Book Review: Just One Day by Gayle Forman


Last month I finished reading Gayle Forman’s JustOne Day and loved it! Once again she succeeded in inspiring me in many different ways. Read on to find out more!

Just One Day is about Allyson, a girl always used to holding herself back on opportunities and keeping organisation and structure in her life. That is until on a class holiday, she meets Willem who whisks her away to Paris, where she spends the day experiencing wonderful delights and making impulsive decisions. It is a beautiful coming of age story which is well worth a read.

The moment I started reading Just One Day I knew I was going to love it. Who wouldn’t love a main character who likes Shakespeare?? However, during the first section of the book I did think that Just One Day could end up being like any other romance book. Girl meets Boy, they magically fall in love, the end. With that in mind, I was very excited when certain events in the first section took the story in a direction that I didn’t expect. That really sold it for me! Just One Day isn’t just about love. It’s about self-development; learning to love yourself before you love other people. Striving to be the best person that you can be.

Gayle Forman always writes characters who are both likable and relatable. Her characters are never perfect, they always have flaws that are frequently brought to the reader’s attention. Allyson’s flaw is that she holds herself back due to being anxious and negative while also letting family members control her life instead of standing up for herself. She also overthinks and constantly tells herself she is not good enough. I was struck by how similar she was to me. Being an over thinker myself, I could definitely relate. Therefore, it was an inspiration seeing her develop and grow as a person. She learnt to fulfil herself, face her fears and create her own happiness. It was lovely to read!

Willem actually frustrated me for many different reasons. I found him too unreliable and closed off. I can’t wait to read Willem’s side of the story in Just One Year to understand him more. All the other characters in the story are realistic and lovely. They all have their own little quirks, which makes them very interesting to meet!

My praises don’t stop with the characters and plot, the themes also shine through in this book! The main theme from Just One Day is self-actualisation. By choosing taking risks and taking opportunities that interest her, Allyson realises her full potential. She becomes brave and strong by putting herself in situations that are challenging. It was wonderful seeing a character climb to the top.
I also loved the travel element in this book. You are taken to so many different places, the main being Paris! I really enjoyed the references to different landmarks and travelling experiences. Now I want to go travelling myself.

Finally, I must comment on the lovely writing style. Gayle Forman’s books are nearly always set in first person. You get a direct connection to the main character’s feelings and can understand her really well. Her writing style is simple, but filled with small details and quirky references. Each line is filled with emotion, and are truly quotable. It is written to be relatable to the reader. Some lines I’ve even said myself!

My only criticism of this book is that I wanted to know more from the ending. There were a lot of questions unanswered, but luckily there’s a sequal! Hurrah!

Based on the Goodreads rating system Just One Day is a solid 5 stars! Even if the ending wasn’t quite what I wanted, I loved the journey of reading it. I didn’t feel rushed to end the story; I was immersed in every page! I’ve already ordered the sequel to find out what happens next.

I’d love to hear your thoughts too. Have you read any of Gayle Forman books? If you’ve read Just One Day, what did you think of it? Comment down below, and we can have a good old chat!

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