Just One Year

336p. Dutton. 2013. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9780525425922. ebook available.
.span style = 'font-weight:bold'>Gr 9 Up—This companion novel to Just One Day (Dutton, 2013) explores the other side of the ill-timed romance between an American high school graduate and a Dutch actor. In that book, good-girl Allyson sheds her identity and inhibitions to spend one romantic day in Paris with Willem, a traveling actor-and spends the next year hunting him down after he abandons her. Forman has finally answered frustrated readers' questions about why Willem left Allyson alone in an artists' squat and disappeared. This novel, written from his point of view, picks up from the moment when he wakes up in a Paris hospital after a severe beating to the moment Allyson walks in his door a year later. Forman mirrors the structure of the first book and uses the year of separation as a time of growth for Willem. He uses the aborted romance as a catalyst for reconnecting with family, close friends, and his love of the theater. Readers are asked to suspend disbelief quite a few times (Willem's temporary amnesia after his injury seems quite selective), but besotted readers will be more than willing to do so if it brings the lovers together again. The number of characters and backstories makes the story a little cluttered, but the writing is lively and the romantic narrative is compelling. Just One Year can be read as a stand-alone novel, but those readers would not catch the breadcrumbs Forman dropped in Just One Day. As much a travelogue as it is a romance, this novel will appeal to fans of the movie Before Sunrise or Maureen Johnson's 13 Little Blue Envelopes (HarperCollins, 2005).—Susannah Goldstein, Convent of the Sacred Heart, New York City

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