Just One Year by Gayle Forman
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Before you find out how their story ends, remember how it began….
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.
This review will not contain spoilers for the book Just One Year. However, there will be spoilers from the first novel, Just One Day. To read the review of that novel, please click here!
When I read Just One Day a few months ago, I never knew that it was going to leave me with a cliffhanger that made me want to pull my hair out. I was unaware of the fact that there was even going to be a sequel so I just wasn’t expecting it.
We meet Allyson, aka Lulu, in Just One Day. She meets Willem in a chance encounter, and decide to spend one day in Paris, France. Their encounter is more than either expected, except when Lulu wakes up the next day, after trusting this stranger and giving part of herself to him, he’s gone. The day changes Allyson in many ways, and she’s unable to move on until she finds out what happens next. The novel follows Lulu and Willem on their magical day and Lulu’s plan to find him. The book ends with Lulu knocking on Willem’s door, and him letting her in. Seriously. Worst. Cliffhanger. Ever. I almost threw the book until I remembered it was a library book and thats probably against the law, in book world.
Just One Year is the year that Willem spends after this magical day. He wakes up, disoriented, in a hospital, after being attacked, and he can’t remember much at first. By the time he remembers, its too late and Lulu is gone. He knows nothing about her; not her name, not from where’s from, nothing. He gave her the name Lulu. He literally has absolutely no way of finding her, and like Allyson, that day changed him and he can’t forget about it. The book shows the year that it takes Willem to get to that door that he and Allyson finally get to.
I LOVED this novel, and I think its because we already know Willem from Just One Day but we don’t really know him. We don’t see his personality, his family, anything. He’s a mystery, and yet we totally fall in love with him. You have this great desire to find out what happened to him, and how he got where he is. Its seriously all you’re wondering and all Allyson is wondering and she finally reaches that door in Just One Day and the BOOK ENDS! And you want to scream your head off, especially since she spent all this time looking for someone who didn’t want to be found.
But just a great novel. Willem is a world traveler, and he travels both to try and find Lulu and also to try and just figure out himself and how that day changed him and it makes for a beautiful novel. Just the backdrop of the novel, and the adventures that he has and the people he meets are enough to forget about the meeting that he and Allyson are eventually going to have. Honestly, so much of Willem’s story makes me want to hop on a plane and just GO somewhere, anywhere. He is so fearless and so ready to be in a new place. He just hops on a train, a bus, in cars with random strangers, eats new food and its just incredible and completely envious.
I can’t say much more than that because it will just ruin the novel. The whole point of Just One Year is to discover the mystery that is Willem since we get to see such a small sliver of him in the first novel. I don’t want to ruin any of the mystery for you guys, because living with Willem, discovering who he is and who he grows to be is the center point of this novel and its just a beautiful novel. Gayle Forman has a way of writing a seemingly normal, contemporary novel and she pulls at your heart in both good and bad ways. What a beautiful and talented writer.
4 out of 5 stars