Just One Year by Gayle Forman
Publisher/Year: Dutton Juvenile October 10th 2013
Series: Duology, this is Book 2.
Other Books From Author: Just One Day (Book 1), If I Stay, Where She Went, Sisters in Sanity
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 still don’t get it.
Not sure if you remember, but I very much LOVED Just One Day, and it’s possibly the Best Contemporary Alicia’s Read 2013. By logical reasoning and deductions, and by the laudatory reviews for anything Gayle Forman, Just One Year is going to be freaking brilliant, right?
NO. This book is a different story. Not literally, since we’re back to the same year when Allyson and Willem are apart, except this time in Willem’s POV. Hate to break it to you, Willem, but I don’t like your voice. Maybe Allyson’s perspective was biased, but Willem in Just One Day was dreamy and mysterious and who wouldn’t want to get in his head?! I was so excited to dive into this book, until… until… I was reading Just One Year to GET THROUGH it, to get over Willem’s droning travelogue and FIND OUT WHAT HAPPENS after the ending(!!!) of Just One Day. 322 pages later, we finally reach the last page... [Highlight to view spoiler] AND NOTHING. HAPPENS. IT HONESTLY JUST SHOWS THEM TOGETHER FOR ONE SECOND MORE THAN JUST ONE DAY. SERIOUSLY. SHE ENTERS THE APARTMENT. AND THEN HE KISSES HER. AND THAT’S NOT EVEN DESCRIBED IN A SWOONTASTIC WAY. THEY DON’T EVEN SPEAK. IT JUST FREAKING ENDS. WHAT THE HELLLLLLLLLLLLLLL. I READ THIS BOOK TO SEE THEM TOGETHER. AND THAT DOESN’T EVEN HAPPEN. SCREW EVERYTHING!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
HOW?!?! HOW did Gayle Forman think it was a good idea to end the book this way? In her defense, she wrote a post on book endings and dealing with expectations that I completely understand but… no… I would take back every minute spent on this book if I could.
I tried. I tried to appreciate Willem’s life: his family, his friends, his flings(?), his travel tales. He’s feeling hurt, he needs to nurse his physical and emotional wounds, he wants to find “Lulu” (Allyson)… but there was too much gripe and nothing gets done. For Allyson, while she misses Willem, while she misses that one day in Paris, she GETS A GRIP ON HER LIFE. Hers was a timeless coming-of-age tale that will touch any heart.
Willem, on the other hand, lost my interest 50 pages in.
Gayle Forman’s writing will always be Gayle Forman’s writing– beautiful, poetic, and seeps right into the cracks in your heart– but I was so bored by Willem’s brain and the lack of plot that I was in no mood to appreciate them. I didn’t believe my friends when they warned me of this book, so I dove right in with my HUGE EXPECTATIONS and now, I can’t imagine a greater disappointment.
What did you think!