Just One Year by Gayle Forman | Book Review

Posted October 18, 2013 by Jana in Book Review, Young Adult Fiction / 10 Comments

Just One Year by Gayle Forman | Book ReviewJust One Year by Gayle Forman
Series: Just One Day #2
Published by Dutton Juvenile on October 10, 2013
Genres: Contemporary Romance, Romance
Pages: 336
Format: Hardcover
Source: Gift
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The heartrending conclusion—from Willem’s POV—to the romantic duet of novels that began with Allyson’s story in Just One Day

After spending an amazing day and night together in Paris, Just One Year is Willem’s story, picking up where Just One Day ended. His story of their year of quiet longing and near misses is a perfect counterpoint to Allyson’s own as Willem undergoes a transformative journey, questioning his path, finding love, and ultimately, redefining himself.

I loved Just One Day SO much. It is one of my favorite books ever! Just One Year was probably my most anticipated release this fall, and I was dancing around the house when my hardback arrived in the mail. I guess I was expecting something completely different from it, because I am so disappointed. I was hoping for a sweeping romance like the first book, which is not at all what I was given in Just One Year. Anyway, my main points are bolded.

1. This book was not a bad book at all. In fact, it was wonderful. Granted, there were a few passages that moved slowly and caused me to skim a page or two here and there, but I really enjoyed learning about Willem and what happened to him at the end of Just One Day. If I had not gone in with such high expectations, I know I would not have been disappointed. Gayle is a wonderful writer, and she creates amazing stories. Just One Year was great! I just wanted something completely different than she gave me with this book.

2. I connected with Allyson so much in Just One Day, and did not realize until I read Just One Year just how much I liked her. I missed her so much in Just One Year, and found I did not like Willem as much without her around to bring out the best in him. I think that was the point, though. We are meant to see Willem’s struggle, and who he is without Allyson in order to make us want him to find her. I longed for their reunion just as much as he did.

3. I liked the new characters we got to meet. Willem’s mom was endearing, and I enjoyed getting a glimpse into their tumultuous relationship. I liked Willem’s friends, particularly the one who went on part of Willem’s journey to find Allyson. I honestly can’t remember how to spell his name. Haha.

4. I was not the biggest fan of everything Willem did while he was looking for Allyson. I guess I had built him up as Mr. Perfect in my mind, so when he started sleeping with different women and doing drugs, I was so disappointed in him. My heat broke a little as I learned who Willem really is.

5. I enjoyed traveling with Willem on his journey, and I most of all enjoyed watching him learn so much about himself while he was gone. I’ve said it once, and I will say it again: traveling is the most magical way to discover yourself. I loved his happenings in Mexico, his return to India and the reasons behind that, and the string of events that brought him back to Holland. He went through a lot during this year, and even though I had a hard time with some of his choices, I could not help but cheer for him as he figured out what’s best for himself.

6. The ending made me really mad. Haha. I had originally been hoping that Just One Year would pick up right where Just One Day left off. Perhaps Willem would open his door, see Lulu standing there, hug and kiss her like crazy, and then tell her about his year. I would have loved to hear her input on his journey. I would have loved to see a ton of romance. I quickly discovered that would not happen, so I started hoping that the book would be long enough to have some time devoted to their reunion. I was at least hoping for an epilogue! There’s no after. I kind of feel abandoned now. Just as Willem left Allyson with no explanation, these two left me with no explanation.

I finished Just One Year almost a week ago, and I’m still having a hard time processing it. I almost decided to not even write a review. I figured I needed to, though, so I can come back to it someday and remember how I felt and see if I feel any differently as time goes on. I’m not giving it a star review, though, since I just don’t know how I feel. Honestly, my expectations were way too high. It’s like going on a date to a fancy restaurant with the love of your life and thinking he’s going to propose, but instead he dumps you. If I had gone into this book with no expectations, I would have been able to appreciate it for what it is rather than be disappointed in what it isn’t. Really, the only criticism I have is that it was not what I wanted, and it is not what my heart wanted.

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10 responses to “Just One Year by Gayle Forman | Book Review

  1. Lindsey V.

    Thank you so much for the review! I only just recently learned of this book and Just One Day and had been thinking of trying to find a copy to read. Your review helped me decide whether or not to read it, so great job! :-)

    I admit I’m a little leary of reading this book because of the hero sleeping around while trying to find the girl he left behind. Personally, I don’t know how a person can do such a thing while on his way to find another girl.

    Thanks again for the review.

    • Jana

      I’m glad you liked my review! I was definitely disappointed in Willem for sleeping around while he was so hung up on finding Allyson. He thought of her all the time, so I can’t understand why he would do that.

      I absolutely LOVED Just One Day, and it works perfectly as a standalone. You could just read that one. :) It’s magical! And who knows? You might end up deciding to learn more about Willem once you’re finished with it. :)

  2. RIGHT. I. FELT. ABANDONED. I made that same analogy myself haha!!! Great minds…
    I actually didn’t feel like Willem was Mr. Perfect so I wasn’t as put off by the other girls (Not like I liked it, but you know). The ending though… I just got so upset. I think I got my hopes up too high too. I still really liked the book and I appreciated seeing Willem’s story but it just didn’t quite end like I wanted it to!
    Brittany @ The Book Addict’s Guide recently posted…Fortnight of Fright: Horror Book Review – Celine @ Nyx Book Reviews

    • Jana

      AH! I am so glad someone else understands! I’ve read so many raving reviews with no criticism at all, and I thought there was something wrong with me! Haha. I guess we both fell victim to the high hopes syndrome. The book was really good, it was just not what I had hoped for. I’m really torn!

  3. Great review, Jana! I haven’t read Just One Day yet, but I really, REALLY want to. I have a copy sitting on my shelf, I just didn’t get around to picking it up yet. And now I regret, cause your glowing review got me super excited for this *series*. Good to know that Just One Year doesn’t pick up where Just One Day left off, I would probably hope for that, too, so now I can mentally prepare myself for the let-down. I’m so glad you enjoyed it, girl! Thanks for sharing your thoughts!

    PS. I love your blog! So pretty!!!
    Evie recently posted…Quarantine: The Saints by Lex Thomas (Review)

    • Jana

      Hi Evie! Thank you! I’m so glad you like my blog’s design. :) I did it myself, and love opinions!

      You will LOVE Just One Day! It’s amazing, and definitely in my top 5 favorites ever. :) And yes, if I had prepared myself for Just One Year, I would have been fine. It’s still really good, too!