Book Review: Just One Year by Gayle Forman

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. . . .

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.

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“It was like she gave me her whole self, and somehow as a result, I gave her more of myself than I ever 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.”

I’m starting to think that Gayle Forman’s duologies just aren’t for me. I really enjoyed If I Stay but just couldn’t get into Where She Went, and now I find myself disappointed with Just One Yeardespite having loved Just One Day.

Instead of picking up immediately after Just One Day, as I had hoped, Just One Year is the story of what happened to Willem during the year that he and Allyson were apart. I appreciated the fact that Willem’s backstory was elaborated upon, but the plot’s slow pace failed to keep my interest – to the point where I could easily walk away from the book for days on end and not be plagued with curiosity over what happens next.

For the majority of the book, I was not a fan of Willem. Instead of the charismatic, flirty actor/experienced traveler that we saw glimpses of in Just One Day, Willem was not the mysterious, strong, caring individual that I expected; instead, he’s the kind of man who runs away from all of his problems. I liked that he was willing to make an effort to find Allyson, but the extent of his fixation over her (constant comments about how he can’t forget about her and how much he likes her) wasn’t very convincing or believable.

Just One Year‘s saving grace is Gayle Forman’s beautiful writing. The pages of my ARC are filled with sticky notes lining all of her beautiful and deep quotes that burrowed their way into my mind and my heart.

Overall, Just One Year didn’t add anything to Allyson’s story and, as a result, it failed to live up to my expectations.

I received an ARC from Razorbill Canada in exchange for an honest review.

Top Ten Books On My Fall TBR List

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Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly book meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. Each week, she posts an idea relating to books and encourages other book bloggers to respond with their own top ten lists.

This week’s topic is “top ten books on my fall tbr list.” This one was so difficult to narrow down to only ten items, since there are so many books that I want to read, and there are so many fall releases that look excellent. Here are a mere ten of the books that I’m excited to read:

1. Perfect Ruin by Lauren DeStefano
I loved the Chemical Garden trilogy, so I can’t wait to read Perfect Ruin. The synopsis sounds interesting, and all of the snippets that Lauren has been teasing us with via her twitter account just make me even more excited to read this!

2. The Naturals by Jennifer Lynn Barnes
I’ve read a lot of early reviews of this, and the general consensus is that it’s an excellent book. I love CSI-type stories, and the fact that teenagers are working with the FBI in this makes it even better!

3. Vicious by Victoria Schwab
I’m seriously so excited for this one. I was able to preview the first 100 pages through Netgalley, but of course the story left off at an incredibly interesting part — which means that I’ve been impatiently waiting for the release date ever since. I need more morally ambiguous superheroes in my life.

4. Allegiant by Veronica RothI’ve had this book on pre-order for what seems like forever. I can’t wait to see how Tris and Four’s journey ends, and I’m incredibly excited to see part of their adventure from Four’s perspective. Of course, I probably won’t be able to read it until early winter (thanks, university) but just knowing that it will be at home waiting for me upon its release makes me feel warm and fuzzy inside.

5. More Than This by Patrick Ness
It’s no secret that I’m in love with Patrick Ness’ writing. Between A Monster Calls and the Chaos Walking series, Patrick Ness has made me feel every possible emotion, and his words have impacted my life in a meaningful way. I’ve seen a few glowing reviews of this book, so I can’t wait to read it!

6. Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell
This book is basically about my life, so even if it weren’t by Rainbow, it’d certainly end up on my to-read list. Of course, the fact that it is a Rainbow Rowell book makes me want to read it even more — after reading Eleanor & Park and Attachments, she’s definitely near the top of my “instant-add to tbr” list.

7. The Year of Shadows by Claire Legrand
This book looks so good. I love middle grade books and I love books about ghosts, so this sounds like the perfect fit! Claire Legrand is also pretty fantastic, so I’m really excited to (finally) read one of her books.

8. The Dream Thieves by Maggie Stiefvater
I know, you’re probably all thinking, “but Erin, this book has been on so many of your lists, how have you not read it yet?” I’m thinking the exact same thing. It was (finally) published today, so you can bet that I’ll certainly be paying Gansey and my Raven Boys a visit sometime soon!

9. Fortunately, The Milk by Neil GaimanI know that this is a children’s book… but it’s written by Neil Gaiman, so it just has to be on my to-read list. Seriously, I’d read his grocery lists. It looks like such a cute, fun, and strange story, and I can’t wait to read it to the kids that I babysit!

10. Just One Year by Gayle Forman
I can’t wait to read Willem’s story – taking a peek into his head is going to be such a fun experience! I’ve seen excellent reviews for this, so I’m sure that it will be just as good as Just One Day.

Which books are on your fall to-read list?3