I Have Lost My Way by Gayle Forman
Young Adult Contemporary Fiction
Hardcover, 304 pages
Published March 27th 2018 by Viking Books for Young Readers
Note: I received a copy of I Have Lost My Way from the publisher for review consideration.
I Have Lost My Way is the story of three vastly different teenagers as their lives intersect one day in New York City.
Freya is a singer and a rising star. One day, she isn’t able to sing anymore. Doctors can’t seem to pinpoint the issue. Freya’s whole life has become her career. Is all that going to disappear?
As Freya takes a walk in Central park to clear her head, she loses her balance and falls off a little bridge onto a passerby below. His name is Nathaniel. Nathaniel just arrived in NYC, alone, lost, and almost broke. Now he has a concussion.
A boy named Harun witnesses this fiasco. Harun is in Central Park hoping to see the boyfriend he can’t tell his Muslim family about–or, is it ex-boyfriend now? He recognizes Freya, and as he lingers, she enlists his help. Together they take Nathaniel to an Urgent Care Clinic, despite his protests of, “It’s all good.”
Each one of them is experiencing a loss they think they have to deal with on their own. They each think they’re the only ones. When they meet, they bond immediately. They are veritable strangers, but in that there’s also kind of a freedom. No one has any expectations or preconceived notions about who the others are supposed to be. They are able to be honest and raw.
I Have Lost My Way is a beautiful, heartfelt exploration of loss and what it means to carry it.
“To be the holder of other people’s loss is to be the keeper of their love.”
All three of them think they’re at the end of their rope with no one else to turn to. But when they all meet, they’re open and honest in a way they haven’t been able to be in a long time. They help each other in their time of need and it’s a beautiful thing.
Although Freya, Nathaniel, and Harun each have heartache and pain in their past, the tone of I Have Lost My Way is ultimately uplifting. It may break your heart a little on the way, but you’ll have a smile on your face at the end.
This is the first of Gayle Forman’s book that I didn’t listen to on audio. I think that’s a good thing for this particular title because not only are were alternating points of view, but we are also alternating timelines. Being able to actually see this helped me keep them in line in my mind. Otherwise I think I might have found it a little confusing!
It did, however, really work for this story. The story takes place all in the same day, but we still get to know the characters really well. This is because Forman also deftly weaves in flashbacks that fill in each character’s backstory.
Though the book is relatively short, it’s very well written and doesn’t feel rushed. It’s really well crafted in that it’s not needlessly long, and also doesn’t feel too short.
I also loved that it has a diverse cast of main characters who are dealt with sensitively, naturally, and realistically while not by an own voices author. I can’t speak to the true authenticity of the characters’ voices as a straight white woman, but I can say they as I was reading it for me it felt totally natural and right.
I’ve read all of Gayle Forman’s young adult books, and I gotta say–this one is now my favourite.
Want more Gayle Forman? Check out my thoughts on her last YA novel, I Was Here!
Beth is the founder and editor of Fuelled by Fiction. She is a twenty-something east coast Canadian girl who loves writing about books and feminism.