|Just One Day by Gayle Forman
Release Date: January 8, 2013
Publisher: Dutton Juvenile
Source: Digital Copy
Buy It: Amazon | IndieBound
|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.|
So I have story to tell before I begin this review. When I first started blogging, I never thought I would share personal things about myself other than my obvious love of Disney and books and the like. Then I started reviewing books that hit really close to home and I realized that maybe sharing why I loved these novels so much. I never expected to talk to about my father’s illness that only my closest friends know about (he’s been in remission for years — don’t worry.) Now I’m about to share something else that I never ever EVER thought I’d talk about — my depression during college. I graduated high school in the top ten in my class, at podunk little high school in western North Carolina but I got into UNC and was going places! I was one of those people who never had to work for things — I got 5 on my AP Calculus exam after going to a concert the night before, almost got a perfect score on the math portion of the SATs. School came easy to me. College did not. Freshman year was tough, but I adjusted; I was able to make friends and get through my classes and I was even in put into an accelerated French program, which is what I wanted to major in when I first went to school. My sophomore and junior years were much harder.
Nothing happened really — it just became harder and harder to get out of bed everyday, to go to class, do my work, go to work. My parents and friends were worried. I had to drop some of my classes for special circumstances. I got help and it helped, but not quite enough. I was able to get through my sophomore year but just barely. My junior year I moved into a house with people I didn’t like and this just exacerbated the entire situation. My first semester of my junior year, I pulled out of school and began to work full-time. It then took me three more years to finish school. Depression isn’t something easy to deal with or talk about and I struggled for years — while I loved some of my experiences in college, I don’t remember most of my college experience fondly. I’m doing great today although some days are tough, but I’ll never forget what college and depression was like and I know that I never want to go back there. When I picked up Just One Day, I didn’t expect to be put in a time machine set to Lauren circa 2009.
I loved Gayle Forman’s If I Stay series, so I was stoked to get started on Just One Day, but once I did it was slow going. I wasn’t super involved in the romance aspect but I kept reading because I had faith in Forman. About half-way through the novel, we find Allyson back in the States and in college. Her story is much like mine that I already shared. I was expecting to read a love story and this was much more than that — a true coming-of-age story that spoke to me. Allyson has a difficult relationship with her mother, is losing her best friend to growing up and has no idea how to make friends in college. There’s literally a scene with her suitemates that could have been taken straight from my freshman year experience — my suitemates and roommate thought I hated them. (Now two of them are some of my very best friends.)
Forman addresses love, changing relationships as you grow up (between friends and your parents) and being able pick yourself up and persevere. If this had been published in 2006 and I could’ve read it once I was in college, I think it would’ve helped me be more comfortable with where I was at in life. It wouldn’t have stopped my depression, it wouldn’t have helped me stay in class but it would have helped me understand that being depressed isn’t something we can control. It’s one thing to understand that you have a problem and another to accept — it took my quite a while to accept that I would always have a problem with my mental health and that it was okay as long as I took care of myself. With the way that these next generations are progressing, I feel like this is an extremely important book to read. It should be on everyone’s must read list. I’m actually going to give it to my mom to read and possibly my friends. So be prepared when you read it — this isnt’ a fairy tale romance novel, but it’s worth the hard parts that you’re going to read. Trust me, I was practically having panic attacks as I read and the situation became more and more like my own. But at the end of the day, I loved it and wanted to curl up inside of it.