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Review: “Just One Day” by Gayle Forman

January 28, 2013

Having just graduated from high school, Allyson travels in Europe with a group of teens, including her best friend, Melanie. On impulse, Allyson joins Shakespearean actor Willem to travel to Paris for “Just One Day,” which culminates in a just-one-night-stand and Allyson waking up alone. She manages to re-connect with the tour with the help of the tour guide, but is left quite shaken, which reverberates in her life for seemingly an exaggerated span of time. Allyson had always been a goody-two-shoes, compliant, toe the line teen – her best friend Melanie tells her she’ll get over it, but, the will to thrive and live on is not forthcoming. This gets described in detail as she lives through her first semester of university study, struggling to take interest, study and move forward with goals.

By the second semester, changes in curriculum bolster her ego and self-awareness ensues. Reading Shakespeare aloud in a class with a newfound friend is the key. Forman’s use of Shakespeare/theatre as being a realm where nobody is who they pretend to be is an effective backdrop to this overlong but fulfilling story.
The flip-side version of this story (a companion story from Willem’s point of view) is due out in fall of 2013.

Publishers Weekly Review recommends this book for ages 14 and up.

-Rishon F., Headquarters

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