Sunday, April 12, 2015

Just One Day by Gayle Forman

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.

The Boy Book by e lockhart

The boy book is the continued story of Ruby Oliver, now a junior in high school, who is struggling to understand how friendships come and go in our lives. Ruby and her friends wrote about their dating experiences (with a bit of wishful thinking mixed in) in a book, where they all chimed in about the rules of all possible dating issues. Throughout the boy book we are introduced to a variety of "rules" from their diary of sorts: The Boy Book: A Study of Habits and Behaviors, Plus Techniques for Taming Them.

 I enjoyed getting to know Ruby and being reminded of all the heartbreak of high school. I think e lockhart shares some of her adult knowledge with her readers through this book. The author allows us to see that it's okay for Ruby to see a therapist to work out her issues, that best friends don't always remain best friends, and that boyfriends can come and go.

In high school we all have our share of heartbreak. However, when we look back on those days the problems we thought were overwhelming don't seem so bad after all. I remember when my daughter had been through a couple years of college and she told me she wished she had known when she was in high school that the little things just didn't matter that much. She thought she worried way too much about boys, friends, clothes, cliques and more. Looking back, she realized that she spent way too much time worrying about it, when she should've just been enjoying life.

The boy book was a fun and quick read. I found that the situations and characters in the book seemed real. It's a book that I can easily recommend to high school students!