A breathtaking journey toward self-discovery and true love, from the author of If I Stay
When sheltered American good girl Allyson "LuLu" Healey first meets laid-back Dutch actor Willem De Ruiter at an underground performance of Twelfth Night in England, there’s an undeniable spark. After just one day together, that spark bursts into a flame, or so it seems to Allyson, until the following morning, when she wakes up after a whirlwind day in Paris to discover that Willem has left. Over the next year, Allyson embarks on a journey to come to terms with the narrow confines of her life, and through Shakespeare, travel, and a quest for her almost-true-love, to break free of those confines.
I'm not a big fan of Gayle Forman's debut novel If I Stay, despite the rave reviews and the bittersweet story. But I have to admit it is what makes her famous and unique - the bittersweetness in her books. This one's no exception.
What I admire about the author is that she always manages to create layered, damaged and real characters. Each has his or her own quirks and flaws, and something that makes the character so readily unforgettable and authentic. Allyson's voice is strong throughout the book, and even though I am a believer in fate and serendipity, I am not entirely sure about the 'just one day' soulmate concept here, as well as the little coincidences that sometimes seem make-believe. But Allyson makes me believe that there is such a thing as that, and that she's experienced it herself. This makes me finally just decide to go along for the ride.
I slowly warm up to the book. The first half is a little slow and tedious, but as soon as we get to the second part, everything speeds up and we get to see interesting characters: the Shakespeare class professor, Dee, Allyson's roommates, and the people she meets along the way. It gets interesting and the hunt for someone she doesn't really have much clues about intrigues me as if I were looking for that person too.
The heartbreak - I can just feel it. Feel it ruin me too, as much as it ruins Allyson. I don't really like Willem as the main male protagonist, but I hope I'll warm up to him in the second book as it's told through his point of view.
Let me see.. I don't know what it is exactly that makes me buy every single Gayle Forman book as I don't always relate to the characters, but it must be some kind of magic that the author has. Till now I still have no idea why, but I will keep reading her books till I find out what it is.