Book Review: Just One Year by Gayle Forman

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.

3 cupcakes

“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.”

I’m starting to think that Gayle Forman’s duologies just aren’t for me. I really enjoyed If I Stay but just couldn’t get into Where She Went, and now I find myself disappointed with Just One Yeardespite having loved Just One Day.

Instead of picking up immediately after Just One Day, as I had hoped, Just One Year is the story of what happened to Willem during the year that he and Allyson were apart. I appreciated the fact that Willem’s backstory was elaborated upon, but the plot’s slow pace failed to keep my interest – to the point where I could easily walk away from the book for days on end and not be plagued with curiosity over what happens next.

For the majority of the book, I was not a fan of Willem. Instead of the charismatic, flirty actor/experienced traveler that we saw glimpses of in Just One Day, Willem was not the mysterious, strong, caring individual that I expected; instead, he’s the kind of man who runs away from all of his problems. I liked that he was willing to make an effort to find Allyson, but the extent of his fixation over her (constant comments about how he can’t forget about her and how much he likes her) wasn’t very convincing or believable.

Just One Year‘s saving grace is Gayle Forman’s beautiful writing. The pages of my ARC are filled with sticky notes lining all of her beautiful and deep quotes that burrowed their way into my mind and my heart.

Overall, Just One Year didn’t add anything to Allyson’s story and, as a result, it failed to live up to my expectations.

I received an ARC from Razorbill Canada in exchange for an honest review.

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