Just One Year by Gayle Forman
Release Date - October 10, 2013 (Oct 15 in Canada)
Publisher Website - Penguin
Publisher Social Media - Twitter
Pages - 323 pages
My Rating - 5/5
**obtained for review from publisher**
Here is the Goodreads synopsis
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. . . .Just One Year is a novel that stains you, leaves it's lasting mark and fills you with an incredible wanderlust. It advocates letting those life changing moments influence you because YOU want them to, and to not be afraid to grasp them when they arrive.
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.
This duology demands to be read together. Neither is complete without the other. Allyson's story needs Willem's point of view and vice versa. At the end of both, I was left with a feeling of deep contentment. I had immersed myself in Allyson and Willem's journey, and had come to care about both of them. I missed Allyson as I followed Willem down his own path, but delighted in getting to know who Willem is. He was the big question mark of Just One Day and this novel fills in those questions with answers. I feel I know him as well as I know Allyson, and that his story was not just something I wanted, but nessicariy to complete Allyson's own. I found myself wanting to know exactly where Allyson was at various moments so that you can experience the excruciating reality of near misses, and the heart breaking moments where Willem's journey takes him not anywhere close to Allyson. Keeping Just One Day close by is recommended.
If Just One Day was Allyson's journey to arriving on Willem's doorstep, Just One Year is Willem's journey to the same. Those months change both of them profoundly, and I waited with held breath to see what would happen when we finally get both of them there. As I want to remain as spoiler free as possible, all I will say is that the ending is exactly what it needs to be. Sometimes it is not about the end point, but the journey. This is one of those times. The people who they are when they both reach that point is going to dictate everything that comes after, and I felt I was leaving both Allyson and Willem in a place that regardless of what may or may not come next for them together, they could find their own double happiness....whatever that happened to be for each of them.
The family connections, especially in Just One Year, are vital to story. Willem's relationship with his mother felt honest, unflinchingly real, and complicated. It's those connections that breaths life into Gayle Forman's novels, and make them so much more than what they seem at first glance. She makes Willem more than you expect because of the relationships defined in this novel. We get to experience a change in him that is so profound it is almost more rewarding than Allyson's transformation.
Catalysts come in many different forms, and sometimes it's a person who sets you on that unexpected path. For both Allyson and Willem their one day together caused ripples that left amazing changes in their wake. It's a look at a time in your life where things are uncertain, you are changing and growing, and sometimes something or someone can open your eyes and help you take flight.
A novel about embracing those little moments, finding out who you currently are, and most importantly, who you want to be. This duology is not one to be missed, and I do recommend reading them together to get the full impact of this romantic, incredibly moving story.