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JUST ONE YEAR by Gayle Forman

JUST ONE YEAR

By Gayle Forman

Age Range: 14 - 18

Pub Date: Oct. 15th, 2013
ISBN: 978-0-525-42592-2
Publisher: Dutton

Willem de Ruiter, a rootless young man, reconnects with his family and himself as he searches for the 18-year-old girl he deserted after a romantic night in Paris in this companion to Just One Day (2013).

In the previous book, heroine Allyson finds her true self as she searches for Willem; here, Forman tells Willem’s side of the story, chronicling his psychological growth during the year after their magical time together. For this slow-to-start story to work, readers must believe that Willem’s night with Allyson had a profound emotional effect on him and that his feelings for her will be lasting, a hard sell considering his past. Additionally, his character will test readers’ patience, as he wends and whines his way through the first half of the novel. However, the story picks up steam when Willem travels to India to see his emotionally remote mother and gets, if not precisely an aha moment, at least a new and more accurate understanding of her, an important step in his own emotional healing. He comes to realize that his avocation is acting and that commitment to the art itself is something worth fighting for. As he becomes engaged personally and professionally, readers will find their interest quickening, right up to the satisfying denouement.

Billed as a romance but really a journey of self-exploration, this story initially confounds before paying off. (Fiction. 14 & up)