Bonnie's Reviews > Just One Year

Just One Year by Gayle Forman
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bookshelves: contemporary, romance, new-adult, travels-and-adventures, arcs-first-to-read

My rating: 3 of 5 stars
A copy of Just One Year was provided to me by Dutton/Penguin Group (USA) for review purposes.

'It was like she gave me her whole self, and somehow as a result, I gave her more of myself than I ever realized there was to give. But then she was gone. And only after I'd been filled up by her, by that day, did I understand how empty I really was.'

Finally. We have Willem's story. Just One Day left readers contemplating what possibly could have gone wrong, why he never came back to Allyson and if they were ever going to be able to find each other again. Just One Year possesses the same melancholy feel as its predecessor with Willem stumbling around in an apparent daze, unable to trust the stability of his feelings for Allyson because after all... they only knew each other for a single day.

'...it's Lulu I miss, and I know it must be displaced, my loneliness a heat-seeking missile, her the heat. Only I can't seem to find a new source of heat.'

This is a tough one for me to figure out how I feel about. Willem was a tough nut to crack and I went through the majority of the book not feeling any sort of compassion towards him, no pity for his plight, when I think that would have been the regular response. He gave up his search for her very early on and considering we already know what Allyson went through physically and emotionally makes me sad for her. Willem was convinced to start looking for her again by friends and as much as he kept saying he was still looking for her that whole time, it wasn't an active search. It felt like he was simply sitting back and waiting for something to happen, for her to find him.

'The truth and its opposite are flip sides of the same coin.'

Willem's story became less about their romance and more about him discovering things about himself and becoming a better person because he met her. This is actually what I had originally hoped for her in Just One Day; for Allyson to recognize the incredibly transformed person she had become (and she did) but that even though it resulted from her meeting Willem that she didn't need him to continue to be as such. Willem found the independence and strength their meeting imbued and used it in a positive manner and while I'm glad at least one of them did this, I never quite liked Willem enough in order to root for him. I never saw what appealed to Allyson and I never understood quite why they transformed each others lives in the first place.

While I'm glad to have the closure of Willem's side of the story, I still can't help but feel the ending would have benefited from... more. I needed to see Willem and Allyson's transformations being applied since we as readers were only afforded a quick glance before reaching the final page.

Just One Year is a tale of transformation, of finding happiness, of finding love and finding yourself.
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Reading Progress

August 13, 2013 – Shelved
August 13, 2013 – Shelved as: to-read
August 13, 2013 – Shelved as: contemporary
August 13, 2013 – Shelved as: romance
August 15, 2013 – Started Reading
August 15, 2013 –
page 30
9.29% "Damn. That's fucking tragic."
August 15, 2013 –
page 33
10.22% "'I'd told her the night was too nice for tragedy. I should have known better than to say a thing like that.'"
August 16, 2013 –
page 97
30.03% "'There's a difference between losing something you knew you had and losing something you discovered you had. One is a disappointment. The other is truly a loss.\n I didn't realize that before. I realize it now.'"
August 16, 2013 –
page 131
40.56% "Chapter 19"
August 18, 2013 –
page 221
68.42%
August 19, 2013 –
page 256
79.26% "Gosh... I feel like this story is going nowhere. This better have one fantastic ending."
August 19, 2013 – Finished Reading
December 23, 2013 – Shelved as: new-adult
February 5, 2014 – Shelved as: travels-and-adventures
May 15, 2015 – Shelved as: arcs-first-to-read

Comments Showing 1-18 of 18 (18 new)

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message 1: by Tina (new) - added it

Tina !!! How is it?


Bonnie It's... an interesting look at Willem. He has more issues than I realized.


message 3: by Tina (new) - added it

Tina Bonnie wrote: "It's... an interesting look at Willem. He has more issues than I realized."

I take it you're not liking the book as much as Just One Day?

Is Willem... the tortured bad boy type? What kind of issues we looking at?


Bonnie I actually only gave Just One Day a 3... I didn't adore it as most did.
He's... doubting his feelings and all that. He's such a lost soul that just wanders around the world but I'm not feeling the compassion or even pity that I think is intended.


Jessica Jeffers This is on deck for me next week! I didn't love One Day that much either and I was kind of hoping that Willem's perspective might redeem it a bit for me. I'm curious to see what you think, because I feel like our opinions were very similar last time!


Bonnie I'm having such a hard time formulating my thoughts. Ultimately I feel like I'm missing the 'big picture' with Willem. Gah, I don't know. I'm actually considering giving it a 2. lol


Wendy Darling Three stars?! D:


Bonnie haha... well I only gave three stars to the first one too...


Wendy Darling Oh okay, then. :) I liked the first one more than you did, clearly, though I was not raving in love with the way everyone else seems to be?


Bonnie Yeah, I never even came close to loving it unfortunately. Still worth a read though. :)


Rashika (is tired) I feel like after reading your review for the sequel, I can finally give the first book a shot without fearing for extreme heartbreak


Bonnie Yeah, well, no heartbreak happened for me at least. I felt very meh about the entire duology.


Jessica Jeffers "This is actually what I had originally hoped for her in Just One Day; for Allyson to recognize the incredibly transformed person she had become (and she did) but that even though it resulted from her meeting Willem that she didn't need him to continue to be as such."

YES. This so perfectly sums up why I didn't love the first book despite how well-written it was. It felt like most of her growth happened in spite of how torn-up she was about Willem and searching for him instead of taking the experience as an opportunity to grow felt counterproductive to me.


Bonnie Which made me okay that at least Willem went through it but then again it made me feel sorry for Allyson for putting herself through what she did when he was using their meeting for the better. But I guess that's her fault.


message 15: by ♥Rachel♥ (new) - added it

♥Rachel♥ I don't think I'm going to read this. I wanted their story after Allyson found him again with maybe some flashbacks. I don't think I'd care for this at all. Thanks for helping make my decision. Great review, Bonnie. :)


Bonnie Thanks! That's exactly what I wanted too. The ending was a total letdown for me.


message 17: by Sharon (new) - added it

Sharon L great review. I'm still reluctant to read this series but at least now I know that even though it's melancholic it's also sweet :D


Julie those are some of my same thoughts too. the ending stunk, but then I think i might have high hopes for this book too. :(


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