I have lost my way by Gayle Forman
Simon and Schuster, 2018. ISBN 9781471173721
(Age: 15+) Highly recommended. Themes: Mental illness. Friendship. Homosexuality. Diversity. Gayle Forman the author of the bestselling If I stay and the sequel Where she went among others, has done it again. I have lost my way is a powerful, memorable and engrossing stand-alone story that delves into the lives of three young people, all who have problems. Freya, on the verge of becoming a star, has lost her voice while recording her first album, Harun is running away from his boyfriend, too afraid to come out to his family and Nathaniel has come to New York totally alone. When Freya falls on Nathaniel in the park and this is witnessed by Harun, the three unite and while taking Nathaniel to the hospital the reader finds out their stories. All have lost their way.
The book is written from different points of view and the reader gets to know each character in depth and is able to sympathise with their crises and with their backgrounds. Freya has not only lost her voice, she has lost her sister who she once sang with and her father who has returned to Ethiopia to live. Harun has been so successfully in hiding his sexuality that he is being sent off to meet his bride and Nathaniel, that brave boy, has lost his grandmother and his father, who he has cared for over many years.
This is an unforgettable story. Each character is so well described that you feel you know them very well and can relate to their problems and applaud their strengths. The power of friendship shines through this book and will be a beacon for readers who see how friends who are there for you can make a huge difference. Other themes like mental health, children who are left to be the main carers of adults, manipulation by the music industry and suicide all make it a book not to be missed.
An article from Publishers Weekly notes that Forman had lost her own way before writing this compelling story. She had started seven projects, none of which satisfied her and finally decided to face her problem by writing about it. This article also links to a recording of A little white dress, a song that resonates for Freya in the story.
This is a very satisfying and uplifting story, sure to become a firm favourite for many readers.