Thursday, December 26, 2013

Just One Year (Just One Day #2)

Title: Just One Year (Just One Day #2)
Author: Gayle Forman
Rating: 2.5 out of 5 stars
Shelves: Young Adult, Contemporary, Romance
Recommended for Fans Of: Trish Doller, Huntley Fitzpatrick

Synopsis (from Goodreads): 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.

Review: Here's a classic example of why I'm wary of sequels. Some can be done well, and some, well, they leave you severely disappointed. Just One Day was a strong novel (see my review here) that left me dying to know what happens next. But halfway through Just One Year, I got extremely frustrated and put the book down many times.

Storyline/Plot: While I wasn't too happy with the idea of picking up the story from Willem's POV where Lulu left off, I was willing to give it a try. At first, the plot was really interesting and fast-paced, but then it started to slow down to a boring, mundane crawl. This made me really upset because I wanted so much more from Willem's story. I wanted to read about the lengths he went to to find Lulu, and I didn't really see much of that at all. 

Some people may argue that everything he did was for her, but whether it be a lack of good judgement, or an irritation with these kind of boys, I didn't believe for one second that Willem spent much time searching for Lulu at all.

Characters: I thought Willem was an interesting and soulful character, after reading Just One Day. And then I was so disappointed when reading his thoughts. He seemed really shallow and lustful to me. While Lulu was crying over him, Willem was out sleeping with girls and making stupid mistakes. I prefer Lulu's point of view over Willem's.

Writing: Although Just One Year is still told with Gayle Forman's gift of writing, I found many parts dull. I couldn't connect to many of Willem's emotions, and when Willem was traveling, it found it hard to keep track of all the places he went, and the people he met. And frankly, I didn't care enough to try to sort it out. At that point I had kind of given up on this book.

"The Saving Grace": The reason that this book wasn't a much lower rating, was quite simply, the ending. Towards the end, you could feel a sort of quiet tension building up, when you know something monumental was going to happen. I had talked to someone else who had read Just One Year, and they said they really disliked the ending. But for me, it was a great way to end the book. I won't spoil anything, but it left a lot for the readers to imagine, but not so that they were left frustrated and confused.

Conclusion: A sore disappointment to Just One Day, Just One Year left me disappointed because I knew Gayle Forman's work could be so much better.


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