"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."
When I first saw that this book was written by Gayle Forman, my expectations of it rocketed, having read and loved If I Stay and its' sequel, Where She Went. I had not expected this book to be better than those two because they are nearly perfect but this one is still pretty damn good.
Firstly, Paris. Yea, that about sums that up. The Parisian scenes in this book are described so amazingly, I had the urge to hop on a flight to Paris (but my lack of funds kept me in my place). Forman really did justice to the beauty of Paris, making it feel as though I were there.
Anyway, moving on to the actual story. I liked the character Allyson as I found her slightly relatable with her being unsure of herself. I also liked it being told from her perspective because I saw her personal growth throughout the course of the novel. She did, however, dance on my nerves at times especially when Willem would talk to other girls and she felt jealous. Come on girl, you've only known him for a day!
As for Willem, I didn't mind him but he was shrouded with too much mystery for me. Yes, a certain amount of mystery is healthy but this was just too much. I didn't know what to make of him as there wasn't much for me to deduce what his life story could be. The next book though, Just One Year, is going to be told from his perspective so I'm looking forward to that and hopefully, I'll grow to like him.
The character I loved the most was Dee. He was funny and provided insight into Allyson. I really do hope Forman publishes a novella or something told from Dee's perspective.
The writing in this novel, as is the case of Forman's other novels, is beautiful so I thought I would share with you some of my favourite quotes.
- We are born in one day. We die in one day. We can change in one day. And we can fall in love in one day. Anything can happen in just one day.
- He showed me how to get lost, and then I showed myself how to get found.
- But what if Shakespeare― and Hamlet― were asking the wrong question? What if the real question is not whether to be, but how to be?
- I clap so that I can hold on to this feeling. I clap because I know what will happen when I stop. It’s the same thing that happens when I turn off a really good movie—one that I’ve lost myself to—which is that I’ll be thrown back to my own reality and something hollow will settle in my chest. Sometimes, I’ll watch a movie all over again just to recapture that feeling of being inside something real.
That's pretty much all I have to say about the novel. I would recommend it to anyone who has enjoyed Gayle Forman's previous work or anyone who is into contemporary novels. It's a good read.
Until next time, toodle-loo kangaroo :) x