Sometimes I’ll discover a new writer and devour as much of their work as I can really quickly. And while I usually enjoy the books, I do find that some authors have a tendency to repeat certain important themes that are relevant to them. Jennifer Weiner usually writes about a girl who used to be fat, who became less fat by swimming, and does not have a father figure in her life. Sarah Dessen really likes the beach, seems to dislike parents of all kinds, and usually has a non-reported date rape show up at some point in her books. And I guess Gayle Forman really likes the idea that every story has two sides.
Her first set of “he said/she said” books were If I Stay and Where She Went, which told the same story from different perspectives. One book I liked much more than the other, but still a refreshing way to tell a love story.
Forman is in the midst of repeating herself with her new characters from Just One Day. In this book, we meet Allyson, a “good girl” who has had her entire life planned out for her by her parents, and who has never gone astray from these plans. Until she meets a handsome actor while she’s touring Europe with a teen tour group, and she suddenly runs off to Paris with him.
They spend a single day together, and for Allyson, her entire life changes.
While I didn’t completely buy that Allyson would trek halfway around the world to try and find a boy that she spent 24 hours with, I did like the way that Allyson was written. I felt bad for her when she couldn’t acclimate to life in college, and I loved her friend Dee. I was relieved when she and her mom finally re-evaluated their status as mother and daughter, which ended up strengthening — and ultimately saving — their relationship.
And I’m sure Willem was super cute and fun, and I”m glad he made her realize all of these hidden things about herself. But still. I’m not sure that the last 50 pages needed to happen. An independent trip to Paris to replay the night they shared? Sure. But her impromptu visit over to Amsterdam seemed more like stalking to me.
In any event, I’m curious to see how Forman presents Willem’s side of the story in her next book. And Forman’s writing makes the story worthwhile, even if I don’t necessarily believe the plot (a problem I also had with Where She Went). And it really, really made me want to go back to Paris.