Bestselling author Gayle Forman’s latest young adult novel, “I Have Lost My Way” falls short on her list of works. In a sense, it isn’t as striking as her other books, but it is important. A commonality in all of Forman’s books is that her characters and their stories have big hearts. In the case of “I Have Lost My Way,” this is perhaps the most redeeming quality of the otherwise short, boring novel.
Forman’s writing style is extremely simplistic. There’s often a lack of detail, and her writing is concise and straight to the point. The way she crafts her characters is so different, it’s hard to imagine it is the same author creating them and the plotline. In the newest novel, the three main characters are without a doubt lost. Freya, a singer who has stopped singing, Harun, a closeted gay man afraid of coming out and Nathaniel, who is in the process of learning how to live and be his own person. They are all rich, intriguing characters with backstories that will keep the reader engaged long enough to want to finish the book.
After her novel “If I Stay,” Forman’s writing left me disinterested, but even with that sentiment, I kept reading her work. It’s the characters, like Freya or Mia who make you want to keep reading. “I Have Lost My Way” is a novel where three strangers’ lives converge when it’s most needed. It might be me, but it’s a hard mindset to imagine three strangers meeting like they do. I’m sure it happens, but the thought lingered in my mind throughout the entire novel.
The climax of this novel occurs within the last 50 pages, and from there on out, everything moves extremely quickly. The ending of the novel comes out of nowhere and leaves readers gaping at the back cover because just like that, it is over. I think Forman did this as a stylistic decision. Sometimes, in order to find yourself again, you have to get a little lost. The three separate journeys of our main characters show that everyone gets lost from time to time, but it doesn’t last forever. The connection between the characters is sudden, yes, but it’s heartfelt and even without the lack of writing style — it jumps through the pages.
Freya, Nathaniel and Harun have flaws. They’re all over the place. They have nothing together, but that’s what makes them positively human. Forman has a knack for that, and it results in characters that stick with you long after the story is over. I would give this book 3 out of 5 stars. It’s definitely worth a read. There’s something indescribable about knowing that feeling lost is something everyone goes through in their own unique way. “I Have Lost My Way” reminds us that being lost doesn’t define you, at least not forever.