Book Review: Just One Day by Gayle Forman

Just One Day by Gayle Forman cover

Just One Day
by Gayle Forman
Goodreads | Amazon | Audible
Series: Just One Day #1
Published: January 8th 2013
Rating: pack your bags

Just One Day is the story of Allyson who is traveling around Europe with a tour group as a graduation present from her parents.  On her last night, she meets a charming Sutch actor Willem, and they decide to spend the day going to Paris before Allyson has to catch her flight back from London.

Allyson is so prim and proper that it would be easy to dismiss her. She comes off as fragile at first. She is an introvert, desperate to please, and has a well-meaning but completely overcontrolling mother. Her best  friend calls her "adventure adverse." I found her incredibly relatable.  She isn't sassy or the life of the party.  She is earnest, says less than she is thinking, and lives a fairly intense inner life.  She doesn't like huge crowds or noise. She struggles with opening herself up to friendship. She eventually shows her mettle on her journey of identity.

The instalove angle of this book was astonishingly well handled. Things develop very quickly between  Allyson and Willem. Their whole relationship at a whirlwind pace.  But there is always that question between them.  Is this real?  Like? Love? Lust? And how do we know? I loved how ambiguous he was. I am going to say it. Willem is the focus of so much attention in this book but really? He is irrelevant.  He could have been a new friend, a particular spot that touched, a pamphlet that urged her to break out of the narrow world that she had been living in. What Allyson is looking for isn't a lost love or someone to make her whole again.  She is looking for that day where she was truly herself.  She is navigating the new waters of adulthood while trying to figure out what parts of her character are really her and what parts thrust upon her by others. 

Sometimes the best way to find out what you’re supposed to do is by doing the thing you’re not supposed to do.

The cast is quite large and mostly well developed (with the exception maybe of her father and her roommates.) Dee is worth a whole book of his own. Allyson learns to open herself up to others and discovers that in doing so she can take away some valuable lesson in being from all of them. It is understated but one of my favorite parts of the novel.

YA travel novels are hard. I am a sucker for them, but I am pretty consistently disappointed. So often they are cheesy, full of stereotypes, or simply display no research whatsoever. Gayle Foreman, however, has clearly done some traveling. The frustrations, exhaustion, the build-up, and disappointments of the journey are all on display. It also shows the consistent grace and kindness that travelers encounter every day. This book has some of my favorite descriptions of Paris. I am a huge fan of Foremen's writing style.  She has a beautiful turn of phrase.

If you are looking for a cute uncomplicated romance, this isn't the book for you.  This is a book about losing yourself, finding yourself, and learning to figure out the difference.

That ending tho...

From Goodreads:

Allyson Healey's life is exactly like her suitcase—packed, planned, ordered. Then on the last day of her three-week post-graduation European tour, she meets Willem. A free-spirited, roving actor, Willem is everything she’s not, and when he invites her to abandon her plans and come to Paris with him, Allyson says yes. This uncharacteristic decision leads to a day of risk and romance, liberation and intimacy: 24 hours that will transform Allyson’s life.

A book about love, heartbreak, travel, identity, and the “accidents” of fate, Just One Day shows us how sometimes in order to get found, you first have to get lost. . . and how often the people we are seeking are much closer than we know.

Top Ten Books I am Looking Forward to this Fall

Top Ten Books I am Looking Forward to this Fall
Top Ten Tuesday is a meme hosted by the Awesome people over at The Broke and the Bookish.

Top Ten Tuesday is a meme hosted by the Awesome people over at The Broke and the Bookish.

know is threatening to come to life. I find it almost impossible not to add books to the list.  Someone mentions them in their TTT? On the list.  Link in a tweet? Yup, I bought it. What can I say? I am weak.  Also, completely okay with disposable income going towards books.  #IAmAnAdultAndYouCanNotStopMe

Here are the books that I am going to adding to my pile as soon as I can buy them.

The Language of Thorns: Midnight Tales and Dangerous Magic by Leigh Bardugo cover

The Language of Thorns: Midnight Tales and Dangerous Magic
by Leigh Bardugo

Goodreads | Amazon | Audible
Series: Sort of but not really?
Published: September 26th 2017

"It was only then that she saw the black-clad boy crossing the room toward her. The shadows seemed to shift as he passed, pulled along by him like a tide."

Leigh Bardugo is an auto buy author for me.  This is a collection of fairy tales from her Six of Crows world.  I need it in my life.

Dear Martin by Nic Stone cover

Dear Martin
by Nic Stone

Goodreads | Amazon | Audible
Series: no
Published: October 17th 2017

"Yeah, there are no more ‘colored’ water fountains, and it’s supposed to be illegal to discriminate, but if I can be forced to sit on the concrete in too-tight cuffs when I’ve done nothing wrong, it’s clear there’s an issue. That things aren’t as equal as folks say they are."

I preordered this the first day that it was allowed and I am so desperate for it that I am a little embarrassed.  

All the Crooked Saints by Maggie Stiefvater cover

All the Crooked Saints
by Maggie Stiefvater

Goodreads | Amazon | Audible
Series: no
Published: October 10th 2017

“You can hear a miracle a long way after dark.”

Maggie Stiefvater and magical realism.  This is not a drill. Go! Go! Go!

An Enchantment of Ravens by Margaret Rogerson cover

An Enchantment of Ravens
by Margaret Rogerson

Goodreads | Amazon | Audible
Series: no?
Published: September 26th 2017

"This wasn't like me. So many years of being cautious, and in a matter of minutes I'd started slipping up."

I am very attached to the word "Raven" in a title. No idea why. Fey fantasy isn't generally my thing but I am willing to make an exception.

Wild Beauty by Anna-Marie McLemore cover

Wild Beauty
by Anna-Marie McLemore

Goodreads | Amazon 
Series: no
Published: October 3rd 2017

“Of course he would think the whole glittering universe existed to spin anything he wanted out of stardust. He was a man, and a rich one, and these together made him believe the planets and moons orbited around the single point of his desires.”

I loved The Weight of Feathers  and When the Moon was Ours and am so excited about this one.  I love her writing style.

Warcross  by Marie Lu cover

by Marie Lu

Goodreads | Amazon | Audible
Series: (Warcross #1)
Published:  September 12th 2017

“It is hard to describe loss to someone who has never experienced it, impossible to explain all the ways it changes you. But for those who have, not a single word is needed.”

This one is out already but I haven't gotten to it yet.  Shocking I know.  On the surface it doesn't seem as if it is something that I would be interested in but the hype has gotten to me.  I am pretty excited.

Shadowhouse Fall  by Daniel José Older cover

Shadowhouse Fall
by Daniel José Older

Goodreads | Amazon | Audible
Series: (Shadowshaper #2)
Published: September 12th 2017

I was at the Shaolin Temple supervising kung fu last week and didn't get to this on.  (true story- see instagram on sideboard for evidence) It is my next wad.

That Inevitable Victorian Thing by E.K. Johnston cover

That Inevitable Victorian Thing
by E.K. Johnston


Goodreads | Amazon | Audible
Series: no
Published: October 3rd 2017

100% because of the title and the cover.  I am easy like that.

Akata Witch  by Nnedi Okorafor cover

Akata Witch
by Nnedi Okorafor

Goodreads | Amazon
Series: (Akata Witch #1)
Published: July 11th 2017

“Prejudice begets prejudice, you see. Knowledge does not always evolve into wisdom.”

This book is already out but the sequel is coming out on October 3rd and I want to read it.  That counts, right?  #rulebreaker

The Speaker  by Traci Chee cover

The Speaker
by Traci Chee

Goodreads | Amazon
Series: (Sea of Ink and Gold #2)
Published: November 7th 2017

The cover is stunning and it is #ownvoices fantasy.  Need.

What are you planning on reading this fall?


Book Review: Always and Forever, Lara Jean by Jenny Han

I love this cover

I love this cover

Always and Forever, Lara Jean
by Jenny Han
Goodreads | Amazon | Audible
Series: To All the Boys I've Loved Before #3
Published: May 2nd 2017
Rating: The ending I wanted

This is the sequel that I was waiting for. Just so much cute.  Lara Jean and Peter continue their relationship as they try to negotiate their launch into adulthood.

All of the conflicts in this book comes from the simple fact that Lara Jean and Peter are 18 and having to make their first huge life choices.  What are they going to do after graduation? Will they stay together? Go to college together? Plan their lives around one another? How much of your life can you plan out when you are only eighteen? What does it mean to be an adult and to grow up? Anyone who has graduated or is about to graduate know how this feels. I love the idea explored that sometimes disappointment can lead to unexpectedly open doors. 

Lara Jean is still one of my favorite YA contemporary YA characters ever.  Her introversion is so relatable. Yay, for staying home on a Saturday and baking cookies. I love that she stays so true to herself throughout the book even when she isn't sure what she truly wants. 

Why is Peter's mom such a b- about Lara Jean? I am going to say it: Lara Jean could probably do better than Peter.  I mean aside from being beautiful he isn't all that extraordinary.  Don't get me wrong; I love him.   I just think that we should acknowledge that Lara Jean is dating down. Having said I ship them forever and I won't be mad if Jenny Han writes a book set fifteen or years later where they are getting married.  Lara Jean deserves her ethereal wedding aesthetic. 

I guess that’s part of growing up, too—saying goodbye to the things you used to love.

The side characters in this book make me so happy. Kitty is the best little sister in the world.  She is just the perfect combination of obnoxious, independent, and sweet. I maintain that she deserves a spin off series of her own. I also love Margot's character arc in this book.  I started off being irritated by her choices, but I eventually came around.

Lara Jean talks about having nostalgia for a life that you still have. Which is such a relatable thing.  It reminds me of how I have felt right before moving from a country.  I am not gone yet, but I feel all wistful and generous because my time there is almost over and I won't be able to have that experience again. Lara Jean feels the same way about her high school life.  I can also relate to using micromanaging as a coping mechanism. I too, latch onto organization whenever things in my life feel out of control.  Lara Jean starts to fixate on details to distract herself from the fact that her life is not completely going according to plan.

Love Always, Lara Jean made me so happy.  I enjoyed every moment that I got to spend with Lara Jean and her family again and I am incredibly satisfied with how everything turned out.  If you enjoy contemporary romantic YA, I urge you to check this series out.

From Goodreads:

Lara Jean is having the best senior year. And there’s still so much to look forward to: a class trip to New York City, prom with her boyfriend Peter, Beach Week after graduation, and her dad’s wedding to Ms. Rothschild. Then she’ll be off to college with Peter, at a school close enough for her to come home and bake chocolate chip cookies on the weekends.

Life couldn’t be more perfect!

At least, that’s what Lara Jean thinks…until she gets some unexpected news.

Now the girl who dreads change must rethink all her plans—but when your heart and your head are saying two different things, which one should you listen to?