You know how after you read a really great book, you just can’t stop thinking about it? You go over the details and characters and plot developments in your head over and over, lots of times wishing there was more to read about this wonderful world the author created. You know that feeling?
I didn’t have that when I read this book. In fact, its barely been a week since I finished it, and I’m having trouble remembering exactly what this book was all about.
Many Cannonballers are familiar with Gayle Forman’s “she said/he said” pair of books, If I Stay and Where She Went — two books that tell pretty much the same story from different points of view. If I Stay was lovely. Where She Went was less so, but I still liked it, and thought it was an interesting approach to storytelling.
Last year, Forman came out with Just One Day, telling the story about quiet Allyson, who meets flashy Willem while on holiday in Europe. They spend 24 hours together in Paris, and it changes everything for Allyson. Just One Year is its companion piece — the same story told from the perspective of Willem and how his encounter with Allyson changed him as well.
The reason I don’t think this pairing worked quite as well is simple: I just didn’t really like Willem that much. Where She Went was a greater success because Adam was a strong, interesting character that we all felt an incredible amount of sympathy for. Willem? Not so much. A womanizer who travels constantly in order to avoid family and financial obligations? No thanks.
Forman’s descriptions of the various destinations on Willem’s travels were the greatest part of the book: Mexico, Paris, Mumbai, and Amsterdam were all brought to life on the page. Sadly, I couldn’t really say the same for the characters or the plot.