Click here to read my thoughts on the first book in this set, Just One Day.
I have one thing I must set straight before I proceed: I don't like the cover to this book. Gayle Forman's book covers tend to be nice-looking, but this one doesn't make sense. Besides the fact that I feel odd with a book that has two people kissing on the front (what is this? a dime store romance?), the picture doesn't match. Willem doesn't look like that. And Allyson isn't dressed like that. Just to get that out of the way.
As I mentioned last week, I enjoy Gayle Forman's writing and I enjoyed Just One Day. Now here is where I stand with its sequel, Just One Year. If I had read them with more space in between, I might have been tempted to compare them, to say which one I liked more. But I think the way I read them, one after the other, is the way that makes most sense: these are companion stories. Given that they cover the same timeline, that statement is more true than it is for many other books that come in pairs. The first third of Just One Day sets the stage for both these books and they both move on from there, complementing each other as they go over events that are both different and exactly the same.
There are many of the same themes in this second book, themes about identity and projected identities. There is more about travel. But there is also quite a bit about loss and the aftermath of grief. The themes about family and friends are still in here--but they're a little different because they're applying to different characters in different situations.
I keep on thinking about the "time is fluid" concept. That's how I feel when I'm reading these books. I forget what time it is. I forget where I am. I forget that these are books, characters. I feel like the months of their lives are a single moment, a single moment traveling away from and toward something, the same thing: resolution. Both books are about a single moment that sparks a journey toward resolution. It's the journey, really, that matters, but the resolution (that is, the love story part) is what helps make it enticing and come to a satisfying ending.
Well, sort of a satisfying ending. I am only satisfied by this ending because I know that tomorrow I will read the ebook novella that finishes off the story. Given the way that these two books work as a pair, it seems fitting for them to end with just one last moment, one last picture.