I Have Lost My Way by Gayle Forman [REVIEW]

This is an archived review. Click here to see the original post.

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“A powerful display of empathy and friendship from the #1 New York Times Bestselling author of If I Stay. Around the time that Freya loses her voice while recording her debut album, Harun is making plans to run away from home to find the boy that he loves, and Nathaniel is arriving in New York City after a family tragedy leaves him isolated on the outskirts of Washington state. After the three of them collide in Central Park, they slowly reveal the parts of their past that they haven’t been able to confront, and together, they find their way back to who they’re supposed to be. Told over the course of a single day from three different perspectives, Gayle Forman’s newest novel about the power of friendship and being true to who you are is filled with the elegant prose that her fans have come to know and love.”

Edition: Hardcover

Page Count: 304 pages

Publication: March 27th, 2018

Publisher: Viking Books for Young Readers

My Rating: ★★★½/★★★★★ (3.5 stars)

I was sent a copy of this book by the publisher in exchange for an honest review. 

p.s. there’s a lot of great representation in here!
– lgbt+ muslim pov
– mixed pov mc
– sc pov with depression?

*TW FOR MENTIONED SUICIDE*

“They may be complete strangers, with different lives and different problems, but there in that examination room, they are measuring sadness the same way. They are measuring it with loss.”

I Have Lost My Way by Gayle Forman follows three POVs: Freya, Harun, and Nathaniel. Freya is our main character who’s lost her voice while recording her debut album in order to build from her internet fame. Nathaniel is struggling personally and has just arrived in New York City with only a backpack and a map. Harun, a New Yorker, struggling with his identity and coming out to his family. Whenever one of them ends up literally falling on the other and one of them is a bystander, they become close in a span of a day and help each other understand the loss they’re all facing and how to cope with it.

Gayle Forman is well-known, rightfully so, for If I Stay and it’s sequel. I was first introduced to her writing whenever I read If I Stay and nothing about it was memorable to me. I felt different about her writing while reading this book. It was incredibly detailed but the writing was beautiful. When writing about such heavy topics like she covers in this book, it’s perfect that she was able to side it with such a smooth and elegant writing style.

I definitely have to say this book is perfect for binge reading. If you have a night where you can just get cozy in bed and read a book, you should pick this one. It’s short and it takes place across one single day but it’s never boring. Each character is so interesting and uniquely different that there wasn’t really a POV that I preferred. Somehow, the reader gets an in-depth background into each character so you actually end up knowing them by the middle of the book which is astounding for it’s pace. I actually did read this all in one sitting and I ended up staying up until like 2am in order to finish it. I’ve read a few books that take place throughout a day but this one was fantastically done.

There was a lot going on within this book but it wasn’t too much. There was Freya’s POV and her music career, her relationship with her sister and her father. There was Harun’s POV with dealing with his sexuality, his boyfriend, and his family. Then there was Nathaniel’s point of view dealing with his concussion, his relationship with his father and his future. Alongside all of that, we get their relationship and their stories together. It felt like the perfect drama but it was also so thought-provoking and heartwarming. The ending was so beautifully done and this honestly feels like some of Gayle Forman’s best work.

What I Didn’t Like: I had one problem that I noticed very early on within this book that didn’t really affect my reading experience but I did realize it early on and was kind of worried. It’s definitely something someone else might bring to attention due to how important #ownvoices is now in the Young Adult genre. I believe it’s okay to write a character different from you as long as you’re not writing their struggles. For example, a straight man can’t write a book about a lesbian struggling to come out. In I Have Lost My Way, Feyre comes from a partially Ethiopian family and it’s very prevalent in the book due to her dad’s position. But, personally, I feel like her character and family dynamic seemed very well researched, appropriate, and respected. As for Harun, I feel like Gayle Forman walked the line. While it’s very clear she did research and is knowledgeable about Islam (from my understanding), I was uncomfortable reading her write about his struggles being a gay Muslim in a very religious family because it isn’t truly authentic. Here’s a few of the lines that I consider “walking the line” when it comes to writing the struggles of a POC character.

“His older brother Saif started middle school on the day 9/11 happened, and after that he began calling himself Steve and refusing to attend mosque.”

But she doesn’t expand on this or use it as a plot point which is why I don’t think this book is bad. Continuing on, while talking about himself, Harun says:

“And anyway, it’s not like any American carrier would be eager to hire a pilot named Harun Siddiqui.”

which makes me refer back to why I believe a POC should write about their struggles before anyone else should. It just seems wrong and unnecessary???

Like I mentioned before, I feel like Gayle Forman did this in the best way that she possibly could. Harun’s character was actually the most fleshed out within the book and every scene with his family was great. This is just a personal preference of mine. Other than that, this is by far my favorite book by her.

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