Author: Gayle Forman
Publisher: Viking Children’s Books
Series: Just One Day
Biblio 411: Just One Day (Just One Day, #1)
Biblio 411: Just One Year (Just One Day, #2)
Released: May 29, 2014
The Hook: Willem. Allyson. Squee!
I couldn’t believe I missed this novella! I read book one in October 2013. Loved it! Then read book two immediately after. And then I didn’t think to check back on this series. Just One Year ended perfectly. I mean, it left a lot of questions, but for the most part it was a happy ending and I was fine to leave it at that. And then a couple of months ago, when I decided to reread the series, I see this novella! I couldn’t believe it. I was upset to have missed it–I mean it’s been out for two years now!–and at the same time I couldn’t wait to read it. I just love this whole story.
So, Just One Night picks up immediately at the end of Just One Year. To refresh your memory, at the end of Just One Year Willem answers the door and pulls Allyson in for a kiss. End scene. How perfect is that?
The opening of Just One Night continues that kiss and continues on. And since it’s a novella, there’s not much room for a summary without me spoiling the entire book! Just know that we get to see more of Willem, Allyson, and the gang who helped them find each other.
All right. The concept of a girl heading off to Europe, meeting the boy she ends up loving, then disappears with you never knowing his full name is just extraordinary. Then, the concept of a boy meeting the one girl who captured his heart, then went missing because she thought you left without you even getting her real name is . . . wow. And to see them “stained” by each other, without even meaning to. The whole idea of it just sweeps you off your feet, so to speak. I loved it from Allyson’s perspective and I loved it even more from Willem’s perspective. Just One Night brings Allyson and Willem’s story full circle because we see them reuniting and we see them getting to really know each other, confirming all the feels they had the year before.
Most people love a love story and there are so many ways love can develop between two people. I’m sure you, or someone you know, can relate to missed opportunities or second chances. We all love a second chance. We all want to hope for the happily ever after. And this is what makes this story epic in my book. From start to finish.
Allyson and Willem both developed, or should we say matured, in their own ways. We seen how Allyson and Willem grew into their own persons, seeing the influence they had on each other in their own stories. With this novella, we get to see they’ve learned their lessons and now their reconciling their separate selves into this one bond. In addition to Allyson and Willem, Forman gives us more access to the secondary characters. We see Broodje and how he saw his best friends struggles. We see Dee and how he sees his friendship with Allyson. We see everyone who played a part in this story piece together Allyson and Willem’s story.
The story unfolds by going back and forth between what Willem is thinking and feeling to what Allyson is thinking and feeling. As they relate to each other the events following Willem’s disappearance and all the near misses they had throughout the year blend into one and it’s done well. Scenes follow each other in a way that tells pieces of their story while connecting them like a puzzle and slowly we start to see the whole picture. All the puzzle pieces put together.
I’m not sure what it is about Gayle Forman’s style, but I really enjoy it. In this novella it’s almost as if you see the narrator. Most stories are in a first person perspective, even when they bounce back and forth among characters. Just One Day and Just One Year is in Third Person POV. In Just One Night we see a mixture of Omniscient POV when Willem and Allyson are together in the scene and Third Person POV when they are separate and this blend works really well (And I hope I’m getting this right. I’m still learning about different aspects of story telling so bear with me if I didn’t get this right. Besides, I hear Omniscient POV is hard to nail down so . . . yeah).
As mentioned, I was happy with the ending Just One Year gave us. I really did. As much as I love the ending in Just One Year, I am really glad Gayle Forman added this novella to the series. She tied up loose ends and gave us greater depth with Allyson and Willem’s story.
First and foremost, if you haven’t already noticed, this is a romance. A young adult, teen reads, romance. So skip it if you’re not into that. And you need to read Just One Day and Just One Year to understand and appreciate Just One Night, so if you haven’t read books one and two, hold off on this one until you do.
And since this novella wraps up this series rather nicely, a few words on the series as a whole. What I enjoyed most about this story is how Forman used themes of second chances, near misses, and fate. I love how we see “the truth and its opposite are flip sides of the same coin.” And if you want to see a little of that, this series is for you.