Tuesday, March 27, 2018

I Have Lost My Way by Gayle Forman

I Have Lost My Way by Gayle Forman
Release Date - March 27,  2018
Publisher Website - Penguin Random House
Publisher Social Media - Twitter
Pages -  304 pages
My Rating - 5/5
**received for an honest review from publisher**

Here is the Goodreads synopsis
A powerful story 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 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.

An emotionally cathartic story of losing love, finding love, and discovering the person you are meant to be, I Have Lost My Way is best­selling author Gayle Forman at her finest. 
I Have Lost My Way is essentially three stories being woven into one. It's the story of three people who are each lost in their own way. It's the story of their paths interconnecting and the impact that has on each of their individual stories. It's also the story of finding help, hope, and strength in unlikely places.

Freya, Harun, and Nathaniel are all so different from each other. Their stories, at first, seem like they would have little in common. Feyra is a singer who fears she may have permanently lost her voice. Harun feels he may have lost the man he loves. Nathaniel is both literally and figuratively lost. Their stories interconnect after a chance encounter that is beautifully written and orchestrated. It's the jumping off point of the story, and it felt like a lot of care was taken to get their meeting exactly right. It sets the tone for the rest of the story and does so perfectly.

This story takes place during the coarse of one day. This means that it is quickly paced read and that everything is contained in a way that felt unique to me. There isn't time for things to linger. The characters are reacting in the moment and that makes the story feel all the more real. This is a character driven story and that means that the plot is more emotion based, so this tight time frame worked for the story incredibly well. It also spotlights Gayle's writing because she is able to pack all those emotions into such a contained story.

There are three different points of view that are being juggled. This means that the reader is switching back and forth from the various perspectives. It also means that each of the stories unravels at just the right pace. There is enough mystery in each to hold your interest, and you get the pieces to the puzzle at exactly the right time. It may take some getting used to, especially as flashbacks are introduced into each of the stories being told, but once you're pulled into the story it becomes compelling and impossible to put down.

All of the stories focus on family in some way. Freya's relationship with her sister is a driving force for her story arc, but her entire family is just as important to who her character is. Harun is struggling with the weight of keeping secrets from his family and what that means for his future. Nathaniel, who has the most mysterious and  slow to unravel story arc, has a complicated relationship with his father that is heart of his story. These stories are handled in the adept way that Gayle Forman is known for. These relationships are messy and complicated and that makes them feel all the more authentic. Family really is a huge part of what makes someone who they are and I appreciated it being such a large focus in this novel.

The heartbreak of different kinds of loss is what drives this novel. Instead of allowing the reader, or the characters, to sit in that heartbreak, this novel instead shines a light on the strength that is gained from human connections. There is a strength to be found in helping others, and allowing others to help you. There is a hope that resides in these actions that helps lift you. The kindness people show each other, as cliche as it sounds, can go a long way.  There is something cathartic in knowing that you're not alone, and that someone sees you. Each of these characters is struggling with being alone. They are afraid that revealing things about themselves will leave them untethered and change the way those they love see them. The loneliness each of these characters feel is palpable, as is the relief in finding others who understand.

I Have Lost My Way is an intricately woven story that is filled with everything a Gayle Forman fan could hope for. It hits all the emotional notes you want it to, and leaves you feeling hopeful at the end. It's poignant in a way that so many of Gayle's books are. If you're a fan of Gayle Forman's previous books, or just of contemporary young adult novels in general, I highly recommend picking this one up.

** Side note - just mentioning a potential trigger warning for this novel. There are some suicidal elements in the story that I wasn't expecting, and think others should be aware of ** 

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