**SPOILER ALERT: If you haven’t read “Just One Day” and “Just One Year,” go buy/borrow/check those books out, read them, then come back!*
It’s no secret that at Teen Lit Rocks we love Gayle Forman. We are huge fans of her books, and we are eagerly awaiting the opening of the movie “If I Stay.” So, I was ecstatic to find out that Forman wrote a companion story that picks up where “Just One Year” left off. We wanted more, and Gayle must have decided that Willem and Allyson’s tale needed some closure. So she gave us “Just One Night.” It’s a novella that’s worth reading if you enjoyed the two books about Willem and Allyson.
After spending one life-changing day in Paris with laid-back Dutch actor Willem De Ruiter, sheltered American good girl Allyson “Lulu” Healey discovered her new lover had disappeared without a trace. Just One Day followed Allyson’s quest to reunite with Willem; Just One Year chronicled the pair’s year apart from Willem’s perspective. Now, back together at last, this delectable e-novella reveals the couple’s final chapter.
If you remember the ending of “Just One Year,” Willem opens the door and sees Allyson there. She enters his apartment and the door closes and… that’s it. We were left to our own imaginations about what happens next, and there was a collective cry of, “Nooooooooo!!!!!!” echoing across Forman’s fandom over the ending. I know, because I was one of those fans. I couldn’t believe that we wouldn’t find out what happened to them, even though I was sure it would be together. I needed proof, some climactic kiss (call me romantic) to seal the deal. So, from the bottom of my heart, thank you Gayle, for listening to your fans.
Without giving away too much, I can tell you that the story picks up inside Willem’s apartment the moment Allyson steps inside. They are both in shock to have found each other after a year of separation, and they have so much to tell each other — but they’re not quite sure how to begin. The story is sweet at first and slowly builds towards the intensity that readers love about Willem and Allyson. Of course Willem and Allyson’s friends are also part of the joy of the two of them finding each another — at last, finally, hallelujah, amen. Everyone is enthralled as they each share how they desperately tried to find the other, and they quickly discover how close they each were to meeting at different points throughout the year (something careful readers will remember from “Just One Year”).
It’s fun to revisit with some of the supporting characters (they both really do have great friends), but this story belongs to Willem and Allyson, and I couldn’t wait for the others to leave them alone. This is truly a satisfying conclusion to a wonderful story; I just wonder why it originally couldn’t have ended this way!
“And the kiss feels like something completely new. But it also feels like something deeply known.”
“Allyson meanwhile is remembering. Why this person? All the things she has told herself, or other people have told her – infatuation or Paris or good acting or lust – no longer hold water, because she remembers so viscerally and feels it anew. It’s not any of that. It’s not even him. Or all him. It’s her. The way she can be with him.”
“That they will find each other during the play, once more, in the words of Shakespeare.”