Author: Gayle Forman
Published: January 2013
Source: Borrowed this one from my Twitter friend Jennifer Fountain (@jennann516). Yeah for twitter and book bloggers!
Allyson has always had a plan and is completely organized. She is the type of girl who goes back to the hotel instead of going out to nightclubs while on a teen trip to Europe. She is a good girl and does not do spontaneous things. Then one day at the end of her Europe trip, she meets Willem, who is a very spontaneous person. He lives his life by letting "accidents" lead him in the direction he might go. Allyson, or Lulu as Willem calls her, takes off to Paris with him for just one day. You will have to read the book to find out what happens to Allyson and Willem. There are too many spoilers that could happen if I keep summarizing.
I absolutely loved this book and the beauty of the writing. I am tempted to immediately dive in for another read. The author deals with big topics like the way that relationships between parents and children change when they leave home for college, and the very real physical symptoms of depression, and how lonely life can be sometimes. These things are treated with seriousness but not heartbreaking heaviness. Allyson is a character that grows exponentially in this book. I was rooting for her and hoping for her success in whatever endeavor. My heart kind of breaks a little for her mother who is having such a hard time letting go of the control she had over Allyson's life. I also am intrigued by the depth of character in Willem hinted at in the book. I want to know what made him the way he is, although I am pretty sure of my theory from the hints the author gives us in this book.
As in other books by Gayle Forman, she surprised me with twists and turns that were unexpected. This book is a book about finding yourself and navigating tricky relationships. It is also a book about being brave and letting yourself be vulnerable. Another thing I loved was the way Shakespeare's plays became central to the story. I am left with the sense that I am missing out and need to go back to reread As You Like It and Twelfth Night. It is awesome when an author can weave that kind of excitement into a new book so that readers are inspired to read other greats.
Lastly, I did not have this experience, but I did have a love story that started in the year I was studying abroad and felt those tiny stabs of doubt as Allyson does (mine ended up in the amazing marriage that I have with my Spaniard husband). I traveled alone in Europe and felt many of the same things that Allyson feels while traveling. I also have been to Paris, but it was nothing like the Paris Allyson and Willem experience which was off the beaten path and a bit bohemian. Perhaps this is why I loved this book so much. I truly connected with the character and felt that some of what was written could have been about me at that age. I would highly recommend this book to high school students and adults alike and now I will be impatiently waiting for the sequel.
|Since elephants are my second favorite thing after books I decided that my ratings would be done in elephants. |
5 out of 5 elephants for this most memorable book.