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.
Three Stars: A look at the other side of the story, but it lacks a bit of something.
Willem wakes dazed and confused. He is unsure of where he is, let alone what city he is in. The only thing he knows is that he has lost something important to him, and if he doesn't snap out of it, he will lose whatever it is for good. Willem is in the hospital after a beating, suffering from a concussion. By the time he returns to his senses and remembers Lulu, it is too late. He spends the next year stumbling through his life, trying to find the piece of himself he lost over two years ago only to briefly recover it during that one magical day in Paris with a mystery girl he only knows as Lulu, and lose it again. As time goes on, Willem realizes how much Lulu changed him, and he would do anything to see her again. Can Willem somehow find a way back to the girl who touched his heart in just one day?
What I Liked:
- At last, I was able to get inside Willem's head and understand the mysterious boy who intrigued me in Just One Day. Just like Allyson, Willem is struggling on his own journey of self discovery. While Allyson is going through the growing pains of moving into adulthood, Willem is suffering from something worse. The loss of almost everything he held dear. Uprooted, lost and alone, Willem must somehow find himself again. Will he do it through friends? Acting? Or will he somehow find the girl who showed him how to live again?
- I was pleased to see that this story continued to focus on the theme of fate that was so prevalent in the first book. Willem whole heartedly believes in accidents and chance encounters, and I loved how the theme played over and over in this book. With each chance encounter, or accidental event, it brings him ever closer to finding himself. I especially liked seeing how with each chance encounter, his life changed.
- I enjoyed learning more about the difficult relationship Willem had with his mother. The two have always been distant, and Willem never felt like he connected with his mother. After a heartbreaking loss, the two drifted even further apart, but then in desperation, Willem reaches out to his mother, and learns that things were not as he always perceived them. I loved the way things developed between them, and I was pleased at the outcome.
- Like Allyson, Willem has a life long best friend, Broodje, but unlike Mel and Allison, Broodje and Willem remain close and they have each other's backs. I liked the relationship between the two, and I liked how they supported one another. I also enjoyed exploring the many new friendships that Willem forms during the course of the year. Again, there is a heavy focus on friendships and relationships in this book which I liked.
- I was relieved to see the other side of the story and learn the truth about what happened at the end of the day in Paris. This book filled in many of the pieces that I needed to help complete the picture.
- Just like Allyson, Willem undergoes an extraordinary transformation as he goes on his own journey of self discovery. I loved his change and growth.
And The Not So Much:
- The ending once again was frustrating. It ends abruptly during the happily ever after moment leaving me with several unanswered questions and feeling a bit cheated. For instance, I never had an understanding as to what happened to the note he left? Where did he leave it and why did Allyson not find it? Where were the postcards he left in Allyson's suitcase? Did Celine take them? What transpired with the play? What was Linus calling about? I felt like there was much more to the story and the author should have either written a third book or taken the time to provide a satisfactory ending.
- I was disappointed that there was not more discussion on Willem's parents' relationship. Bram and Yael had an epic romance that came about after a chance encounter, which bears a striking similarity to Allyson's and Willem's romance. I was itching to know so much more about their romance and their life together, but the author only throws out snippets here and there, not enough for me to gather the whole picture.
- This book picks up at the end of the one day. I wished that it had gone back to the day in Paris so I could see things through Willem's eyes and see how his feelings for Allyson developed. The day in Paris was the highlight of Just One Day, and I felt that not reliving a bit of that day caused the book to lack something. After all, the romance begins that day, and I so wanted to see how Willem felt.
- Overall, the book was a bit lacking in comparison to Just One Day. The writing wasn't as gorgeous and I wasn't as invested in the story line. I liked Willem, but I wasn't as engaged with his journey as I was with Allyson. I thought the book began to drag somewhere around his trip to India, and I quickly grew bored during the final portion when he was working on the play. I was more than eager for the reunion, only to be slapped in the face with the same abrupt ending. It was a good read, but not a great one.
Just One Year is a bit of a disappointing sequel. While I enjoyed peeling away Willem's layers in order to understand him, I was sad that there wasn't more depth and detail in the story. The ending was the most frustrating of all as I was finally expecting some answers, and instead I was left with several lingering questions. I need a long drawn out happily ever after! Still, I recommend this series because it is well written, and I liked seeing the journey and transformation of both characters.
"We have to snatch the sun when we have it, don't we?"
"Loving someone is such an inherently dangerous act. And yet, love, that's where safety lives."
I borrowed a copy of this book from the library. All opinions are my own and I was not compensated for this review.