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Thursday 2 January 2014

Review: Just One Year by Gayle Forman

Author: Gayle Forman
Publisher: Dutton Juvenile
Page Count: 323 Pages, Hardcover
Date Published: October 10th, 2013
Find it on Goodreads: Just One Year
Source: Purchased

The heartrending conclusion—from Willem’s POV—to the romantic duet of novels that began with Allyson’s story in Just One Day
After spending an amazing day and night together in Paris, Just One Year is Willem’s story, picking up where Just One Day ended. His story of their year of quiet longing and near misses is a perfect counterpoint to Allyson’s own as Willem undergoes a transformative journey, questioning his path, finding love, and ultimately, redefining himself.

I was both terrified to read Just One Year as well as needing it like nothing could make me feel better except for this novel. When this book came out, I went straight to the book store, only to discover that Canada had a different release date. So, three days later I went again only to find out that my book store wasn't getting it in for another few days. So, then, finally on that day, I went straight to the mall in the direction of Coles and as I stepped inside, my eyes went to the back wall where the YA section resides and I saw it. There were two copies and I swear, I must have looked like a mother trying to save her baby from a fire because I never took my wide eyes off of the white cover as I pushed people and shelves aside (ahem... figuratively) and reached my hands up to that top shelf. Holding this book in my hands was bliss. If you read my review of its predecessor last year, you'll know that I absolutely love this duology. They are both on my favourite books of 2012 list and for good reason.

Gayle Forman is one of the most talented wordsmiths I have ever read. Her words flow seamlessly throughout the pages and her stories move with a pace that captivates me and enchants me. She creates characters with whom I can relate and yet they amaze me with their antics and thoughts. It's as if they are friends telling me a great tale of love and adventure and self-discovery. Just One Year was in Willem's perspective, just after his day in Paris with Allyson, as he tries to find this mystery girl as well as himself on a year long journey, travelling to exotic places and meeting new people and going home and reuniting with old friends. Again, the romance between Willem and Allyson was not the over-powering theme throughout the book, as the story was Willem's year, parallel to Allyson's. They had close encounters so many times throughout the book and I wanted to yell "NO, just look to your side!" at some points, as they almost met yet chance decided that day was not the day.

One thing I loved while reading this book was that for the life of me, I could not remember Allyson's name. Just One Day was being lent out to a friend, so I couldn't check my copy and I didn't want to check the internet, because I was reading and didn't want distractions, so as Willem tried to remember 'Lulu's' real name, I tried as well. It made me feel like a part of the story and let me immerse myself into it a bit more than I would have.

If you have not read this duo of beautiful books yet, I beg ask that you do. They are beautifully written, filled with incredible lessons and quotes and they will wrench your heart as the characters struggle with all of their relationships in life: romantic, friendships, family and self. All of those are touched on which I really appreciated. These books are well rounded and they have characters that are real and rounded. The protagonists annoyed me and fascinated me and I thought of them as real people, which is something that is rare with books, as a lot of times authors make their main characters too perfect to think of as someone one would meet on the street. Please, read these two books.

Happy reading!

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