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My name is Ardis and I am an avid reader and budding writer. I want to share my love of books with others. I work with kids and am interested in finding and creating books that will ignite the reader in everyone. Contact me at: ardis.atkins@gmail.com

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Thursday, April 12, 2018

Audio ARC Review: I Have Lost My Way by Gayle Forman

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/36470842-i-have-lost-my-way?ac=1&from_search=true
Please Note:  I have received an advance audio copy of this book from Listening Library in exchange for an honest review.  This did not influence the opinions of my review in any way.

Synopsis (From Goodreads):

Around the time that Freya loses her voice while recording her debut album, Harun is making plans to run away from everyone he has ever loved, and Nathaniel is arriving in New York City with a backpack, a desperate plan, and nothing left to lose. When a fateful accident draws these three strangers together, their secrets start to unravel as they begin to understand that the way out of their own loss might just lie in help­ing the others out of theirs.

Review:

Although most readers know Gayle Forman from her popular YA books, such as If I Stay, I have only read her recent general fiction novel, Leave Me.  I really enjoyed it, so I happily started listening to this audio book.  With an eclectic mix of main characters, this book pulled me in and I couldn't stop listening.  



What I Liked:
Characters:
There are three main characters, each with a powerful backstory:  Freya, an aspiring singer, Huran, a boy from a traditional immigrant family who is secretly gay, and Nathaniel, who has been neglected by a parent with mental health issues.  Each is wrapped up in their own problems when a chance incident in New York's Central Park throws them together.

I really liked Freya, and was fascinated by her quest to become a famous singer.  But is this her dream (to impress an absent father), or her mother's?  After showing some talent in a Youtube video, Freya is packaged and groomed to flourish on social media by her pushy mother.  Everyone seems to want to cash in on Freya's talent.  This is a potent reminder of how young people are treated in the music industry.  No wonder there are so many one-hit wonders out there!

Huran, is also a wonderful character.  We follow his backstory going back to his childhood when he first understands he is gay, to present day, where he must find the courage to come out.  He loves his family, religion, and culture and feels he will be ostracized if his family knew he was gay. When he finds love, he must face losing his boyfriend, or losing his family.

I was less enthusiastic about Nathaniel, but I will get to that later.

Themes:
All three characters show a longing to have a strong, supportive home life.  I think this is something everyone needs, particularly teens, today.  With so much divisiveness, and cruelty in this world, shouldn't our families be filled with loving, accepting people who will have our backs?  I know lots of teens and it breaks my heart that some of them can't find this at home.  Even though the three teens have very different problems, it all boils down to them desperately wanting a support system.

Audio Production:
This is one instance where I think listening to the audio book is preferable to just reading the novel.  Not only are the narrators (Nicole Lewis, Sunil Malhotra, and Michael Crouch) wonderful, but there is original music that is important to the story, as well.   With words and music by Gayle Forman, an Libba Bray (who knew?), this is such a lovely song.  It really adds so much to the story.





What I Didn't Like:

Characters:
I had some problems with Nathaniel.  While I was really rooting for him, and was touched by his difficult circumstances, I felt some of his actions were beyond credible.  Without giving too much away, Nathaniel is neglected to such a degree that something life-altering happens to him.  Rather than getting help, he just pretends that everything is okay.  He doesn't even seem that upset about this extremely terrible thing that will change his whole life.  The father's oft quoted line, "Don't tell your mother", is taken to beyond reason.  I don't know of any teen who would have accepted this. 

Rating: 


 

Release Date:  April 1st, 2018

Author:  Gayle Forman

Genre:  YA Contemporary

Publisher:  Listening Library

Listening Length:  7 Hours, 29 Minutes

Page Length:  368 Pages

Source:  Listening Library

Format:  Audio Book

Recommendation:  With solid performances and original music, this is a very entertaining novel about every teen's need to be loved by their family.





 

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