Just One Day

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Grade Level: 8th grade and up

Summary: The story follows a girl named Allyson who just graduated high school and goes on a Europe Tour during the summer. She has a horrible time until, the last day when she meets Willem. She then decides to skip the train that will take her on her way home and instead go to Paris for one day with him. She falls in love with him because she is able to be herself with him and he brings out a confident side of her that she never had before. However, after they sleep together she wakes up to find him gone. She immediately calls for help, so she can get back home to the United States. In the fall, she starts college but is heartbroken still from that day in Paris. She is unable to focus on school, she makes no friends, and cannot move on from Willem. She then decides to go back to Paris and find out the truth to why he left her.

Themes:

  • Not letting others control your life, do what you want to do
  • Understand you need friends to help you with your struggles, you can’t face them alone

Reflection: Gayle Forman has created a text that shows the character Allyson just starting her life. She does not know what exactly wants out of life yet but she soon realizes, she will be closer to it by breaking away from her parents. When Willem comes into her life, he teaches her that life is valuable and shouldn’t be wasted doing things you don’t want to do. Also from Allyson, we see the importance of friendship that she tries to isolate herself from, however, she soon discovers that humans were not meant to be alone but to interact with others. The more you let people in your life the closer you are to happiness for example, Allyson’s depression at college finally improves when she lets friends know why she is unhappy and help her find Willem.

Possible Student Reaction:

A student will be able to use this book as an escape from stress, school, or anything that can be a burden sometimes. Allyson goes on a journey in Paris that seems so real, it is almost as if you are in the story instead. Furthermore, I feel some readers will be disappointed about the ending as I was because it ends in the middle of a scene and finishes in another book that you have to buy or check out from library.

Interview with Gayle Forman

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