Just One Year by Gayle Forman

I waited a long time to read this.

In Forman’s Just One Day, we met Allyson – a fresh high school graduate on a European adventure with her best friend. The student travel company didn’t take the group through Paris, much to Allyson’s chagrin, so when a couple of chance encounters with a seemingly professional traveler (and all-around hot guy), Willem, lead to a chance to go to Paris she can’t pass it up. And that day, even though it was just one day, was magical. But when an accident happens that separates the two before they say their proper goodbyes, Allyson spends a long time looking for Willem again. It’s really, really good. It made me want to go to Paris – and all around Europe in general – even more than I already did.

Now, since the story of Just One Day focused on Allyson, a lot of questions were left unanswered about Willem… and he’s really a fascinating character. In Just One Year, we get to see his side of the whole story. Why he was travelling aimlessly, how he felt about Allyson (though he only knew her as Lulu). Where he goes to look for her. How he restores a broken relationship with his mother. How he grows up and becomes someone ready for Lulu if he finds her.

I really liked this, but I do wish there’d been more of Willem and Lulu together. I mean, because of the ending of Just One Day, we go into this one sort of knowing how it’ll end… or at least that they WILL, eventually, be reunited.  But I really was hoping they’d find each other like halfway through so we could spend time with them together. I want to see them succeed and be in love and all.

That being said, though, Just One Year is beautifully written. It takes a character that was unforgettable but questionable in Just One Day and makes me absolutely adore the person he is – what he’s gone through in the past, what he goes through during the course of the book, and what he sets himself up for in a future with Allyson. Plus, we get to travel to all sorts of beautiful places with him, which I loved. Forman does a great job of making every new location jump off the page.

Overall, I really like this set of books. I do hope Forman has plans for a third so we can really see Willem and Allyson together… or even a companion novel where they show up as minor characters. They become people you care about and want to see again, which says a lot about how well Forman writes them.

Check it out from your local book store or online. You can find it here at Amazon.

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