Just One Day by Gayle Forman – Borrowed from my local library
I’m a bit conflicted over how I feel about this book. This is my first Gayle Forman book and I have to say, the writing itself was great.
I love the concept, and I was excited to see how it would work. Part of me was hoping/dreading that it would like a dodgy episode of 24. Heh heh. But no, I enjoyed how it was set up, and how that ‘one day’ became a catalyst (for better or worse) for the remainder of the book.
Somehow though, I didn’t find myself that invested in the characters. Both Willem and Allyson are well-rounded, engaging characters and I was glad to keep reading the story unfold between them. But there was a missing connection somewhere. To me, this felt much more like a plot driven story than a character one (how do you have one without the other, I hear you ask? You can’t, not really, but sometimes one aspect feels more important than the other, you know?)
I think it proves a point about having a relationship with someone (friend, lover, nemesis, whatever) that only lasts a day. It isn’t enough.
Sure, it’s enough to drive you round the bend, and it’s enough to make you do crazy things, but one of the secondary characters warns Allyson about letting someone grow in size and expectation in your head when you’re separated from them (who was that? I can’t remember!)
I was surprised by the ending. But also not. Weirdly, part of me knew it wasn’t going to have a conventional HEA here, and whereas it’s more in line with ‘reality’, I was left feeling like I’d been cheated out of a big smasher of a finale. The ending is appropriate. But unsatisfying.
Gayle Forman is a brilliant writer. That much can be said. As a Shakespeare fan, I appreciated the references. I also thought the way sex and intimacy was handled was top notch and I look forward to reading more from her (even if I’m a little worried about the change of perspective for book #2 here..)
I gave Just One Day a healthy 4 out 5 stars. Because despite some things that I didn’t quite gel with, I loved the writing itself, and I’m still holding out for the HEA that my heart of hearts really wants.