Tuesday, May 8, 2018

"I Have Lost My Way" by Gayle Forman

I Have Lost My Way
by Gayle Forman

I Have Lost My Way by Gayle Forman

I was lucky enough to receive a review copy of I Have Lost My Way by Gayle Forman from NetGalley. You can read an excerpt and my review below.

A brand-new, heart-wrenching novel from the bestselling author of If I Stay and I Was Here, Gayle Forman.
Around the time that Freya loses her voice while recording her debut album, Harun is making plans to run away from home to find the boy that he loves, and Nathaniel is arriving in New York City after a family tragedy leaves him isolated on the outskirts of Washington state. After the three of them collide in Central Park, they slowly reveal the parts of their past that they haven't been able to confront and, together, they find their way back to who they're supposed to be.
Told over the course of a single day from three different perspectives, this is a story about the power of friendship and being true to who you are.

Book Video
Check out Gayle Forman talking about recording “Little White Dress”, a song featured in I Have Lost My Way.

I have lost my way.
Freya stares at the words she just typed into her phone.
I have lost my way. Where did that come from?
“Excuse me, miss,” the car service driver repeats. “I think I have lost my way.” And Freya startles back to reality. She’s in the backseat of a town car on her way to her seventh — or is it eighth? — doctor’s appointment in the past two weeks, and the driver has gotten turned around outside the tunnel.
She toggles over to her calendar. “Park and 70th,” she tells the driver. “Turn right on Third, then left on 71st.”
She returns her attention to the screen. I have lost my way. Eighteen characters. But the words have the undeniable ring of truth to them, the way middle C does. The way few of her posts these days do. Earlier this morning, someone from Hayden’s office put up a photo of her gripping a microphone, grinning. #BornToSing, the caption read. #ThankfulThursday. Really it should read #TBT because the image is not only weeks old, it’s of a person who no longer exists.
I have lost my way.
What would happen if she posted that? What would they say if they knew?
It’s only when her phone makes the whooshing noise that Freya realizes she did post it. The responses start to flow in, but before she has a chance to read them, there’s a text from her mother: 720 Park Ave, and a dropped pin. Because of course her mother is monitoring the feed as vigilantly as Freya. And of course her mother has misunderstood. Anyway, Freya hasn’t lost her way. She’s lost her voice.
She deletes the post, hoping it was fast enough that no one screen-shot it or shared it, but she knows nothing on the internet ever goes away. Unlike in real life.
Her mother is waiting for her when the car arrives, pacing, holding the test results from the last doctor, which she had to hightail it into the city to collect. “Good, good, you’re here,” she says, opening the door before the driver has pulled to a complete stop and yanking Freya to the sidewalk before she has a chance to give him the $10 tip she’s holding. “I already filled out the paperwork.” She says this like she did it to save time, but she fills out the paperwork at all of Freya’s doctor’s appointments.
They’re ushered straight past reception into the examination room. It’s the kind of service a $1,500 consult, no insurance taken (thanks, Hayden) buys you.
“What seems to be the problem?” the doctor asks as he washes his hands. He does not look at Freya. He probably has no idea who she is. He looks old, like a grandfather, though reportedly he has treated the sort of one-named wonder that as of a few weeks ago everyone thought Freya was on her way to becoming.
She wishes she’d read some of the responses before deleting that tweet. Maybe someone would’ve told her what to do. Maybe someone would’ve told her it didn’t matter if she could sing. They’d still love her.
But she knows that’s bullshit. Love is conditional. Everything is.
“She’s lost her voice,” her mother says. “Temporarily.” She goes through the tediously familiar chronology — “third week in the studio” and “all going flawlessly” and blah blah blah blah — and all the while the phrase I have lost my way goes through Freya’s head, like a song on repeat, the way she and Sabrina used to loop the same track over and over again until they’d dissected it, uncovered all its secrets, and made them their own. It drove their mother crazy, until she discovered the utility of it.
The doctor palpates her neck, peers into her throat, scopes her sinuses. Freya wonders how he would respond if she hocked a loogie. If he would actually look at her like a person instead of a piece of machinery that has malfunctioned. If he would hear her, singing voice or not.
“Can you sing a high C for me?” the doctor asks.
Freya sings a high C.
“She can hit the individual notes,” her mother explains. “And her pitch is perfect. Hayden says he’s never heard pitch like that before.”
“Is that a fact?” the doctor says, feeling the cords in her neck. “Let’s hear a song. Something simple for me, like ‘Happy Birthday.’”
“Happy Birthday.” Who can’t sing “Happy Birthday”? A child can sing “Happy Birthday.” A person who can’t sing at all can sing “Happy Birthday.” To show her opinion of such a request, she starts to sing, but in a heavy French accent.
Apee birsday to you...” she trills. Her mother frowns, and Freya doubles down on the accent. “Apee birsday to vous...
But her voice is smarter than she thinks. It will not be outsmarted by antics or a bad fake accent. And as soon as the song makes the baby leap in octave, from G4 to G5, she gets tripped up in it. The panic takes over. The breath turns to lead.
Appee birsday, dear...” And on the dear it happens. The air shuts off. The song is strangled mid-breath. A stillborn melody.
“Happy birthday to me,” she finishes in sarcastically atonally American deadpan, making a slicing gesture across her throat in case the message wasn’t clear enough.
“Is it paralysis? We heard something like that happened with” — her mother's voice drops — “Adele.”
Freya can hear the hope in her mother’s voice. Not because she wants vocal paralysis but because she wants to link Freya to Adele. A few years back, she read that book The Path, and she bought into it 200 percent. Dream it, be it is her motto.
“I’m going to send you for some tests,” the doctor says, retreating into the already-familiar jargon. “A CAT scan, a biopsy, an LEMG, maybe an X-ray.” He pulls out a card, slides it over, and gives Freya a look that does not seem all that Hippocratic. “And you might consider talking to someone.”
“We did, but the lobotomy didn’t take.”
“Freya!” her mother scolds. To the doctor, “We’re already seeing a therapist.”
We. Like they’re seeing him together. Like they’re both taking the little pills that are supposed to quell the anxiety that is supposedly stifling Freya’s voice.
“This just happened. Literally overnight. If this were” — and here her mother’s voice drops to a whisper — “psychological, it wouldn’t happen in the blink of an eye like that, would it?”
[Want more? Click below to read a longer excerpt.]

Praise for the Book
“In Forman’s wonderfully deft hands, this story of friendship, love, loss and redemption becomes so much more. I Have Lost My Way is a beautifully written love song to every young person who has ever moved through fear and found themselves on the other side.” ~ Jacqueline Woodson, author of the National Book Award winner Brown Girl Dreaming
“Elegant and understated.... A celebration of the lifesaving power of human connection.” ~ Publishers Weekly, starred review
“Stunning doesn't even begin to say it.” ~ Kirkus Reviews, starred review
“Tightly woven and, in places, heartbreaking, this is a masterful exploration of human emotion.” ~ Booklist
“An absolute gem.” ~ School Library Journal
“A stirring reminder of the great risks of isolation and the immense solace and power that community - even with virtual strangers - can bring.” ~ Horn Book Magazine
“The beloved author returns to the genre that made her famous.” ~ Cosmopolitan
“Heartwrenching... If you are ready to be emotionally wrecked yet again, you are in luck.” ~ Hypable

My Review
I received this book in return for an honest review.

By Lynda Dickson
Freya is an up-and-coming singer who can no longer sing. Harun is gay and struggling to come out to his Muslim family. And Nathaniel has just arrived in New York and is feeling very alone. The three teenagers meet under unusual circumstances in Central Park, each one thinking, “I have lost my way.” For varying selfish reasons, they decide to stick together for the day, but they soon discover that they need each other in order to find themselves. Freya puts it perfectly when she says she “does not believe in anything resembling destiny. But at that moment, it’s hard not to believe that the three of them were meant to meet.”
The book takes place over the course of only one day, alternating between the present told in the third person and the past told in the first person by each of the three narrators. Each character takes us back in time and slowly reveals their story of loss. The writing is simple and direct. There are no flourishes or literary devices here. Yet, it is compelling, raw, and honest.
I Have Lost My Way is an emotional ride, and I was bawling my eyes out by the end. This is my first Gayle Forman book. Readers are saying it’s not as good as her others. In that case, I’m off to get every one of her previous books right now.
Warnings: coarse language, sexual references, LGBTQ themes, suicide references.

About the Author
Gayle Forman
Gayle Forman is an award-winning author and journalist whose articles have appeared in numerous publications, including Seventeen, Cosmopolitan, and Elle in the US. She lives in Brooklyn with her family.