say, this book was nothing short of amazing! I can’t say whether or not I liked it more/less than If I Stay/Where She Went because they make me feel something entirely different for different reasons but it is 100% what makes Gayle’s books my favorites. THIS IS ONE OF MY FAVORITES EVER!!

This story was amazing — one of the best stories of self discovery that I’ve had the pleasure of reading. I just relished in the details and the little moments that happened throughout their day and could relate as someone with an adventurous spirit. The day just sounded perfect and I think that’s what made a certain part even more excruciating.Β  The spark between those two was something special and magical to me. Willem, like Adam in If I Stay/Where She Went says the simplest of things that just make my heart melt.

Exhibit B (Oh my heart !)

And yes, the travel was delightful, the romance was super swoony but I really enjoyed watching Allyson figure out her way to being the self that incorporated the parts of “Lulu” that she loved after she returned from Paris. I LOVED that this wasn’t a quick transformation — it was little pieces and Gayle Forman used the utmost even pacing — and it wasn’t about finding herself for the sake of the boy though he made a lasting impression on her & still held answers for her. It was one single day, of doing something extraordinary, that helped her eyes be open to what COULD be — that she wasn’t okay with just being content and doing what was always expected. It was some of the best introspection I’ve read it a while and her journey of self discovery was one that hit home for me — a lot of things that have been weighing heavy on me lately were things that Allyson was thinking through. I have to be honest when I say it’s the type of novel that made me want to be a little more bold and say yes more often. It made me realize I’d made some right decisions that I was scared were wrong. So I really felt invested in Allyson’s journey because I really felt it — as I’m sure it will resonate with most readers in a way. I just know that personally these are some similar things I’ve been dealing with and talking about with my husband.

And the ending! Oh the ending! The Mayans better not be right because I NEED to read Just One Year!


Just One Day was one of the best books I’ve read this year and has even more secured Gayle Forman as one of my all time favorite authors. Just One Day made me feel a multitude of feelings — in the same way If I Stay/Where She Went made me! It’s everything I wanted and hoped for the moment I heard about this book — the travel was to die for, the adventures stirred up an insatiable want for my own adventure, the romance just made my heart pitter patter yet simultaneous burst out of my chest and Allyson’s story of self-discovery was honestly one I just really needed to read right now. Introspective and full of feelings, Just One Day will no doubt be another win for those previously familiar with her work and will take hostage those who’ve never had the pleasure of reading a Gayle Forman novel. Prepare your hearts, friends.


For Fans Of: Gayle Forman (obviously), amazing character development, feeling ALL OF THE FEELINGS, traveling stories, books with older protags (college aged what uppp), books that must might make you think, straight up amazing contemporary YA


Let’s Talk: Have you read this one? Heard of it (I’m sure you have!!)? What did you think if you have read it? Did you feel all of the feelings???

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About Jamie

Jamie is a 32 year old married lady (with a new baby!!) who is in denial that she's actually that old to be a married lady and a mom. When she's not reading you can find her doing Pilates followed by eating ice cream, belting out Hamilton (loud and offkey) and having adventures with her husband, daughter and rescue dog.


  1. Don’t hate me but…I read If I Stay earlier on in the year and didn’t click with it or enjoy it. BUT this sounds super duper amazing and I’m all about second chances so I’m real looking forwars to giving this a go!

    You mentioned on Facebook last night that you worried about doing this book justice and you know what? No need to fear. Why? Because Jamie is here *Superman pose* and her reviews are always amazing! (Sorry for talking in 3rd person for a minute there…) You nailed your review for Just One Day in all your squealy, hyped glory. Trust me, we know, you love this book BIG time.

  2. AHH! I can’t wait to read this one! I’ll cross my fingers those Mayans and their prophecies don’t cheat us out of a sequel….

  3. OMG great review! But now more excited than ever!

  4. I’ve been a bit iffy about reading this book when it comes out, but your enthusiasm and passion for it has me convinced that I clearly do need to read it. Great review!

  5. Ahhhhh I can’t wait for this book! I’ve been seeing it everywhere and everyone is gushing praise. After reading your review though, I’m like twice as excited πŸ™‚ Awesome review!!

  6. Ginger @ GReads! says:

    Oh yes, I definitely felt all of the feelings. Now that you’ve finished WE MUST DISCUSS. Blow up my text woman! lol Seriously though.. I adored the self discovery, like you, that Allyson went through. I think that’s what made the story for me. Yes, the travel and adventure was amazing and OF COURSE Willem & the romance made my heart swoon, but those were just secondary to the journey Allyson took within herself. So well done, Gayle. SO WELL DONE.

  7. EEEP!! That’s all I can really say at this point in time. You already know how excited I am for this! πŸ˜€

  8. I got this one for review as well, but am trying to hold off from reading it until closer to the release date! The wait is killing me, especially when I see it sitting on my bookshelf. I just might have to cave in..

    Great review!!

  9. I hadn’t heard of this until recently. Your review makes me want to read it RIGHT NOW!!!

  10. I haven’t read anything by Gayle Forman (yet) but this sounds like it would be a terrific start! It’s funny because the concept of this book really resonates with me. Years ago I ran into a very vibrant, exuberant Aussie who was one of the most introspective and happy people I’ve ever met. We’re still friends to this day and he pushes me to take chances and say yes to things I wouldn’t have otherwise. I am always super appreciative for his presence because he really challenged me take a good look at the way I was living my life and make a change for the better. And it doesn’t hurt that we felt ALL THE FEELINGS back in the day either. πŸ™‚

  11. Oh I love your review and I want to pick up this book this very instant!!! It sounds like exactly this kind of book I love to read. A book that makes me all mushy and emotional :))
    The exhibit you showed!! PERFECT !

  12. I have a copy of this one that is SO CLOSE to being at the top of my review pile, so I didn’t read this in full, because I would not want to accidentally write your review all over again. However, I will say that I love this description of Forman’s writing: “It’s the little pitter patters in my heart she is able to create or the fact that by the next page she is able to slice and dice my heart and makes it hurt so real.”

    April’s review and now yours convince me that this will be the best thing that ever happened. *wants to run home and read it right now, damn the review schedule!*

  13. I have not read this one but I’m really excited to! Your review is awesome…


  14. I cannot wait to read this book. It was pretty high on my list of things I want to read already since every review I’ve read has been pretty glowing so far, but your review really sealed the deal for me. It just sounds SO good!

  15. Sounds amazing! I haven’t read any of Gayle Forman’s novels but the snippet that you provided made me want to read Just One Day really badly!

  16. Ahhhh! Now I must read this! Hurry up, January, and get here! I hope you’re right about the Mayans… πŸ˜‰

  17. I love this book and this author πŸ™‚ Great review and glad that she slayed you too

  18. I’d heard of this one, but I didn’t know what it was about. After your review, I NEED to read this! I’ve never read a Gayle Forman novel, but it looks like this will be a good one with which to start!

  19. Dee was DEFINITELY my favorite character, he just felt so real and unique and awesome, ya know? Totally not a stereotype.


    Willem aka swoon dot com.

  20. Honestly, I’m almost 100% sure that I’m going to fall in love with this book. Travel? Adventure? Self-discovery? SIGN ME UP. I have yet to read a Gayle Forman book, but this sounds like absolute perfection.

    (And your review was beautifully done. Seriously.)

  21. Amazing review. I can feel how much you struggled with getting the right words for this review. You succeeded, don’t worry. I felt like this review was so thoughtful and it really gave me a picture of Allyson and what she’s dealing with.

    This is one of my most anticipated 2013 reads as well. I can’t wait. =)

  22. I already knew how you felt about this book but I was glad to see you translate all of that chatting into a great review. I’m not surprised, of course, though.

    Ugh. So many things you said have just gotten me. Especially not wanting to JUST be content and always feeling defensive about our choices when they are different from other people’s. I feel like this so much and it makes me think something is wrong with me. Sometimes it would be so easy to be mediocre. People would “get it” and you wouldn’t always have to explain yourself, ya know? But I’m glad to hear this book makes you want to take a plunge, accept opportunities, and go for it. I imagine for a person who just graduated high school or is on the cusp of a big change, that’s really the best way to go about life. You have to be open and flexible because you really don’t know what’s going to happen.

    Whew. I cannot wait to get my hands on a copy of this! I’m so glad January is right around the corner.


  23. Oh good grief. Gayle’s books are books I find myself THINKING about sometimes. They just creep up on me and I remember specific scenes from them. That *doesn’t* happen a lot for me, but her writing is so standout that when it does happen, it’s mostly her work or Melina Marchetta’s that I remember. Her writing is POWERFUL. I cannot wait to plunge into this one. Beautiful review, Jamie. Looking forward to talking to you about it when I’m done. πŸ™‚

  24. I’ve been waiting to comment on your review until I finished this book… and I JUST DID. Oh my goodness it’s so freaking amazing and I love pretty much everything about it. LIKE AH. And then the ending… oh geez! Can Just One Year get hear soon enough? AH. Love your review. You’ve made me want to go re-read it.

  25. yeah, I might have to check it out. πŸ™‚

  26. I read this December and it is so great! It has become one of my favourites too and I can’t wait for Just One Year!

  27. I will definitely be grabbing a copy of this soon! I just loved Gayle’s other series so much, It would be very stupid of me not to pick this up.


  1. […] Just One Day by Gayle Forman. No doubt. I passed my ARC along but I will be buying this when it comes out & re-reading the crap out of it. […]

  2. […] crying. In front of people. The second and third time I met her was recently for the release of Just One Day and they were smaller events and we got to chat with her and learn more about her travels and just […]

  3. […] 5. Allyson: Oh gosh. I just understood Allyson so much. I can’t even tell you. Just a lot of the things she was struggling with were things that I have/am struggling with — saying YES, living the life you want to live, letting go of things that hinder you, etc. She’s not always perfect, sometimes she might annoy you or be whiny but I’m telling you…in the depths of my soul I HAD THIS CONNECTION WITH HER. (My review of Just One Day by Gayle Forman) […]

  4. […] by Just One Day by Gayle Forman: I know a lot of people aren’t sold on Willem yet but I am (and this is not just because […]

  5. […] this as one for the sake of my list but I’m really craving some Gayle Forman after reading Just One Day. I actually want to reread Just One Day, even though I just read it in November, but I just want to […]

  6. […] Just One Day by Gayle Forman: One of my all time favorite books EVER. It made me miss Paris so hard. […]

  7. […] and again in Where She Went.  I can’t wait to begin Just One Day, which I’ve read excellent reviews of and which I finally got a hold of through my library.  (True auto-buy story: Dessen’s […]

  8. […] Flirt Willem from Just One Day/Just One Year — love him but he’s a […]

  9. […] Dutton Juvenile – October 2013 Genre: Contemporary YA Series: It’s a duology and Just One Day is book 1! Other Books From Author: Goodreads | Twitter […]

  10. Top Ten says:

    […] Just One Day by Gayle Forman – I JUST NEED THIS TO BE A MOVIE, OK?? It’s a favorite and I need more of it!! […]

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