Book Review: I Have Lost my Way by Gayle Forman

I Have Lost my Way by Gayle Forman
Release Date: 5th April 2018
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Children's UK
Pages: 288
Buy: Paperback  Kindle

Around the time that Freya loses her voice while recording her debut album, Harun is making plans to run away from everyone he has ever loved, and Nathaniel is arriving in New York City with a backpack, a desperate plan, and nothing left to lose. When a fateful accident draws these three strangers together, their secrets start to unravel as they begin to understand that the way out of their own loss might just lie in help­ing the others out of theirs. 

Teenagers Freya, Harun and Nathaniel have never met, but they all have one thing in common. They have all lost their way in some shape or form. Now, when I say lost their way, I'm not talking about directions...I'm talking about the inner battles that they are each facing on a daily basis.
Nineteen year old singer Freya is on the verge of becoming a super-star - until she suddenly loses her voice and is unable to record her debut album. 
Muslim Harun is torn between keeping his close-knit family happy and continuing a secret relationship with his 'boyfriend' James. Realising he couldn't possibly come out to his family he looks set to lose the first real love of his life.
And Nathaniel is starting to doubt even his own existence after the suffering of his family and his unusual upbringing.
These three teenagers couldn't be more different; but when an incident in Central Park leads them to one another, the events of one single day end up bringing them closer together and helping one another in ways that they never could have imagined.

love Gayle Forman's novels and it feels like an AGE since we had anything new from this wonderful author. (Edit: it actually wasn't, she released novella collection 'Just One' in August last year. But it's been a while since we had a new full length-novel.) Therefore I was really excited about I Have Lost My Way and it certainly didn't disappoint.
As a fan of Gayle's previous books I knew to expect three things from her latest offering: 1) I would quickly become fully invested in the characters lives and be holding my breath with every single page to make sure they were ok. 2) I wouldn't be able to part with the book until I knew what was going to happen (see 1) and 3) I would be a blotchy faced emotional wreck by the time I finished this novel. I can safely say these these three rules fully applied because I experienced all of those things and MORE with I Have Lost My Way.

Based on a really unusual concept, I loved how the whole story was set over the course of one day. We get to experience all three characters points of view and this also gives us an insight into the backstory of Freya, Haru
n and Nathaniel. You will quickly feel as though you know these characters and the more you learn about their history, the more of an affinity you will feel.
My heart broke for all three of these lost, confused and lonely teenagers - all who were looking for love, reassurance and just to have someone who is there for them.
Freya was probably my favourite of the three. Living in fear that without her voice no one would be interested in her, no one would show her any love and she was terrified of the failure that not being able to be a famous singer would surely bring. The more we discover about her past and her fractured family, the more her irrational thoughts and feelings begin to make sense.
Nathaniel is also living with a fractured family and the urge to jump within these pages and give him the biggest, squishiest hug was SO strong. Then there's Harun who has a loving, tight-knit Muslim family...The only problem is they will surely disapprove of his sexual orientation. I really felt for Harun, what an awful position to be in. His love for James is loud and clear, but the fact that he needs to keep their relationship a secret for fear of repercussions from his family is all too powerful.

Gayle Forman touches upon many themes within this story including mental health, sexuality and the impact of broken families. However, the strongest theme that shone out in the novel for me was that of friendship. Never underestimate the power of sharing your problems with those closest to you, because you never know - they might be going through something similar and just knowing that you're not alone can be a game-changer in itself. Despite all of the serious topics Gayle talks about within this novel, I felt that the overriding message was a really positive one. (And whilst we're on the topic, writing about such difficult subject matters can't be easy but Gayle handles them realistically and with sensitivity.) Saying that, I Have Lost my Way also poses the all-important question 'Can one have a professional career as a professional burp-singer?' and that sums up this novel all over. Despite the serious over-riding issues, it can still raise a smile. The bond that Freya, Harun and Nathaniel developed will warm your heart and seeing them support each other despite having only just met was a wonderful thing to experience.

Whilst I'd find it impossibly to choose a favourite book of Gayle's, I Have Lost My Way is definitely in my top 3. It's one of those books that you will race through and then feel slightly bereft that it's over, but you'll be proud of the journey you took along with these memorable characters.

Diverse, emotional, smart and unpredictable, this is a very important addition to your 2018 YA bookshelf.


A huge thank you to Eve at Simon & Schuster Children's UK for the opportunity to review.

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