November 24, 2017

The Advocate's Toolbox

Pick of the Day: Just One Day

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FORMAN, Gayle. Just One Day. 368p. Dutton. 2013. Tr $17.99. ISBN 978-0-525-42591-5.
Gr 9 Up
–“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.” Allyson’s life has been carefully planned out by her well-intentioned, but overbearing parents, even her graduation present of an educational tour of Europe. Everything that makes Allyson “Allyson”–from choosing her hobby of vintage-clock collecting to selecting what her college major will be–has been orchestrated by her mother. So when, after a chance encounter with a young man named three quarter view of female face to the rightWillem, the 18-year-old rebels and ditches a performance of the Royal Shakespeare Company to see “Guerilla Will,” live Shakespeare performed in a London park, even her friend Melanie is surprised. Shedding her good-girl cloak and adopting the nickname “Lulu,” Allyson decides to spend a day in Paris with Willem, an actor from the theater troupe. She surprises herself with her bold and adventuresome behavior during their time together, not the least of which includes having sex in an artist’s squat. When Allyson wakes up the next day to find Willem gone, she returns home but can’t shake him or the whole day from her memory. After a tumultuous freshman year, she saves up enough money to return to Europe and track down Willem to get closure. In the process of finding him, Allyson discovers herself, which may have been the point of the trip all along. Reading like a teen version of Elizabeth Gilbert’s Eat, Pray, Love (Viking, 2006), this tale of romance and mystery engages readers and will cause them to examine their definitions of love and self-identity.–Nicole Knott, Watertown High School, CT

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