Just One Day by Gayle Forman

justoneI was somewhat reluctant to read this, believing it would be just like the movie Before Sunrise.  But a friend told me to read it and I did and I really liked it. (Reading this right after Fangirl, though, when I try to think about the book I get a bit mixed up between the two since they both have girls in their first year of college adjusting to that whole life. That’s the only similarity, though.) So, yes, there is a similarity to Before Sunrise-two people meeting in Europe and having a brief time together before parting, but it was actually quite a bit less romantic. It’s the summer before college and while on a “Teen Tour” straitlaced, bound for pre-med, rule abiding Allyson spontaneously goes to Paris with a boy she saw perform Shakespeare in a way that touched her straight in the heart. Off they go through the Chunnel to the world’s most romantic city, where they have a wonderful, exhilarating day together. It’s not perfect, though, as Allyson constantly wonders if he’s genuinely attracted to her or if he has girls all over the city. I though the whole book would be this one day, but it’s not! For they split rather unexpectedly and then the remaining half of the book is Allyson doing terribly at college because she can’t stop thinking about her lost European love and what a fool she was. Until…she decides to go find him. I thought this was a charming book even though recently I’ve been feeling bitter about every book I read and how unrealistic everything is (really Allyson? You can just get a summer job that’s perfect with witty, caring, people who feed you well and nurture your ridiculous dream of going to Paris with nothing but a plane ticket?).  I was very ambivalent about the ending, but I think I like it and I understand the setup for the sequel, which I will certainly read.

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