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review 2016-05-05 16:45
Just One Day by Gayle Forman
Just One Day - Gayle Forman
He showed me how to get lost, and then I showed myself how to get found.


Just like this book, I'm divided in three parts. (Not literally of course, I'm still alive, obviously.) But my reactions can be summed up like this: yawn, frustration, and wtf, no?. Let's see why.

Part One - yawn
Just one day opens up with Allyson being bored and disappointed in her trip to Europe her parents sent her on before college. The cities aren't as romantic as in the movies. Allyson just wants to go home and get it over with because of this, and I couldn't care less about her middle class, white girl problems. She's on a trip some people can only dream of, and sure, Europe might not be the magical place some people make it out to be in movies, but it's still amazing (objectively speaking, of course). It's more than just the big tourist attractions (Big Ben, Colosseum, and what more). Yet, all Allyson does is complain and whine, making it impossible to care for her.

Introducing Willem. Traveler Willem who is always smirking and laughing and sprouting off pretentious stuff about stains and love and freedom. With Willem, the author is all tell and no show, creating nothing but a hollow aura of a supposed personality that's supposed to be charming around him. Allyson does something so out of character for her - she agrees to let this stranger take her to Paris for the day before she's heading home to the States. Suddenly everything is the magical Europe she wanted it to be when he's showing her the city. When she isn't complaining about every single woman in this book, that is. Then it's all about how she's not pretty enough, how every other woman wants Willem (or some other boy) and how Allyson could never measure up to any of them.

Yup, Allyson's a complete Mary Sue.

Moving on, Allyson and Willem spend a day, full with adventures and flirtation, but due to the (my?) inability to sympathize with any of these two, it's mainly just a description (sometimes wrong) of Europe and Paris. Then. when the day is over, Willem is gone and Allyson must return to the States.

The first part is simply about a young woman complaining about how she's not pretty or interesting enough, and whining about her middle class struggles. Which is the entire reason for the yawn. Add in a supposedly charming boy and something very close to instalove, and that's the whole recipe for falling asleep.

Part Two - Frustration
Part two deals with the falling out of Allyson's trip to Europe. When she arrives at college, her mother has planned out her coming years for her. It's decided Allyson is to do pre-med, and her mother is constantly checking up on her. Allyson, who's falling into a depression, can do little about her situation and feels lost. Her grades are dropping, her old best friend is becoming more and more distant, and Allyson is generally very lost.

This part of the story is a great deal better than the first. Seeing Allyson's own frustration with her situation (both with college and her mother) is easier to relate to. Expectations versus what can actually be done. For a year, we follow Allyson through her year at college. Of her trying to hide the truth from her parents and almost friends. Of her trying to understand what she wants and needs. And his is the kind of story I appreciate.

At the same time as I sympathized and related to Allyson, she's still a Mary Sue and some parts frustrated me to no end. For example, while it's clear Allyson is depressed and wishes to hide this fact from her parents, it doesn't give her the right to let her parents spend 40k on her going into pre-med when she's actually taking pottery classes without letting her parents know about it. Here's the thing: you don't do that with other people's money. So I felt the frustration Allyson had while facing her depression and trying to force herself through college, and at the same time frustration over Allyson's at times childish behavior.

Part Three - wtf,no?
This part will make least sense as I don't want to spoil the ending. But basically, after a year, Allyson decided to go back to Paris, hoping to find answers. This I too appreciated. She's faced her depression and is now looking for truths about herself and also the time spent in Paris a year ago. There's a great difference in the Allyson from the year before and the Allyson returning to Paris. She's stronger and determined. Trying to find Willem again isn't an easy task though.

Here comes the wtf, no? part. Because we learn close to nothing about Willem in the beginning (and the relationship between him and Allyson was forced at best) it's hard to feel and understand Allyson's need to see him again. During her search for Willem, Allyson does find answers, both about herself and him. When the ending finally draws near, Allyson had almost, almost won me over. Her musings on their time together and what it meant to her is nothing but raw truths. Had the book ended two or three pages before the actual ending, I would've been all over that. As it is, I think the author went one step further than necessary (but completely necessary of you want a sequel...). It is really the last two pages that caused the wtf, no? reaction in me, everything prior to that was part frustration over Allyson's obsession with Willem - that still, due to all the telling in the first part on his character, wasn't convincing to me - and part cheering Allyson on for her newfound strength.

So while Just One Day takes a good look at depression, it's also lacking in characterization of its secondary character (mainly Willem). The first part wasn't capturing enough with its all tell, no show writing and lack of characters to sympathize with. But the second part is worth praise for its portrayal of depression, and then the last part swoops in and is both great and bad. All in all, a decent read that could've done with better characterization.

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review 2016-02-23 19:05
Read this if you want to get excited about traveling
Just One Day - Gayle Forman

Okay, so I know this book is supposed to be this big amazing long-distance love story, which it is, and that is super cute and makes you just ooze sunshine and rainbows out of your pores, but holy crap this book made me want to travel. (Yes, I'm currently living in New Zealand for a year but that involves real life crap like a job.)

 

I need to get to Europe bad. I want to explore cities and just go for it like Allyson did. She's my kind of girl. Sorry, let's talk some real review stuff. I'd heard good things about Gayle Forman so, as I was barred from the Scifi/Fantasy section in the library due to a broken window, I picked over the Teen section and came home with this. 

 

There are plenty of adult books that I really love because they are profound and funny and have just the right amount of silliness. But I love teen books because they explore all those raw teen emotions in a completely unapologetic way, they don't hold back because something might be seen as too whiney or too dramatic. It's a teen book! We're dealing with teens! It better be whiney and dramatic (but in a good way). 

 

Forman's writing is easy to get through but is still good writing (one of my favorite lines is, "A condom materialized." Bloody brilliant). She captures those new and tumultuous years after high school where everyone is off to uni and you are growing and learning so much so fast. And I absolutely love Dee as a character. He's fantastic. 

 

Now I just need to track down a copy of Just One Year to figure out what the hot Dutch guy was up to that whole time!

 

~Ren

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review 2016-02-09 20:01
Review: Just One Year (Just One Day #2) by Gayle Forman
Just One Year - Gayle Forman

I don't want to show you the summary of this book, because it spoils everything for the first book. I did a review of that one (with a summary) as well, so klick here for the summary and review.

 

My opinion:

I finished it last week and didn't know if I should even do a review about it, but I decided today that I should just do it haha.

This book was really good as well. I loved the Dutch references because they were so relevant and actually true facts. It was a nice addition to the first novel. I also really liked the travel aspects and how he goes everywhere he wants (that reminds me of a friend of mine haha). However, I felt like this book didn't have those dark aspects as the first book.

I also agree that this book would have been much better if the #2.5 novella would have been in this book, because that made the story just way much better (this is a duology, so it would have been way much better if the conclusion was in this novel and not in the novella).

 

It's still worth the read and I was wrong with my debate if I should read it or not. If you liked Just One Day, then read Just One Year As well.

 

Are you going to read this series?

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text 2016-01-23 10:30
Around the world recommendations #1

I always try to read as diversely as possible. This means I've read quite a lot about stories that don't take place in the US and/or UK. The Passenger challenge is going around on Booktube right now and I thought it would be a great idea to start a new series on my blog. Every once in a while I want to recommend some books that don't take place in the US and/or UK.

This time I've decided to recommend six books. Three of them take place in Europe (and only one for a part in the UK) and three outside of Europe, so from Africa and/or Asia.

1. Burmese Days by George Orwell

Keywords: India, coloniasm, unique main character, misformed face, heartbreaking, love story.

 

2. Sold by Patricia McCormick

Keywords: Nepal, young girl, prostitution, unique writing style, heartbreaking.

 

3. Purple Hibiscus by Chimamanda Ngozie Adichie

Keywords: Nigeria, 1960's, religion culture, abusive father, girls who get punished for stupid reasons, want to throw book to the other side of room, makes you angry it still excists today.

4. Pippi Longstocking by Astrid Lindgren

Keywords: Sweden, unrealistic, children's novel, funny, adventurous.

 

5. The Boy In The Striped Pyjamas by John Boyne

Keywords: Germany (Berlin), World War II, children's story, concentration camp, heartbreaking, wtf ending.

 

6. Just One Day by Gayle Forman

Keywords: part in UK and parts in France (Paris) and  the Netherlands, awesome Dutch culture/words, reastic, cute ya, lighthearthed, finding about who you are.

 

I could have recommended maybe six more, but that will I leave for the next time. All of these books that I just recommended are ''realistic''. I'm not sure if I will do a fantasy/science fiction one, but oh well.

 

What books that don't take place in the US/UK would you recommend?

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text 2015-12-31 09:46
December Wrap-Up + Currently reading

Usually I don't do wrap-ups before the month is even over, but I'm pretty sure that I wont be finishing any book today, so why not post it today, right?

I read 4 books in total, 1 short story and 1 novella:

  • Scarlet (Lunar Chronicles #2) by Marissa Meyer 5/5 ★ (re-read)
  • Little Women by Louisa May Alcott 4.5/5 ★
  • To-morrow by Joseph Conrad 1/5 ★ review
  • Just One Day (Just One Day #1) by Gayle Forman 4.5/5 ★ review series
  • Just One Night (Just One Day #2.5) by Gayle Forman ★
  • A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens 2/5 ★ review

 

I'm currently reading 2 books, which I've been reading for the past week:

I've been reading Good Wives by Louisa May Alcott, which it's the sequel to Little Women (it's in this bindup as well) and I'm absolutely loving this one as well! I've also been re-reading Cress by Marissa Meyer, which is the third book in the Lunar Chronicles series.

 

What have you read in December?

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