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Just One Year by Gayle Forman

Just One Year

by Gayle Forman

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Read this review, and many more on my blog October Tune!

“Have you been gone for so long you’ve forgotten how to drink and drive a bike? How can you even call yourself Dutch anymore?”

In Just One Day, we read the story of Allyson, aka ‘Lulu’, who has an amazing day in Paris with the Dutch Willem. But the next morning, she wakes up all alone, Willem is nowhere to be found. Throughout the rest of the book, Allyson tries to both forget and find Willem, and at the end of the book we see that she does. But what has Willem done in that year? The answer to that question will be answered in Just One Year, the same story but from Willem’s point of view. We read of his journey to find his ‘Lulu’ again, of his travels and his acting. Of his friends, his (potential) lovers, and of his parents. If you haven’t read Just One Day, this review might have some minor spoilers.

I loved Just One Day, and I couldn’t wait to get my hands on the sequel. But like so many other sequels, I postponed buying/reading Just One Year for a while. Not as long as normally, sometimes it takes me months or even years to read the following book in a series, but this time it only took me about five/six months. Still, that’s quite a while, but for me it’s short! Like I probably said before, I am not a huge fan of romance books, but JOD and JOY both grabbed me right from the start. Maybe it was the fact that Willem is Dutch, like me, and all the mentions of Dutch things, such as hagelslag, broodjes and a ‘white tower that looks like a giant penis’. But of course, I just liked way the story was written as well!

What I liked:
I liked all the traveling. Willem loves traveling, and he hates being stuck in one place for too long. But due to certain circumstances he stays in Amsterdam and/or Utrecht for at least half of the book. The other half, he is traveling to Mexico, to Mumbai, and not entirely without reason. He is trying to find his Lulu, but he doesn’t remember her real name. I personally thought all the Dutch things were very well written, because it happens a lot that when someone wants to show that a person is Dutch and they do it all wrong (by making them sound German mostly). This book actually corrects that (there have been a couple of times where Willem told people that he’s Dutch, not German). A tiny pet peeve of mine, is that they kept calling the Netherlands ‘Holland’. Yes, that might be a bit easier to type than ‘The Netherlands’ the entire time, but Holland really is just two of the provinces (North and South Holland).

We meet a lot of new characters in this book, including some of Willem’s friends. Robert-Jan, aka Broodje (sandwhich) was my favourite. He’s Willem’s best friend, and he’s just really awesome. In JOD he is described as a Hobbit, and that is what I pictured the entire time I read JOY; a Dutch hobbit named Broodje. There is also Henk and W, who is dating Lien, and a lot of other Dutch characters. All the Dutch names just made me incredibly happy, and also made me laugh out loud because it made me wonder how non-Dutch people were pronouncing them in their heads. There are also some of Willem’s ex girlfriends (or well, not sure if they were really girlfriends or just ‘flings’) and there was one in particular which just made me cringe. And there are the people that Willem meets on his new journeys, including Kate, which is my favourite. She helped him near the end of the book, for the play in het Vondelpark, where Allyson went to see him near the end of JOD.

I have to admit, I am a bit jealous of Willem, because he’s able to just travel anywhere he wants, whenever he wants. I wish I could do that sometimes, just pack a bag with just some clothes, money, a toothbrush, my phone, maybe a notebook and a camera, and just randomly pick a place to go to. Because that is what Willem was doing – or was planning on doing – at the beginning of the book. Though he is a traveler, he spends at least half of the story in the Netherlands, mostly in Amsterdam or Utrecht, but that didn’t bother me a lot, because I just loved reading about my country from the perspective of someone who wasn’t from here (I mean the author, of course). I have to say it again, Gayle Forman did a great job.

The writing in JOY was very good, but I hadn’t expected anything else. I loved JOD and If I Stay (still need to read Where She Went though, oops). It was so well written, that it took me less than twelve hours to finish the book, something I haven’t had in a while, I think.

What I didn’t like:
I have to say, there weren’t really things I disliked about this book, apart from the fact that sometimes Allyson and Willem were so close to seeing each other again, and then they didn’t. It actually made me a bit sad, haha. Also, the ending was quite disappointing, in my opinion (and I think almost everyone who’s read the book agrees with me). Because (spoiler? I think), it ends just the same as Just One Day, with them finding each other again in Amsterdam and that’s it. End of story. But, in answer to that, Gayle Forman has written ‘Just One Night’ a 40 page novella about what happens after this book, and I am reading it right now!

I loved Just One Year, absolutely loved it. Together with the first book, I think this series made me want to read more (well written) romance books. Yes, you heard it right, I am starting to like romance more, all thanks to Willem and Allyson (even though their relationship was kind of insta-love, which is still something I despise). If you want to read a nice story about love, one that is not a trilogy, you should definitely read Just One Day and Just One Year! ( )
  october.tune | Nov 15, 2017 |
Willem has always been a lover and a leaver, and he doesn't necessarily loathe his life...until, one day, he met this girl, whom he called "Lulu." All they had together was one day, but that day changed his life.

Now, almost a year later, he is lost without her...and worst of all, he doesn't even know her real name. His journey to find the girl, ends up allowing him to find himself, and mend bridges he didn't know could be mended.

Just when it seems that he can accept that he will not find his "Lulu," and decides to move to the US to pursue his acting, there is a knock at the door..."Hello Willem, my name is Allyson."

The theme isn't so much that these lovers reconnect, because that seems the obvious outcome, but the journey they each take in trying to find themselves and each other.

( )
  shannon.dolgos | Sep 5, 2017 |
After reading Just One Day, I couldn't wait to begin Just One Year in hopes of a continuation of Just One Day and finding out what they had to say to one another after a year apart. Boy was I a bit disappointed when I started reading the book and as I got further along I started to realized that this was simply Williem's version of Just One Day and what he did the year following that one day. I enjoyed the book and hearing Williem's version of the story but I have difficulty with Williem's character and how he seems almost too perfect, how he's exactly what we were hoping him to be, which is unrealistic and I have a hard time imagining a guy pining as much a Williem did in this book. That's not to say that there aren't guys out there pining after girls but a boy who kind of "use and abuse" women and then move along like Williem doesn't seem like the sort to pine. I don't want to stereotype guys, but that's exactly what I'm doing with these statements. I suppose just because I haven't encounter guys like that doesn't mean that they don't exist. It was just hard to believe in Williem's character after reading Just One Day.

I do like and hate how close Williem and Allyson get to finding one another, being at the same location in South America, at the same New Year's Eve Party and yet they still manage to miss one another. I like it because it just goes to show how important timing is in life. I hate it because what are the chances that Williem and Allyson would end up at the same party listening to the same music and yet not see or find one another. Again, I like and hate Williem's journey after their one day together because it seems forced and yet I like it because I allows me to like him even more because it makes him seem like a redeemable person despite his original intent with Allyson in Just One Day.

Overall, the book was good. I don't think Williem's journey or transformation was as great as Allyson's and his journey seems a bit more inconceivable compared to Allyson's. I know this is fiction but sometimes fiction has to have some realism to it to make it relatable. I suppose I was hoping this was a continuation of what occurred at the end of Just One Day that I am a bit disappointed that it's not. ( )
  jthao_02 | May 18, 2017 |
After accidentally being separated from Lulu after their epic day in Paris, Willem is left with no way to contact or find her. He doesn't even know her real name. Already at loose ends due to family tragedy, he now begins searching for her and for himself. Sequel to Just One Day. ( )
  lilibrarian | Dec 6, 2016 |
I spent that one day with that one girl. One day.

One day of watching the rise and fall of her sleep under the rolling clouds in that park and feeling so peaceful that I fell asleep myself.

One day of being under her protection - I can still feel the grasp of her hand as we flew through the streets after she threw the book at the skinheads, her grip so strong that it felt like we were one person, not two.

One day of being the beneficiary of her strange generosity the barge ride, the watch, that honesty, her willingness to show fear, her willingness to show courage.

It was like she gave me her whole self, and somehow as a result, I gave her more of myself than I even realized there was to give. But then she was gone.

And only after I’d been filled up by her, by that day, did I understand how empty I really was.

Quede exactamente igual que al final del primer libro: Queriendo más. ( )
  Glire | Jun 22, 2016 |
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"After spending an amazing day and night with a nameless girl in Paris, Willem embarks on his own transformative journey to find her once again"--

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