Welcome to the read along for JUST ONE YEAR, part of the Gayle Forman Read Along event!
Each WEDNESDAY, we will be posting the answers from the previous week and I’ll be giving you my answers as well as the questions for the next week’s batch of chapters! Here’s a look at our official schedule for the event:
October 18th: Questions week 1 (Ch 1-12)
October 23rd: Answers week 1 (Ch 1 – 12), week 2 questions (Ch 13 – 21) Now!
October 30th: Answers week 2 (Ch 13 – 21), week 3 questions (Ch 21 – 32)
November 6th: Answers week 3 (Ch 21 – 32), week 4 questions (Ch 33 – end)
November 13th: Answers week 4 (Ch 33 – end), wrap-up & giveaway winner announced!
As you may have noticed, there will be a little giveaway for one of the JUST ONE YEAR read along participants! I’ve detailed the guidelines for the giveaway allllll the way down at the bottom!
ANSWERS: WEEK 1
- We know from JUST ONE DAY how Allyson and Willem initially got permanently separated, but in JUST ONE YEAR, we get to see Willem’s story of this situation. Did this change how you initially felt in JUST ONE DAY? Did your opinions of Willem from JUST ONE DAY start changing by seeing his side of the story?
My opinion actually immediately changed. I mean, obviously we knew in JUST ONE DAY that he didn’t intentionally leave Allyson behind, but just seeing the story start there in the hospital — you could already tell how much he cared and how important to him she was.
- A common theme in both JUST ONE DAY and JUST ONE YEAR is double happiness. Besides the Chinese symbols, what sort of significance do you think it holds for our two main characters? Do you think there’s a deeper meaning?
I totally think this is a deeper meaning, and I think I didn’t quite feel that way until JUST ONE YEAR. I feel like the double happiness means both Allyson and Willem finding love in each other. I believe it also means both of them finding happiness within themselves and outside of themselves as well. Double happiness holds so many meanings in this book! I feel like it’s an English teacher’s delight!
- Along with Willem’s POV, we also get to get to see a bit more into Celine’s character. Did you feel any different about her reactions towards Willem? Towards Allyson?
My opinion of her TOTALLY changed… And I actually felt my opinion of Willem lessen a bit during their scenes together. Since before we only got to see them from Allyson’s POV — and she didn’t know what was going on since she couldn’t speak French — it was REALLY interesting and eye-opening to see how things went when we actually know what’s going on. I can totally understand her attitude after seeing Willem’s side.
- Willem’s life has been surrounded by and filled with “accidents”, even going back to the story of how his parents met. Do you think this affected his view on life? How he feels about meeting Allyson?
Absolutely. I think the way his parents met REALLY affected his whole life — not just in love, but in everyday events. I feel like Willem leaves a lot to chance because he believes in those happy accidents and that everything will work out like it’s supposed to. I think he allows that to be an excuse for a lot of his behavior as well. I don’t really think he started to take matters into his own hands until he met Allyson.
- All of the chances and accidents we see in this series brings up the idea of chance versus action & intention. Do you think Fate exists?
Hmmm, that’s hard to say. I do, in a way. I believe that things happen for a reason — we may not always understand it right away, but life works itself out. You can’t leave everything up to fate though! We’re still humans with free will and we choose what happens to ourselves. There’s definitely a difference between leaving things up to fate and just letting life happen to you and pass you by.
QUESTIONS: WEEK 2
- First off, how much did Willem’s time in Mexico KILL YOU? Have you ever had close run-in situations or actual run-in situations with someone you knew far away from home?
- Kate told Willem, “Nothing happens without intention” and she also said, “This theory of yours — life is ruled by accident — isn’t that just one huge excuse for passivity?” Do you think she’s on to something there?
- Marjolein said that Willem is like his mother after packing up his bags. He says that he’s not. Which do you think is more accurate knowing what we now know about his mom?
- What do you think of Willem’s relationship with his mother? He feels like they’re not speaking the same language. Do you think that either one of them specifically are at fault?
- We learned a lot about Willem’s history in this section of chapters and we see how rapidly Willem’s life has changed in just the past few years. Even though he’s pretty much an adult at this point, why do you think the absence of his parents hit him so hard?