Allyson Healey, an organized and sensible, quiet high school graduate, is off on a school trip in Europe with other students from her class. The other girls are a bit more daring, but Allyson always follows the rules and does what is expected of her. At least, that is until she and her best friend skip the tour's select version of a Shakespeare play and instead attend a street version of Twelfth Night. It is during this performance that Allyson becomes entranced with actor Willem, and within minutes, agrees to leave the tour and make a side trip to Paris with him.
Willem introduces Allyson (whom he calls Lulu) to a bit of Paris and they end up together (as we expect they will) spending the night in an artist's flat. In the morning when Allyson awakens Willem is gone and she is alone. What follows is a year where Allyson struggles with life - not getting along with her new college roommates, arguing with her parents, almost failing out of college, and just feeling rejected.
Although a little slow moving, Just One Day is an enjoyable, light read with a predictable, but satisfying ending. On the whole I enjoyed it, but I must admit I had to keep from imagining that any of it could be real simply because Allyson did so many dangerous and naive things. To leave her tour group with a man she had only met moments earlier? To run around Paris, and later to travel back again, relying only on the kindness of strangers? Even to allow these past events to cloud all of the good fortune and coddled life. She was crazy - and if she had been my child she would have been grounded for life! But as a fun, romantic read about a girl traveling the world - I could enjoy that, and even wish I were in her shoes.
The video below is of author Gayle Forman and a little more about writing Just One Day.