Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Review - Just One Year (Just One Day #2) by Gayle Forman

Just One YearTitle: Just One Year
Author: Gayle Forman
Series: 2nd (Just One Day)
Pages: 323
Published: October 10th 2013 by Dutton Juvenile 
ISBN: 9780525425922
Source: Publisher for honest review

Description: 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 Give This ...

I'm sure I'm not the only one who had this book on the highly anticipated list.  Gayle Forman has left her thumbprint on contemporary young adult fiction.  But, somewhere along the way, I felt this point of view lost it's way.  It almost hurt to write that down.

I think the romantic in me wanted Willem to be this lovestruck guy.  I wanted to him to be as devastated by the events as Alyson was.  I desperately needed him to be the good guy that was searching high and low for his "Lulu" as she was searching for him.  But, I honestly felt I didn't get any of that.  I got a lost little boy who could never get a full grasp on what he really felt for Alyson.  Before he could find Alyson, he needed to recognize his own faults and failings over the last couple years.  

I think the truest emotion we get from Willem is in the opening chapters.  He's been beaten severely and has suffered memory loss along with a concussion.  He is desperately trying to find (and remember) this person that he may have lost.  He has an image of her and that's about it.   But, as it becomes clear that he has very little to go on, Willem becomes a little lost.  Almost the rest of the book is a story of his wanderings with snippets of his desire to find Alyson.  The most determined thing he does in this regard is a trip to Mexico because he remembers a sliver of a conversation about her Christmas holiday's there.

It's not that I didn't mind Willem's journey to find his way in life.  I think it's more the fact that it didn't paint a very good picture of him.  Especially after learning one significant detail about that fateful morning.  Granted I knew from the first book that he was a wanderer who "collected" girls as he went along.  But, I expected more from his character.  I also don't doubt that he truly felt something for Alyson.  But, I wondered that after a year of wondering and building this up in his mind, how much of it was really real.

In the end, I just didn't feel the same about Willem and that was disheartening.   I'm still glad I read it because the story would have felt incomplete without knowing his side of the story.  And I won't give up on Gayle Forman.  I just think this side of this story didn't work for me. 

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