Just One Day by Gayle Forman Audiobook Review

Just One Day by Gayle Forman Audiobook ReviewJust One Day by Gayle Forman
Narrator: Kathleen McInerney
Published by Listening Library on 2013
Genres: Young Adult, Love & Romance, People & Places, Europe, Performing Arts, Theater
Format: Audiobook
Length: 10.5 hrs.
Source: Purchase
Also by this author: If I Stay, Where She Went, Leave Me

A breathtaking journey toward self-discovery and true love, from the author of If I Stay.

When sheltered American good girl Allyson "LuLu" Healey first meets laid-back Dutch actor Willem De Ruiter at an underground performance of Twelfth Night in England, there’s an undeniable spark. After just one day together, that spark bursts into a flame, or so it seems to Allyson, until the following morning, when she wakes up after a whirlwind day in Paris to discover that Willem has left. Over the next year, Allyson embarks on a journey to come to terms with the narrow confines of her life, and through Shakespeare, travel, and a quest for her almost-true-love, to break free of those confines.

Just One Day is the first in a sweepingly romantic duet of novels. Willem’s story - Just One Year - is coming soon!

Gayle Forman’s latest book Just One Day explores how your life can change seemingly overnight.  A story with mystery, adventure and romance, Just One Day follows Allyson as she gets lost and found again in Paris.

The story begins with Allyson’s trip to Europe one summer before college. She’s always been a girl who follows the rules and doesn’t veer from her chosen path. But in Europe she starts to get a little more adventurous, and her edgy new haircut allows her to try on a new persona.

Allyson meets Dutch actor Willem and makes a spur-of-the-moment decision to abandon her existing travel plans and go with him by train to spend the day in Paris. Willem doesn’t even know Allyson’s real name, and calls her Lulu for her Louise Brooks haircut. Willem is quite mysterious himself and Allyson is constantly second-guessing her decision to go off with him. When she wakes up the next morning to find Willem missing, it sets into motion a new path for Allyson.

Willem seemed like a shady character to me, but I could see how Allyson could be so charmed by him. The sights and sounds of Paris were the perfect romantic backdrop for their adventure, and Allyson enjoys feeling like the leading lady in the movie (or Shakespeare play) for the first time. Part of the appeal is that the reader doesn’t really know if they can trust Willem and it’s easy to get swept up in the romance and mystery of it all with Allyson.

Many of the themes found in Just One Day lend themselves well to the New Adult niche, especially with regards to finding yourself. Allyson is just starting college and living away from home for the first time. The aftershocks of her day in Paris with Willem impact her schoolwork and social life completely. Allyson also has to deal with a new relationship with her parents, especially her mother who is used to being in charge of her life.  Even her friend alliances and school focus shifts. But can Allyson move forward with her life if she doesn’t resolve her past with Willem? Or is Willem not the point at all in Allyson’s self-development?

Just One Day has Forman’s trademark dramatic intensity but didn’t make me cry like If I Stay. The book is gorgeously written and made me feel all of Allyson’s changing moods. The nature of the book makes it a good fit to read in one day if you have the time, and especially because you’ll want to see it through to the end. But the weightiness of it all made me want to take little breaks to really digest the story.

I listened to the audiobook of Just One Day, read by Kathleen McInerney, a new-to-me narrator. McInerney got into the character well, and sounded like a young, naïve college student to me. She does get the opportunity to try a variety of accents and age ranges in her reading and makes the most of the audio format. McInerney does the heavy lifting with the pronunciations and foreign words to make things a little easier for the reader. The story does lend itself to audio, but overall I liked both the reading and listening experiences equally (I read the book first). Listening doesn’t make the torturous ending any easier though!

And about that ending, Just One Day is Allyson’s story, and in the sequel Just One Year we get to hear Willem’s side of things. If only Just One Year wasn’t nearly just one year away! (Fall 2013) If you enjoy Gayle Forman’s books, or reading about self-discovery or foreign travel, treat yourself to Just One Day.

I realized coincidentally that I’ve only spent just one day in Paris in my life, though it wasn’t nearly as eventful a day as Allyson’s. And I didn’t even get to try any of the delicious sounding macarons- speaking of which, keep some handy when you’re reading this book – you’ll be craving them.



22 thoughts on “Just One Day by Gayle Forman Audiobook Review

  1. VeganYANerds says:

    Lovely review, Luce! I think the theme of finding yourself is always a popular and well-loved theme and I love that this is set in Europe! Can’t wait to read this and good to know the audio book is also good!

    1. Lucy says:

      I think you’ll like this one, Mandee! I like to travel through my books 🙂

  2. I love Parisian macarons! I’ve had nothing close to them here in the States. Sigh! Love Gayle Foreman. My only complaint about JUST ONE DAY is the say – that I have wait for Willem’s story!

    1. hmmm..must remember NOT to post/comment before my morning cup of coffee! I meant “same” not “say”. Sigh. 😉

    2. Lucy says:

      I’ve never had a Parisian macaron but they look delish! That ending is a killer, can’t wait for Willem’s story.

      1. I know – I was a little upset at the way it ended. Like a major cliffhanger hook! Siiiighhhh! 😉

  3. BermudaOnion says:

    This sounds good to me – I love the Paris setting!

  4. Ha, I thought Willem was really sketch, too, and I couldn’t really get into the intensity between him and Allyson. This was still a great read, though, and a lot of what Allyson was feeling really resonated with me. I’m really looking forward to book two!

  5. I have heard this is great but really sad read!

    1. Lucy says:

      I wouldn’t call it sad really. I found it to be pretty positive at the end of the day. Hope you check it out sometime!

  6. Sunny says:

    I keep seeing more and more audiobook reviews and I have to look into listening to more books. I did it once with Princess Diaries and I loved when Anne Hathaway narrated. Anyways, this is a great review!

    Sunny @ Blue Sky Bookshelf

    1. Lucy says:

      I didn’t know Anne Hathaway read the Princess Diaries book – how fun! When I’m multi-tasking audio helps me get more reading done 🙂

  7. Yay, 4.5 stars from me too, Lucy! I thought Willem was shady at first, too–and I totally agree, readers looking for New Adult titles couldn’t do much better than this book. I still liked IF I STAY better (it made me cry), but this was pretty spectacular, too. So glad you loved it, too.

    Wendy @ The Midnight Garden

    1. Lucy says:

      I’m very attached to IF I STAY as well for sentimental reasons, and it’s one of the books that got me hooked on YA in fact. It is hard to beat! So glad you enjoyed this one too, Wendy! Wish there were more NA books like this.

  8. Candice says:

    I listened to If I Stay on audio and it had me bawling like a baby the entire time! I would love to listen to this one. I’ve really been wanting to read it and hate that I haven’t had time. An audiobook of it would be perfect! Must check library ASAP! 🙂

    1. Lucy says:

      Ooh I should check out If I Stay on audio- sounds amazing. I picked Just One Day up from Audible since it didn’t seem to be available in any of the libraries, though you could probably ask a librarian to order it. Hope you like it too!

  9. bookgoonie says:

    I want this. I need a Paris vacation & would live a good coming of age story to go with.

    1. Lucy says:

      Forman is a great writer, and I think you’ll like this one and If I Stay a lot, Amy. It’s fun to travel through books, isn’t it?

  10. Lauren says:

    So glad you enjoyed this in audiobook too. I am thinking of doing a re-read in audio, and I’m really glad to see this review confirm my choice. 🙂

    1. Lucy says:

      When I love a book, I usually pick up both the book and audio versions to get the full experience. Hope you enjoy the audio as much as the book, Lauren!

  11. […] Just One Day by Gayle Forman […]

  12. […] Just One Day by Gayle Forman – Allyson’s life path changes after a chance encounter with a Dutch […]

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