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Review of I Have Lost My Way

I Have Lost My Way
by Gayle Forman
High School    Viking    258 pp.    g
3/18    978-0-425-29077-4    $18.99

A chance meeting leads to intimate connections for three struggling nineteen-year-olds in Forman’s (If I Stay, rev. 7/09; I Was Here, rev. 1/15) latest novel. Freya is an up-and-coming singer who has lost her voice, to her controlling manager’s chagrin. Harun is a college student with a broken heart and an impossible decision to make: tell his devout Muslim family he is gay, or travel to Pakistan and bring home a bride. Nathaniel just flew into the city, and he’s hiding the true reason for his visit. After colliding in a three-way meet-cute — Freya falls from a Central Park pedestrian bridge and lands on Nathaniel, with Harun stepping in as a helpful bystander — the teens each privately feel drawn to one another; their day, like their relationships, unfolds organically as they each find opportunities to take control of their lives, with the others providing quiet support. Narration flits between the teens’ perspectives; this keeps the pace lively, but some more abrupt shifts are disorienting. Intermittent flashback chapters deepen the characters’ compelling backstories. A precipitously tense conclusion offers no easy answers for Freya, Harun, or Nathaniel, instead providing a stirring reminder of the great risks of isolation and the immense solace and power that community — even with strangers — can bring.

From the May/June 2018 issue of The Horn Book Magazine: Special Issue: Making a Difference.

About Jessica Tackett MacDonald

Jessica Tackett MacDonald is a collection development librarian at the Boston Public Library, specializing in youth and teen collections. She holds masters degrees in library science and children’s literature from Simmons College.

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