Book: Just One Day
Series: Just One Day #1
Author: Gayle Forman
When sheltered American good girl Allyson "LuLu" Healey first meets laid-back Dutch actor Willem De Ruiter at an underground performance of Twelfth Night in England, there’s an undeniable spark. After just one day together, that spark bursts into a flame, or so it seems to Allyson, until the following morning, when she wakes up after a whirlwind day in Paris to discover that Willem has left. Over the next year, Allyson embarks on a journey to come to terms with the narrow confines of her life, and through Shakespeare, travel, and a quest for her almost-true-love, to break free of those confines. - Goodreads
Review: I'm not even sure where to start with this one. Allyson is an only child to upper middle class parents and is beyond spoiled. She just graduated from high school and never had a real job. Her parents get her a trip to Europe for the summer (her best friend from childhood is also going) and she can't even enjoy herself (I'm sure taking a teen tour isn't that great, but come on. How many of us would have loved to tour Europe before college?) She is usually a Mary Sue type who follows the rules and never goes outside the box when she decides to go with Willem (pretty much a complete stranger) to Paris. As someone who once went to Mexico to meet friends sans cell phone and not even knowing where we were staying, I can see how sometimes we make crazy decisions. However, being 2013, she should have bought a cheap cell phone to stay in touch with her friend. I also knew this was a love story of sorts, but I couldn't help thinking 'this guy is going to rob you and rape you and no one will ever find you.'
Okay-onto the day in Paris. I was thinking this would be the BEST DAY EVER for Allyson...but there is no way I'd describe it as such. Yes, she donned a new persona and called herself Lulu when she was with Willem, but they essentially went on a train ride (where he disappeared for awhile and she was extremely insecure about being left behind by him), took a nap in a park in Paris, got into a fight with some people in said park, ran away, fought with Willem to the point that she was ready to leave...and then they make up, eat dinner, essentially break into a dirty artists building and then have sex. Then she wakes up, realizes he's gone and has a panic attack. Of course, she never gave him her real name and they have no way to contact each other. Does that sound like the best day of your life? No, me neither.
Okay, so Allyson returns home, falls into depression and goes off to college. Of course she doesn't tell her parents what happened and tries to put on a happy face for them. She doesn't bond with roommates because she's too busy wallowing in self pity. She's pre-med and while she was a straight A student in high school, she is not doing well in school. I do think Forman nailed how the transition to college can be tough for freshman and how we realize that our high school friends are perhaps not the real friends we thought they were. Allyson's friendship with Melanie was perhaps more habit then having mutual things in common (realistic for those of us friends with someone from elementary school through high school...and then we are not as close as we once where when we start college). However, I just could not stand Allyson. I realize she was depressed but being depressed about that crappy day in Paris and Willem leaving-I just wanted to reach into the book, slap her and tell her to get over it. It was a one night stand in a dirty building! As for her relationship with her parents, I was pleased with how they 'punished her' when they found out she was doing poorly in school and when she decided to stop pre-med classes to take things like pottery...and then lied to them about it. They made her actually get a real job (the horror!). She was extremely rude to her mother, who was having a hard time with her daughter leaving home. I will say I was hoping the mother would take some pre-med classes herself or find something useful to do while she was dealing with empty nest syndrome. As for the conclusion of the book, Allyson saves her money to go to Europe to track down Willem. I couldn't help feeling like she was a stalker for doing this.
Finally, we learn at the end of the book that something happened to Willem, which is why he wasn't there when she woke up, and the next book is told from his perspective. And like that...even thought I thought this was overall 'okay' I'm suckered into buying the next book. Arggg.