‘Just One Year’ Review

Title: Just One Year
Author: Gayle Forman
Genre: New Adult fiction, Romance, Realistic
Note: I never intended to read this book. Truly. I just ended up getting it because I didn’t see ‘Anna’ at my local library.
Premise: This is Willem’s story. It’s ‘Just One Day’s after story. Willem missing. Allyson/Lulu waking up alone. And what Willem did to try and find his mysterious girl.
Plot: The plot is revolving around Willem trying to find Lulu. Or the girl he thinks is Lulu. He ends up in Paris talking to Celine and in Mexico with Broodje. He acts in India where his mother Yael lives. He travels.
The plot is quite interesting. You get to see Mr. I-Travel himself. And I like that. Willem traveling is very interesting. We have him looking for Lulu but finding himself as well. He ends up finally seeing her, and kissing her, in his hometown when Allyson/Lulu finds him. After seeing him as Orlando in a Shakespeare play.
We get scenes with him acting, in Hindi and English. We get Willem talking to friends and family. Connecting with his mother.
And I like that. We’re seeing Willem in his element.
Character Development: I feel like there should only be one character, so I’m writing this review that way.
Willem. Willem is someone I wanted to know more about. That might contradict what I said in my precious review of ‘Just One Day’, but I did want to know more. And I got it. Willem is confused at first, after getting a knock to the head. He slowly start his search, diving in. But. He gives up. And finds accidents. I like how we got to see him acting in Bollywood. Willem would be the only book guy who would get that. Only one I’ve read. I like him. He’s an interesting character with an interesting backstory. Willem isn’t made of Saba or anything, but he’s more than the people he came from. He’s the character that draws you in and makes you wonder. He has a dark past and falls into a dark place. And he comes out of if. And finds his mountain girl again. Well…she finds him. That’s more like it.
Problems: There were less problems in this one compared to its first book. Like many books, this one does have problems.
I didn’t like how he still ends up with Allyson. Or I assume so. I don’t like Allyson. She’s annoying. I don’t like him ending up with her. He could have kept looking. He did. He was looking for her, but this story isn’t about finding Lulu about half way in. You want him to give up and just pursue his dreams. And that’s what I felt.
Another bad thing? The emphasis on his past with girls. I could have done without it. I don’t want to know he slept with Ana Lucia. Over and over. He is a playboy. I did feel that vibe off of him. He was, I mean. He ends up more of an actor than a playboy.
I don’t like the beginning. I felt like it could have been written better. This book did get better as I read on.
Good points: I admit, there were good points. Quite a few compared to the two Stephanie Perkins books I’ve read.
I liked how we got to see more of Willem. You feel as if he wasn’t looking for Allyson, but he is. You find out how hard he searched. He looked constantly, feeling the need to do so. I don’t mind that. It isn’t an amazing part, but it’s more good than bad.
I liked how we got to have the acting scenes. Willem is a passionate person. Lover or actor. I liked how we got to see him acting. He is an actor no matter how hard he tries to shake that title.
The story got progressively better. I got to learn more about him and his mysterious parents. It was quite nice, I’ll admit.
This book has more emphasis on family. We have the Yael and Willem scenes in India and what happened afterwards. We get the friendship bond between him and Broodje. He is looking for Lulu, but he’s also looking for himself and his family and friends. He strengthens those bonds and makes them count. This isn’t a book entirely about romance. It’s family and friends too. Which is a nice change.
While this book didn’t have action, I did feel it was good nonetheless.
Score: 7/10
Recommended: If you like ‘Just One Day’. If you like Willem. If you like realistic stories with people finding themselves.
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