This is just a personal opinion…but…Just One Day is not a good book.
Like, I am seriously disappointed right now.
And confused. Beyond confused.
I have to be honest, I have no idea what kind of book Just One Day is, or what kind of book it’s trying to be. Is it a YA romance? Is it a bildungsroman? Is it a new adult romance? Is it a travel novel? Is it a college narrative? Is it a family story? I have no idea.
I had really high expectations for Just One Day. I’ve been wanting to read it for years now, I’ve always been intrigued by Gayle Forman’s stories (since watching the film adaptation of If I Stay a few years back), and I adore Paris. To say I am GUTTED that I didn’t enjoy this novel is a HUGE understatement.
There’s a lot that’s not good about this novel. The characters are one-dimensional, from classic bad boy Willem to gay best friend Dee. Allyson, the main character, is whiny and her transformation is represented all through telling rather than showing. Allyson’s conflicts with her mom are a focal point of the novel, until the most anti-climactic showdown to ever be featured in literature. And talk about INSTALOVE…but to the point of obsession.
This novel had SUCH potential that it didn’t live up to, and the saddest part is that it came across as one big confusing mess. This novel could’ve been a profound statement on depression, on feeling unfulfilled in life, on breaking free of control from other people and finding oneself. Instead it was a rather boring tale of a college student who realizes she needs to make some changes in her life and then spends more time moping about these changes than actually doing anything. I was not into Allyson or Willem from the very beginning because I felt they were bland and lacked dimension…but I truly grew to hate Allyson by the end. I was just so…OVER IT.
The novel also had an astounding number of typos in it, and this is a bit of a pet peeve of mine that I’m not going to rant on, but that certainly hindered and frustrated my reading experience.
Maybe I’m being harsh about this, but honestly, I was hoping for A LOT more from this novel. And I am so moved by how disappointed I am.
To further make my case, let me quote a few lines that struck me as particularly offensive and strange when I was reading the novel, and you can judge for yourself…
“I look at the new haircut, the nose ring, the hairy armpits. It all makes sense. ‘So, are you a lesbian now?’”
“I look at him, sort of shocked. I mean I figured Dee was gay, but I’ve never heard him talk all sassy-gay-sidekick before.”
I don’t know, maybe I’m being overly sensitive about this, but most of the characters were totally pointless and random and served no purpose to the plot whatsoever, from Allyson’s best friend Melanie to her new friend Wren, and so I was left wondering if Forman was just trying to include some diversity in her novel without doing anything more with her characters. But at the same time, statements like the ones above seemed super stereotypical and simply wrong to me, so I don’t think she got the whole diversity thing right whatsoever.
Whatever, I am so over this. I am saddened by it, but I’m beyond ready to move onto the next novel.
❥❥ (out of 5)
Girl with a Green Heart