As much as I enjoyed Forman's IF I STAY and WHERE SHE WENT, both were only 4-star stories for me. They were enjoyable, emotional, and extremely intense - but something kept me from loving them. Whatever I was missing from those two novels, JUST ONE DAY has it. Allyson Healey's journey begins after a chance encounter with Willem, who offers to take her Paris for an incredible, chaotic day of adventure. But the next day, he's gone, she's alone, and so begins the next adventure as Allyson attends college, takes a Shakespeare class, figures out who she is and where she's going next in this bittersweet coming of age story.
It may be a story you've heard before: Girl meets boy, instant and intense connection, one memorable and romantic adventure that ends far too quickly and messily. But, Forman knows her characters intricately, and it shows because the characters - with their quirky and endearing qualities - are the ones who lift the story up and make it fly. JUST ONE DAY is the most perfectly imperfect story of love, loss, friendship, chance, change, random acts of kindness*, independence, misunderstandings, and bravery. I wish I could do this novel some justice by giving it a remarkable review that inspires someone to pick this book up, but I guess I'll have to settle for simply saying this: do not let this story pass you by.
HIGHLIGHTS: Forman features imperfect characters and situations. Allyson isn't perfect or a cookie-cutter heroine, but flawed and evolving. Forman expertly writes emotion, making you grin at the flirty banter, blush at the more romantic moments, and even stirs sympathy deep within your core as Allyson finds herself in her lowest moment. The characters** and locations*** are wonderfully written. I especially love the helpfulness and kindness of the some of the side characters. Life and friendships are not easy and don't always work out as you reach adulthood, so I appreciate Forman for portraying Allyson's life (every up and down) as realistically as possible.
LOWLIGHTS: Waiting for the sequel? Yes, that's a definite lowlight. I need JUST ONE YEAR and I need it now. *glares at calendar*
* Seriously, there were some moments where I felt all warm and fuzzy inside, just because of the kindness random characters showed to Allyson and other characters. I like to hope that there are plenty of people like that in the world.
** Dee! I adore Dee. And Willem, too.
*** Paris! I want to go there so badly. It sounds lovely.
**** Received an unsolicited ARC of the novel from publisher, and purchased a paperback copy at a later date.