Just One Day by Gayle Forman is a book I was excited about reading. I really enjoyed both If I Stay and Where She Went (my thoughts) and was intrigued by the premise of the new story, particularly as it was going to be another duo with both perspectives.
Synopsis (from Goodreads):
When sheltered American
good girl Allyson "LuLu" Healey first meets laid-back Dutch actor
Willem De Ruiter at an underground performance of Twelfth Night in
England, there’s an undeniable spark. After just one day together, that
spark bursts into a flame, or so it seems to Allyson, until the
following morning, when she wakes up after a whirlwind day in Paris to
discover that Willem has left. Over the next year, Allyson embarks on a
journey to come to terms with the narrow confines of her life, and
through Shakespeare, travel, and a quest for her almost-true-love, to
break free of those confines.
He can be used for both good and bad. I'm happy to say in this case it's all good. Forman did an excellent job of weaving the ideas and themes of the plays she chose to highlight into Allyson's own story in so many ways. There is so much to love here about the practice of theater and the way the words we speak and the masks we choose to wear define us.
"You're just trying on different identities, like everyone in those Shakespeare plays. And the people we pretend at, they're already us. That's why we pretend them in the first place."
I loved Allyson's journey of self discovery, her complicated relationship with her parents, the changing dynamic with her best friend, the relationships with the new friends she encounters along her way. All of this made for a grand and sweeping story that is far more than the sum of the romance of the book. Just like Shakespeare. Well played, Ms. Forman.
This combined with her witty prose, excellent dialogue, and layered characters made for a wonderful read. Which is good because I was having some trouble relating to Allyson's feelings of love in day and depression when it was over. Then again this is another way the story mirrors Shakespeare.
I absolutely can not wait to read Willem's story when Just One Year comes out in October.