It shames me to say that this is the first novel by Gayle Forman that I have read. However her reputation preceded her and I was keen to get into this book.
There are three central characters in this book – Freya who has lost her singing mojo, Harun who is planning to run away from home to find the boy he loves, and Nathaniel who has suffered a family tragedy and arrives in New York alone and without really knowing what he is going to do.
The three quite literally collide in Central Park, when Freya in a moment of inattention falls from a bridge on to Nathaniel who is passing below, and whom Harun thinks, for a moment, is his missing man!
The book takes place over the space of one day, during which Forman explores loss in various forms. She does this with real empathy for her characters, whose backgrounds and stories come across very well. Each one has some real issues to confront, and there’s quite a lot of insight into how some parts of the music industry, in particular, can be quite brutal.
The novel also deals sensitively with (in this particular case) gay men coming out to their families – or not – and how despite different ethnicities the issue is still, and only, that of acceptance and love.
Confronting issues of sexuality, depression, suicidal thoughts are all here, but dealt with in a way that I think would encourage readers to think and talk about issues which concern them.
The way these three young people connect, relate and provide support to one another might seem a tad far-fetched to an older, more jaundiced reader, but nonetheless it works. I was gripped from page one, and I recommend it highly to teenage readers. I hope school libraries will pick this one up too.
Reviewed by Sue Esterman
I have lost my way
by Gayle Forman
Published by Simon & Schuster