Friday, January 3, 2014

Review: Just One Year (Just One Day #2) by Gayle Forman

Just One Year (Just One Day, #2)
Just One Year
Gayle Forman
October 10, 2013
Publisher: Dutton Children's
336 pages
Reviewed: Hardcover from library

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.

My Review

I have been waiting to read Just One Year for a long, long time. Or at least it felt like it. I read the prequel, Just One Day, last year while I was blogging, and it genuinely left me speechless. It was a can't-put-it-down, glued-to-my-nose, read-it-during-meals kind of book, which left me in tears only when I read the preview to the next book, i.e. the book I'm reviewing now.

Just One Year...where to begin? It filled me up with so much emotion. Melancholy, curiosity, loneliness, wanderlust, and courage are just a few. Together, they created the all-encompassing sense of love. It's not an easy task to fit all of that into three hundred pages. 

As much as I adored reading from Allyson's point of view in the first book, I'll admit I might have possibly enjoyed Willem's point of view even more. His family, his background, and his personality were just so riveting. He was a fully-fledged person, more realistic than real people, except not realistic at all in the sense that he was so one-in-a-million. (Which in my opinion is exactly what an author should aim for in a character). It was hard to really get to know the other characters, though, when there seemed to be an endless supply of them. I connected to Yael more than any of the others.

The story is crazy. Willem is such a travel-junkie that just when you think he's going to settle down, he up and leaves all over again. However, it never got too difficult to keep track. He would never spend more than a few chapters in one city, but I was only ever a few paces behind him. My only complaint was that it felt a little awkward sometimes. When it said six weeks had passed, I didn't sense it. The way it was written, it felt like I was really floating around at the mercy of the wind. I did like it that every place threw a different obstacle at him, and in the meantime, the reader got to absorb the whole world through his eyes. And it was all to find his Lulu.

The style of this book is like no other. It told a love story in a way that the love interest doesn't show up until the last couple pages of the book. Willem doesn't even know Allyson's name until the last couple pages of the book. In fact, it'd been such a while since I read Just One Day that I'd forgotten that was her name, and was able to think of her completely as Lulu. Willem thinks of love in such a different way than society does, and I was wrapped up in it. 

It felt like I read this book very fast, but in reality I was taking my sweet time. That's what this book is, a mess of graceful contradictions. I'm stained.

4 stars

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