Goodreads description: When he opens his eyes, Willem doesn’t know where in the world he is—Prague or Dubrovnik or back in Amsterdam. All he knows is that he is once again alone, and that he needs to find a girl named Lulu. They shared one magical day in Paris, and something about that day—that girl—makes Willem wonder if they aren’t fated to be together. He travels all over the world, from Mexico to India, hoping to reconnect with her. But as months go by and Lulu remains elusive, Willem starts to question if the hand of fate is as strong as he’d thought. . . .
The romantic, emotional companion to Just One Day, this is a story of the choices we make and the accidents that happen—and the happiness we can find when the two intersect.
Just One Year was high up on my Fall TBR. I am a huge Gayle Forman fan. I liked Just One Day a lot, but If I Stay and Where She Went are two of my favorite books. I had so much hope for Just One Year and reserved it at the library before it came out, then they didn’t get copies in so I luckily got it on Overdrive!
Just One Day is Allyson’s story of how she does something unexpected and makes a connection, then is left feeling lost and confused when it’s severed without warning. She spends a year in a funk and learns a lot about herself. She is determined to at least try to reconnect with Willem, the boy she spent a day with. She also learns a lot about herself and what she wants from life. Just One Year is Willem’s story and begins shortly after they were separated. I wasn’t exactly sure what to expect from the book, but it wasn’t what I wanted.
This story follows Willem throughout the year and shows how the events in Just One Day affected him. He met a great girl that he connected with but knew nothing about, and they were separated. He tries to find her, but he also has other things to deal with. He has a lot going on with his family and friends. Plus, like everyone, he’s trying to learn who he is and what he wants to do. His travels were interesting and his time in India was fun to read about. There were friends we met, his mom, and his uncle that were interesting and brought a lot to the story and to Willem’s character. There were a few things I was kind of apathetic about, but I can probably chop that up to my general grumpy/picky feelings.
The thing about this book is, I actually liked it. I like Willem, he is a cool guy. He has an interesting perspective. I liked seeing what he thought and how he felt about Allyson, or Lulu to him. I liked that he didn’t think he was in love, and he wasn’t obsessed. He just knew she made an impression, and it was a feeling he couldn’t shake. It was important. He grows, he learns. But through this whole book, I was waiting for what I wanted. I was hoping. I was so incredibly invested. At about 80% in the book, I finally had to accept that I was not going to get the story I wanted. It wasn’t a total bust, and I’m glad I read it. If you’ve read Just One Day and haven’t read this book yet, I’m not telling you to forget about it. It’s not bad book at all, and I understand it was the story that needed to be told. However, I was sad and I’m still sad thinking about what it could have been. I’m greedy. I think a lot of people were more content with the journey, and I think a lot of readers won’t necessarily be looking for the same things I was.
Just One Year was a good book, but it was probably the most disappointing book of the year for me. That being said, it still got 3 whole stars!! Isn’t that saying a lot for Gayle Forman’s work? I like the characters, I like the growth, but I wanted so much more. Even one more chapter could have made a huge difference for me. I think I might try to read this again, after a while, to see if I can appreciate it more when I’m not expecting everything from it, but I don’t think I’ll ever love it. I will still faithfully read Gayle Forman’s work. You might like Just One Year if you like traveling stories, hope, and charming Dutch narrators!