‘Just One Day’ by Gayle Forman is a novel that uses life-like characters to push its story forward. From Allyson’s subtleness to Willem’s adventurousness and Melanie’s free-spiritedness, ‘Just One Day’ uniquely integrates realism and romance.
Allyson Healey is the main protagonist in ‘Just One Day.’ Described as a beautiful 18-year-old-girl with short black hair and bangs, Allyson agrees to go on a tour around Europe as a present for graduating high school. She goes with her best friend, Melanie, an outgoing girl. However, being bland about adventure, Allyson spends most of her time loathing the entire trip. On the last day of the tour, she meets Willem and instantly lights up.
Allyson’s meeting with Willem ignites a feeling of exploration and adventure in her. After agreeing to go to Paris with him, she discovers parts of herself she never knew existed. However, everything comes tumbling when Willem abandons her. Struggling to cope with the heartbreak, Allyson falls into a dark place where she becomes depressingly tired of her life. Allyson meets new people and after receiving advice from them, decides to gain closure from her past; this makes her take a trip back to Paris to figure out how to find Willem. Finally, she traces Willem to his home in the Netherlands, and in an attempt to get closure, she tells him her real name.
Willem is also the main protagonist in ‘Just One Day.’ He is a tall, blond-haired guy with brown eyes. After inviting Allyson to watch a Shakespeare show, Willem falls for her. He meets Allyson again on a train to London and changes his mind about going home when she tells him of her initial plan to go to Paris.
Willem takes Allyson to Paris, where they have a breathtaking adventure. He opens up to her about being away from home for two years. After she gets injured, Willem tries to talk her out of their journey. Willem ends up sleeping with Allyson, and to her shock, he disappears the next day. Willem meets Allyson again as she visits him at his home in the Netherlands to tell him her real name.
Melanie is Allyson’s best friend and classmate. Described as a blond-haired girl with an extroverted personality, Melanie tries reinventing herself on the Europe tour. After Willem breaks Allyson’s heart, Melanie tries her best to make her best friend happy and forget about everything. Ongoing to college, she dyes her hair brown and adds piercings to her body. She ends up admitting to Allyson that she might also like women.
Celine is a beautiful woman with black hair and a symmetrically-shaped face with piercings. On arriving in Paris, Willem tells Allyson he knew where she could drop her luggage, and he takes her to Celine’s place. Allyson gets intimidated by Celine’s beauty, and when she asks Willem how he knew Celine, he tells her that he once fell in love with her, making Allyson’s face drop.
Ms. Foley is the tour guide for the Teen Tours organization, the group that takes teens around Europe. Though people disliked Ms. Foley for her strictness concerning night parties and headcounts, Allyson admits to liking her. After Willem abandons her, Allyson tries to look for help and ends up calling Ms. Foley, who comes to her rescue.
With his original name being Jacques, Captain Jack is a boat owner who agrees to take Allyson and Willem down the river to Arsenal. Captain Jack soon becomes fond of Allyson and tells her that time was fluid.
After the incident with Willem, Allyson returns home to attend college. Kali is Allyson’s roommate. Named after California, Allyson finds her roommate’s family to be strange. Kali and her friends become Allyson’s friends, nicknaming themselves the Fab Four.
Gretchen is a woman from the guidance office at Allyson’s college. Noticing Allyson’s struggle with her studies, she changes some of her courses for her. She also advises Allyson on her mental state and encourages her to do better in her studies.
D’Angelo Harrison, or Dee for short, is Allyson’s reading partner and later, her friend. Dee’s friendship with Allyson helps her become a better version of herself. He learns about her encounter with Willem, and with his input, Allyson becomes bolder and finally makes up her mind to travel back to Europe.
Other characters include Todd, Agnethe, Karin, Bert, Gustave, Mason, Trevor, Suzanne, Jenn, and Kendra.
Who is Captain Jack in Just One Day?
Jacques owns the boat that transports Willem and Allyson down the river to Arsenal. Allyson also meets four Danish people and pays Captain Jack 100 dollars.
Does Melanie fall in love with a girl in Just One Day?
Though she tells Allyson she was having a fling with Suzanne, it is inconclusive as to whether Melanie falls in love or not.
Does Willem love Celine in Just One Day?
Though he told Allyson that he once fell in love with Celine, Willem fell out of love with her. However, they remained friends.
Does Allyson become depressed in Just One Day?
With a lack of drive for any activity and a constant sadness from remembering great moments with Willem, Allyson became depressed; this affected her studies badly.