My rating: 4 of 5 stars
'Just One Day' proves that anything can happen in the span of a few hours, or in the case of "Lulu," a few minutes. Her encounter with free-spirited Willem shocks her out of the monotony of her planned out life and transforms her into a free thinker. While this novel did not shock and impact me like 'If I Stay,' I found it to be just as invigorating. Forman is not afraid to pull her punches when it comes to dealing with the hard stuff. And she wields the new adult experience with the kind of charged but fragile wistfulness we've all felt in our journey to womanhood. Before I wax and wan about this fantastic coming-of-age novel to the point of burn-your-bra feminism, I should also point out a few things.
I rocked back and forth between three and four stars because it required more from me as a reader than usual, but in the best of ways. To fully experience this novel you have to soak it in and recognize all the many carefully thought out parallels between Lulu's story and the greater message.
This novel resonated with me as well, falling in love hard and fast and jumping to conclusions. Above all things, this is so much more than an epic, trans-continental love story. It is Lulu's story, and the story of every young woman trying to find out who she is in today's world. Many of us try on different masks like Lulu's flaky best friend, Melanie. Others drift and follow the current like Willem. Still others, like myself, take longer to come out of our shells. It takes that earth-shattering moment to wake us up and help us take charge of our own futures instead of letting others decide for us.
Take a chance on life, love and read this breathtaking novel by Gayle Forman.
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