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Gayle Forman

Guest Post: Just One Day Blog Tour with Gayle Forman

Guest Post: Just One Day Blog Tour with Gayle Forman

Both Jane and I enjoyed Gayle Forman’s previous novel, Where She Went, so we were happy to participate in the blog tour launching her latest novel, Just One Day. One of the things I loved about Just One Day was the traveling aspect and in fact, I wished there were more of it. I’m a big fan of travelogues.

On with the show.


Welcome to the Just One Day blog tour! We all know one of Gayle’s talents lies in writing the swooniest books possible, but she’s also a world traveler! Many of her experiences inspired scenes in Just One Day (and Just One Year, out next fall!). Each day along the tour there will be a new photo from Gayle’s travels, along with the story behind the photo written by Gayle!

Nice, France

buddyandscott

People travel for different reasons. Adventure. Expansion. Escape. Sometimes, it’s hard to distinguish one from the other.

This is a picture of Buddy (short) and Scott (tall), an American stockbroker and a Dutch solider, respectively. At least that’s what they were in 1988 and I should probably admit that I’m not 100 percent certain about their names. But I remember meeting them while traveling solo after my friend Rebecca had gone back to England to go to university. When she first left, I was scared to travel alone, but by this point I’d learned that in many ways, it was easier than traveling in a pair. You met people constantly.

So, me, Scott and Buddy met at our guesthouse in Nice and we spent almost a week together, exploring the surrounding towns of the French Riviera.

Scott was in the Dutch military, which didn’t seem quite the same serious endeavor as being in the U.S. military. In any case, he’d gone AWOL for the week to go to the beach. Buddy had been a stockbroker, a surfer, a dude from San Diego. And then his best friend had died of brain cancer and Buddy kind of dropped out of that life and was in the midst of traveling.

I suppose on one level, you could say that these guys were escaping something by traveling. I suppose you could say in that same vein that when my husband and I went traveling around the world for a year in 2002—after living through both 9/11 and what we called our personal 9/11, a devastating personal loss earlier that year—we were escaping through travel. And we were, even though we’d planned the trip long before that awful year. But escape is not synonymous with avoidance. There’s something about the immediacy of travel, about being so constantly out of your comfort zone, that puts you in a kind of heightened emotional state. Even if you want to escape, what often ends up happening is the opposite. You wind up facing up to whatever it is you are supposedly running from.

I think sometimes you have to leave in order to arrive. Or, as Allyson in Just One Day comes to realize, sometimes you have to get lost to get found.


Forman-Just-One-Day

Start reading Just One Day right now!

LIKE the Just One Day/Just One Year Facebook page for all the latest news!

Want to see more of Gayle Forman’s amazing traveling? Penguin Teen is posting one picture a day on tumblr for a whole YEAR!

Travel with Gayle along the Just One Day tour!
Mon, 1/7 Mundie Moms
Tues, 1/8 The Story Siren
Wed, 1/9 Alice Marvels
Thurs, 1/10 Anna Reads
Fri, 1/11 Forever Young Adult

Mon, 1/14 Dear Author
Tues, 1/15 Good Books and Good Wine
Wed, 1/16 Night Owl Reviews
Thurs, 1/17 Presenting Lenore
Fri, 1/18 Ticket to Anywhere

REVIEW:  Just One Day by Gayle Forman

REVIEW: Just One Day by Gayle Forman

Dear Ms. Forman:

Thanks to Jane’s foray into the genre last year, I’ve grown curious about New Adult novels. I’ve given a couple a try within the past month and the results have left me rather dubious. That said, I’ve enjoyed novels featuring older teens who are graduating or have just graduated from high school. Based on some recommendations, I picked up If I Stay and Where She Went and loved them both. So I eagerly looked forward to your new novel. Unfortunately, I don’t think it lived up to the hype.

Forman-Just-One-DayAllyson Healey has lived her entire life in a neat little box mapped out by her parents. But during a European tour after high school graduation, she meets an actor named Willem. There’s instant attraction and Allyson is charmed. When Willem invites her to spend one day in Paris with him, she decides to be impulsive for once and agrees to accompany him instead of heading to London with her best friend.

That day in Paris is magical and Allyson learns to take life as it comes, to pounce on the chances that come her way. But after a night of sex, she wakes up to find herself alone. Devastated, Allyson returns to London to meet up with her friend, and from there to the U.S. where she heads off to college in the fall. What follows is a year of self-discovery and picking up the pieces after Allyson’s first attempt at seizing the day results in disaster.

Despite my best intentions to keep an open mind, I go into novels with expectations. If I Stay and Where She Went were so emotionally visceral and I suppose I expected more of that here. I didn’t really get it.

Maybe it was the pacing. The summer stint in Europe took up more than a third of the novel. That doesn’t leave much room for self-discovery. In truth, what happens is that Allyson spends half of her freshman year in college in a deep depression. She attempts to return to the box outlined for her but finds she no longer fits because she’s discovered the world the exists beyond it. This dissonance affects all aspects of her life. Her once-perfect grades plummet. Her friendships stumble and fail.

Of course, all that would have been fine within the context of a story if more weight had been given to the idea of self-discovery. Instead the shadow of Willem dominated everything. I just can’t get behind the portrayal of a one-night stand derailing someone’s life so badly. Yes, she was a teenager — an older one, true, but still a teenager. But even so, Allyson wasn’t a virgin. She’d had a boyfriend. Yes, she thought she’d fallen in love. But because of her age, I wasn’t convinced. This is my age speaking but we know this story. One-night stands where the girl thinks she has a deep connection with the guy but the guy acts like he barely even knows her the next morning? Such a common tale. I realize knowing it happens is different from having it actually happen to you but the entire thing left a bad taste in my mouth.

Part of my feelings can be chalked up to the knowledge that Just One Day is the first half of a duology. The follow-up will be told from Willem’s point of view. I can already guess how it’ll go. He didn’t actually leave her alone the next morning. He had a reason! He’s not an asshole. If Allyson had only waited and had faith in their love, there’d been no reason for that year of moping. It was all just a misunderstanding. But if that’s the case, I would have liked for Allyson’s half of the tale to focus more on self-discovery and globe-trotting, the latter of which takes up less than 100 pages of the novel.

In many ways, I think Just One Day is attempting to replicate the magic of If I Stay and Where She Went. If that’s the case, it fails. It didn’t have the same romantic and emotional impact. The themes of self-actualization and discovery despite — or in spite of — life-changing love don’t ring as strongly. If there’d been more focus on Allyson learning to enjoy life for herself and on her own terms instead of her life being affected by Willem on many levels, maybe I would have enjoyed it more. That, I feel, is the spark missing from this story. Theoretically, I like the idea of chance meetings altering the shape of your life. But what I dislike is that chance meeting becoming the source of all your sadness, joy, and motivation. How is that empowering? C

My regards,
Jia

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