Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Just One Day by Gayle Forman

Title: Just One Day
Author: Gayle Forman
Pages: 368
Genre: YA fiction, travel
Rating: 4/5 mangoes

     Right about now it's 5PM (on the dot) and I am so grateful to have my blog. I have so much to say on this brilliant novel that I'm glad I have more than 140 characters to talk with (twitter: @/spontaneouslyxs). You can read about my new rating system here. The reason it doesn't get 5 mangoes is because although I wouldn't change a thing, I have this gut feeling that it isn't a five quite yet, that the 5 mango books need to have just a little more, and for that reason, I'm out. Haha, just kidding (Shark Tank reference!), but for those reasons, it's a four. Maybe that "little more" is closure in the form of the companion novel, Just One Year, but for whatever reason, this book affected me a lot. By the end I was crying, as in truthfully dripping tears, which is something I seldom do and never used to (I've become more of a softie.) Gayle Forman did an outstanding job bringing everything in this book to life, something I didn't see in If I Stay, which I felt was rather over-hyped and built up with more than was given to us at the end.

     Allyson Healy has always been the quiet, no-risk girl until she meets Dutch Shakespearan actor and nomad Willem at one of his performances while visiting Europe on a chaperoned tour trip with her best friend. Running into him again on the train, she spontaneously and totally out of her comfort zone agrees to spend just one day with him in Paris, only to discover the next day that he's missing. Gayle Forman describes heartbreak in an authentic format that's almost overwhelming in it's beauty; one of missing someone, of playing the "What If?" game, of yearning for something you can never have. You get to see how Allyson deals with the after affects of one perfect day, finding who she truly is between who she pretended to be, and breaking free of all the ropes tying her down to the no-risk girl she's always been. It definitely will inspire the wanderlust in you and really make you want to get up, stop sitting, and go do something crazy yourself.

     It delves a lot into emotions and a strong state of almost emptiness that makes it more than a breezy read, but a good one light enough that you'll still find it enjoyable.

     After reading If I Stay and beginning Where She Went, I ruled out Gayle Forman as an author I love. I didn't find myself emotionally connecting to anything because I didn't really find anything to connect to. I read the entire If I Stay, and it was like being told a story about someone's dead great-great-grandmother. Irrelevant. Not directly affecting me. Vague. But in this book, her writing, the reality and beautiful, dramatically tragic truth that nothing is an accident, the inspiration to travel and venture out into the unknown, the feeling of being in Europe yourself, and the emphasis on what the best parts of traveling are (makes sense- during the 3 years before college Forman took off for travel she's visited 64 countries, her fave being India. Woohoo Desis!) completely changed my opinion of her. The emphasis on a thought I love in theory and reality- that life is spontaneously splendid and anything can happen anytime- showed a lot to me in terms of how it connected to Allyson using that as a way to find herself, but in a relatable format. If you're telling me you wouldn't have struggled the way she had after holding one perfect day in her hand and losing touch with the only person who experienced it as well faster than a chunk of gold in a river, you're telling a fantasy. For whatever reason I almost thought of The Fault in Our Stars by John Green, though the storylines are very, very different. What struck me as similar was the many interesting tidbits I learned from the book as well as very unique and decidedly uncliche things/events/words to mark their special moments, ie. something other than roses at a dinner or a pretty sunset or compliment. Both books also tie their entire books back to Shakespeare at some point, which is something unique to every author and elevates the book to a higher standing. (Don't get me wrong- TFIOS is sad in a very obvious way, whereas Just One Day might not be sad to some people and instead just interesting as it's almost a mystery to find out what will happen next.)

A special shoutout to my best friend for recommending this book to me- because life is spontaneously splendid, and you never, ever know which books you'll truly love until you give them a chance, which is why I say READ EVERYTHING. I've been going insane because it's been days and I still don't have Just One Year.
Happy warm weather reading, travels, and more! (I'm shivering right now. Why is May 20th 50°F?) 
Aiman Ghani

[Disclaimer: I am not an Islamic leader or informed person of any kind. While I do my best to review and recommend only halal novels, there are some exceptions. Please take your deen into account and take precautions before reading any book despite who it may be reviewed by. A source to check books for how age appropriate they are is commonsensemedia.org] 

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

DIY Flower Crown + 10 Variations

With spring here, what better accessory to roam the earth in than a flower crown? Quick, inexpensive, utterly attractive and supremely versatile, these are a must have. Scroll through for full instructions!