JUST ONE DAY by Gayle Forman


Age Range: 14 - 18
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At the end of a European tour for teens the summer before college, a rules-following, 18-year-old girl impulsively travels to Paris with a handsome Shakespearean actor, a one-day adventure that becomes the catalyst for big changes in the way she sees herself and her place in the world.

Nicely integrating the work of Shakespeare as a thematic jumping-off place, author Forman explores “the line between true self and feigned self,” the multiple personae, roles and identities that coexist in a single soul. After Allyson, the dutiful, emotionally muted daughter of a pulmonologist father and helicopter mother, finally breaks out and has a romantic adventure with aforesaid handsome actor, she wakes up alone. She feels betrayed and played, precipitating a hard-to-buy psychological crisis. Once in college, Allyson finds herself unengaged by the pre-med curriculum her parents designed. Although she feels trapped by their expectations, with the support of classmate Dee (who tiptoes through various identities and roles himself) Allyson begins the business of figuring out who she is and what she wants. As she blossoms and emerges from her tedious depression, the novel becomes absorbing, and readers will find themselves rooting for Allyson’s more autonomous and interesting self.

An overlong coming-of-age novel that takes forever to get going but soars at the finish. (Fiction. 14 & up)

Pub Date: Jan. 8th, 2013
ISBN: 978-0-525-42591-5
Page count: 384pp
Publisher: Dutton
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15th, 2012

Kirkus Interview
Gayle Forman
author of I WAS HERE
January 27, 2015

In I Was Here, Gayle Forman’s latest novel after the release of the movie version of her novel If I Stay, Cody’s best friend Meg drinks a bottle of industrial-strength cleaner alone in a motel room and Cody is understandably shocked and devastated. She and Meg shared everything—so how was there no warning? But when Cody travels to Meg’s college town to pack up the belongings left behind, she discovers that there’s a lot that Meg never told her. About her old roommates, the sort of people Cody never would have met in her dead-end small town in Washington. And about an encrypted computer file that Cody can’t open—until she does, and suddenly everything Cody thought she knew about her best friend’s death gets thrown into question. “An engrossing and provocative look at the devastating finality of suicide, survivor’s guilt, the complicated nature of responsibility and even the role of the Internet in life-and-death decisions,” our reviewer writes. We talk to Forman on January 27 on Kirkus TV. View video >


ChildrenI WAS HERE by Gayle Forman
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ChildrenJUST ONE YEAR by Gayle Forman
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ChildrenWHERE SHE WENT by Gayle Forman
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ChildrenIF I STAY by Gayle Forman
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