The first time I read this was a few months ago and I remember being deeply moved by the book but the second time I read this, I felt so much more into the book – the characters spoke to me, their feelings resonated with mine. It was like a friend telling me about her epic love story. I think this overtakes If I Stay in my mental list of books I love and If I Stay was pretty high up on the list!
This is a beautiful book – not just about love and romance but about finding, discovering, moreover, creating yourself. You are what you make yourself to be.
The story is about a girl named Allyson who goes for this trip to Europe for a tour and one day they stumble across an acting of Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night. The boy playing Sebastian tosses her a coin because he’s a flirt. The next day, on the train, she meets said boy who introduces himself as Willem and calls her Lulu after Louise Brooks who Allyson reminds him of. They then decide to go on an impromptu adventure for just one day to Paris – to see the sights, experience the city. One perfect day. They roam around the town, doing all sorts of things. The next morning though, Allyson wakes up to seeing him gone. She’s lost and alone in this big foreign city. She manages to get back to where she had to be but can’t forget that one day with that one boy. She spends the entire year trying to find him, and herself – the girl she was on that one day – and at the end, she goes back to Paris to see whether by coincidence or accident, she can somehow find him.
Allyson starts off as a weak, dependent character who is so shaken up by this one day that she can’t move on but the amount of character development she goes through is phenomenal. I love how she learns to stand up for herself and becomes the version of herself that she wants to be, not someone’s Lulu or someone’s resistant to change, best friend. She starts depending on herself instead of her parents and her friends and started become her own person.
In college, she starts doing really badly because she realised what she was studying wasn’t what she wanted to do. That’s one point in the story I really related to. This year, I’m preparing for an engineering entrance exam in 2017 because my parents want me to but I hate it. I wish I had Allyson’s courage to give it up but I don’t. ._. Moving on.
The male lead in the story, Willem, wasn’t one of those cheesy characters designed to make you fall in love with them. In fact, I didn’t really like him much. He’d keep eyeing girls though he was with Allyson which is incredibly rude. He was very unsettling.
One aspect of the story that I absolutely adored was the setting. They spend their “one day” in Paris, which is perfect – but not near the Eiffel Tower or The Louvre, they spend it at the real Paris, the streets, the shops, the little less known art studios. Beautiful.
I loved how Allyson’s relationships with people changed through the book – her parents, her best friends, her roommates – it was all wonderfully depicted in this story.
Just One Day is a beautiful story that I urge all of you to pick up sometime. It deals with a lot of relatable issues in very interesting ways. It’s the perfect escape because of it’s wonderful setting. It’s not your typical insta love cliché contemporary, it’s more about discovering yourself through love. I highly recommend!