Wednesday, January 8, 2014

I Believe in Accidents

"Because you don't ever find things when you're looking for them.
You find them when you're not."
--Gayle Forman, Just One Year

Genre: YA Contemporary
Publisher: Dutton Juvenile
Pages: 323
Publication Date: October 10th, 2013
Source: Bought
Find on Goodreads
Previous Books in Series: Just One Day
Goodreads Description

Just One Day. Just One Year. Just One Read.

Before you find out how their story ends, remember how it began....

When he opens his eyes, Willem doesn’t know where in the world he is—Prague or Dubrovnik or back in Amsterdam. All he knows is that he is once again alone, and that he needs to find a girl named Lulu. They shared one magical day in Paris, and something about that day—that girl—makes Willem wonder if they aren’t fated to be together. He travels all over the world, from Mexico to India, hoping to reconnect with her. But as months go by and Lulu remains elusive, Willem starts to question if the hand of fate is as strong as he’d thought. . . .

The romantic, emotional companion to Just One Day, this is a story of the choices we make and the accidents that happen—and the happiness we can find when the two intersect.

The Belle
Willem. I loved his growth. While my few issues with him don't constitute that he be in the 'Beast' section of my review, the scale definitely tips in his favor for the better. Oh Willem, there were points in this book that I wanted to throttle the shit out of you. There are decisions he makes that just had me shaking my head in fury. What the fuck, bro? Man UP already! Get off the tiny violin train. While I was angry a few times, why can't I fault him? Because he tries so hard to be better. He wants to not be 'that guy' anymore. He wants to be somebody who matters. Somebody who has direction. I LOVE stories of personal growth, as frustrating as the journey may be, and Willem is so stellar in his journey to find himself. I cannot blame him for his stumbles along the way, thus is life, it is what makes up human nature and what makes his story uniquely his.

The Ending. The ending. I don't say this next phrase often. I can think of only one other book that I would say with absolute certainty I could apply this phrase to so here I go. The ending...absolute perfection. No, don't argue with me. Please just don't. To say this ending was anything less than perfect for this story is robbing these two books of everything they stand for. I'm gonna get real for a moment...


My last trip to Europe I met a guy. An intelligent, fantastic, (handsome) specimen of a man. I had read Just One Day prior to going (it's actually the book that inspired me to go back but I digress) so as I was falling for said guy, this book kept popping up in my head. Coming home and having Just One Year sitting in my mail did not help matters. I thought that the book would have taken off where Just One Day ended. How wrong I was. This is why I hesitated reading this book for so long. I figured out right away that the entire book would be Willem's year after THE DAY in Paris. Looking back, this is the perfect starting point for this novel. I didn't want to know what happens after he opens the door. I didn't want to see them trying to define their relationship or try to keep in touch or talk about how impossible it was going to be for anything to happen between them. They live in different continents for goodness sakes. I didn't see this ending well. Let me tell you something. Trying to keep in touch with somebody on the other side of the planet is not fun. You're fighting time zones, work schedules in said time zones, figuring out when you can Skype that isn't 2 am your or their time, constantly berating yourself about how stupid and unfair it is that you finally meet someone and they live on the other side of the fucking world. It sucks. It's not romantic. It's not fair. It's not glamorous by any means and I wouldn't wish it on anyone.

This is the perfect ending for this story. Everything that leads into it, all the amazing pieces fitting together in one big event...and it fades to black. It gives an infinite sense of hope after the black fades in. We don't know what happens...and neither do they. Per.fec.tion.

Accidents. The entire idea of accidents, fate, destiny, coincidence is beautiful. I am a believer in all the aforementioned things and I cannot help but believe that there is a greater picture out there. I believe in fate and destiny and being in the right place at the right time. I LOVE how Gayle Forman writes a story that fits all these intricate pieces together. I love how she puts such an importance on faith and accidents but also free will. It is beautiful and amazing and poetic and just brilliant. I cannot say enough how speechless I am at the complex story she weaves as well as repeating some important histories.

The Beast
Myself. I wish I would have read Just One Day again before reading this. I know I was missing out on crucial details that mirrored Allyson and Willem in their respective points in that year apart. I kick myself now.

Should You RSVP To This Ball?
Yes. Yes without a doubt. This story is inspiring and brilliant and beautiful in the messiness we call life...and the accidents that dictate them. Gayle's book inspire me. They inspire me to do things, go places, conquer fears, have accidents. They make me think deeply about what life is all about and what going after your dreams really mean. It means ACTUALLY GOING AFTER THEM and not sitting around talking about it. These two books compliment each other and have really changed my perspective on how I go about things in life. Thank you, Gayle Forman, thank you.


  1. I just LOVED your review of Just One Year! When I started reading it, I have to admit - I thought it would pick up after the last scene in Just One Day but like you, I thought it was perfect that it didn't go down that route. I wanted to know what Willem had been doing during that year away from Allyson and it made me happy to see that he was still thinking about her and looking for her. Granted, he did do things that made me want to strangle him lol. But I love his character and I thought the ending was perfect. It's up to the reader to use their imagination as to what happens next (I like to believe they make it work haha).

    Also - why didn't I meet a gorgeous guy when I went to Europe? ;) I never meet guys on my travels. I must be doing something wrong lol.

  2. I finally finished this on Tuesday night + this is the perfect line: "I love how she puts such an importance on faith and accidents but also free will." Kelly, you nailed it for me. Really. I think my expectations were lowered because of all the mixed reviews I was seeing and I was even surprised when I found myself so enthralled. I think my only reason for loving JOD more is because I just related to Allyson more. But ugh, the ending... even though I wanted more. You're right. It was just the way it should be. Thanks for sharing your personal story with this too. Relationships are not are sparkley and fantastic, especially when there is a factor like distance or for Willem and Allyson... their own demons. Gayle definitely got it right.

  3. I'm really excited to read Just One Year! I've had it FOREVER on my shelf (well, a couple of months), and it just keeps eyeing it. I'm not sure if I'm going to read Just One Day again, though I'm sorely tempted to. I do look forward to learning more about Willem and HIS story!


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