Just One Year by Gayle Forman

Just One Year - Gayle Forman

As soon as I finished Just one Day I moved straight onto this, the second in the series. In the past I’ve never been one for book series but I liked how this one worked in that it wasn’t a continuation of the story from the previous protagonist, Allyson’s, perspective. This book was instead told by Willem, the other half of the couple in Just One Day. I wasn’t uber-enthusiastic when I discovered it was basically a repackaged version of the same story, only told from a slightly different perspective. I thought this would make for a boring read, seeing as how I knew how everything turned out. I’ve never read something done in this way before and even though I knew how everything turned out and there wasn’t the same level of anticipation I’d had in the first book, I still enjoyed it, possibly even a bit more than the first because I liked Willem more than Allyson. If you’re planning to read the first book I wouldn’t read on because there night be a few spoilers. You’ve been warned!


At the end of Just One Day Allyson had finally found Willem after quite an extensive search, so I knew that Willem didn’t end up finding her, but I was still interested to know how he’d spent the intervening year. As it turned out, he spent the year they were apart in the same way as she did: thinking and looking for their counterpart.


Again the narrative spanned a large geographical area as Willem searched for Allyson, saw his mother and tried to get on with his life. There was Paris, Holland, Mexico, India and finally Holland again.


Willem was a pretty standard protagonist, but took on more dexterity when he visited his mother in India, who he has a strained relationship with. Most of Willem’s character was confined to his perspective on Allyson, so it definitely provided more depth when he was faced with other challenges, such as his mother.


In a lot of ways this book mirrored the last and felt very similar, in that both Allyson and Willem had difficulties in current time relationships while also looking for each other, the perfect relationship. The underlying theme was that their focus on each other, even at a distance, helped to rectify their present time problems. As I’m usually a little pessimistic, this idea seemed a bit naive to me, like love conquers all, but heh, I’m trying to be more open to these things.


The reason I liked this book more than the last is that this book felt a little more expansive. It covered more area geographically and generally felt more colourful or something than its predecessor. Willem was an actor and him starring in Bollywood and then a Shakespearian play in Holland gave the narrative a bit more life than Just One Day.


If there’s another book coming out I’ll definitely read it because I really want to know how things turn out for Allyson and Willem. Apart from that though, nothing earth shattering but a fun read regardless.