Sunday, October 20, 2013

Just One Year (Just One Day #2), by Gayle Forman

Barnes & Noble

Equal parts romance, coming-of-age-tale, mystery and travel romp (with settings that span from England’s Stratford upon Avon to Paris to Amsterdam to India’s Bollywood) Just One Day and Just One Year show how in looking for someone else, you just might wind up finding yourself. 

After spending an amazing day and night together in Paris, Just One Year is Willem's story, picking up where Just One Day ended. His story of their year of quiet longing and near-misses is a perfect counterpoint to Allyson's own as Willem undergoes a transformative journey, questioning his path, finding love, and ultimately, redefining himself.

I have been waiting for Just One Year from the moment that I finished Just One Day.  The latter completely blew me away and I couldn't wait for Willem's POV of their time apart and their reconnection.

So imagine my surprise at the disillusionment I felt throughout the novel.  Do you see the description above?  Where it says "picking up where Just One Day ended"?  Guess what I was expecting.  FOR THIS BOOK TO PICK UP WHERE THE PREVIOUS ONE LEFT OFF.

Guess what I got?  NOT THAT.

Allyson's story in JOD was empowering and full of self-discovery.  Willem's story in JOY was all wallowing in self-pity and shacking up with other girls while he was oh-so-in-love with "Lulu."  And I just didn't buy it.

Maybe I would have felt differently if there had been more interaction between the two protagonists.  But I kept anticipating their reunion (picking up where the last one left off!!!) and felt nothing but anxiety and disappointment with each chapter.

WTF, Gayle Forman?  Your previous works have left me bleary-eyed from too much crying, but were always worth the heartfail.  This?  Bleary-eyed from near-boredom.  Had I known that I wouldn't get a whole book--or at least part of a book--with Willem and Allyson together, I'm not sure I would have read it.  And I'm really glad that I borrowed this from the library instead of purchasing it; I would have rated it lower if I had spent any money on this sequel.  As it is, three stars is being generous.

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