I have lost my voice
I have lost my love
I have lost everything
Spring has finally kicked in here in the South East of England. The trees are springing to life with beautiful blossom and the landscape is brightened with bright and colourful daffodils, crocus and primroses. The smell of spring and new beginnings is in the air and so it seems perfectly fitting that my author spotlight should fall on YA author Gayle Forman, and her latest novel, I HAVE LOST MY WAY. I’m also delighted to be the stop on day three in the #IHaveLostMyWay blog tour.
…a tender, sad and yet uplifting tale that shows the power of friendship in times when we feel desperate and unable to find a solution. Three strangers come together and show that strength can be found with each and every one of us no matter what our individual troubles may be. That we too can find our way to a life we truly deserve when we are true to ourselves.
Beautiful, tender and very important, Gayle Forman has yet again captured a coming of age novel that will fill you with hope, love, acceptance and courage.
Gayle Forman makes an incredibly important contribution to today’s YA literature and if you haven’t read her before then I HAVE LOST MY WAY is a great place to start (there is also an amazing back catalogue of her books for you to discover). She captures those difficult years we all go through when finding our identity, leaning about who we are and accepting that we are all different. Of course this never really ends. Life is a journey and we are constantly changing and growing according to the roads we take along the way, but our young adulthood is, I believe, when our experiences feel at their most raw and Gayle captures that perfectly.
I grew up in the 80’s and went through my teens and early adulthood with the films of John Hughes; there was something in them that captured my attention and seemed to tap into inner emotions and feelings of self doubt. So I was fascinated that Gayle’s early influence was Molly Ringwald – someone I myself found a source of comfort as I struggled to fit in to the world around me.
With her YA novels Gayle too is able to tap into emotions that are difficult to voice and I think by reading and getting to know her characters and their own pain you can learn to understand a little more about what you too are going through. You are not alone. Our experiences, difficulties, dreams and fears are all unique to us but there is something comforting in knowing we are not alone in the message that we all have those feelings. I HAVE LOST MY WAY is a perfect example; showing that even three strangers who come together in unexpected circumstances can change their perspective and find hope where hope is lost.
Here’s a little more from Gayle herself…
Which novel do you wish you could have read when you were a teenager?
I would’ve liked to read SAVING FRANCESCA by Melina Marchetta in middle school. I was miserable, a weirdo outcast. Years later, in high school, I would find my people. I love that novel, how Francesca and her friends, find their family of friends where they least expect it. Melina is one of my favourite young adult authors.
You’re characterisation is incredibly intimate which helps us really connect with them. How well do you get to know your characters before you start writing? Or do they develop along with the story?
Both. The book sparked when Freya started whispering in my ear “I have lost my way.” I knew she was a singer who had lost her voice but I didn’t know why. Harun followed and then Nathaniel. Though Freya came to me first, she was actually the last one to crack. It was right at the very end that I understood what motivated her and how that tied into her loss. Ironically, Harun, the character I have the least in common with on the surface, was the one who I understood most immediately.
I feel so close to all three of these characters. More so than any others before them. Which is saying a lot because IF I STAY’s Mia and Adam are like my children!
Where did your inspiration for I Have Lost My Way come from?
My last YA novel was published in 2015 but I actually wrote it in 2011. In the intervening years, I tried, and failed, to find a new YA story to write. I managed to publish a novel for adults (LEAVE ME) but YA is my home and I couldn’t seem to find my way back. I began to wonder if I’d ever write another book. Everything I wrote (and I crashed and burned on 7 different novels) felt insufficient, inauthentic, hollow. It was like the thing I’d known how to do, had always done—explain my world through story—I couldn’t do anymore. I kept thinking: I have lost my way. And then one day Freya came along and said it to me and it started from there.
You were obsessed with Molly Ringwald as a teen. Which is your favourite character that she played?
Samantha in Sixteen Candles. It’s a movie that doesn’t really hold up over time—it’s racist; it’s rapey—but it was the first time I ever saw the weird girl get the boy. Which, in 1980s parlance, was a huge validation that the weird girl had value. I was a weird girl. So you can imagine how this appealed to me.
What are you currently reading?
And here is my review for I HAVE LOST MY WAY
A heart-wrenching and powerful YA story exploring themes of loss, love and discovery, from award-winning, bestselling author, Gayle Forman
The story is told over the course of one day with flash backs to the past to help us engage with the characters and understand what has brought them to this place and this moment in time. Through Harun we learn to understand love through his own loss and fears. The love he feels is alien and not acceptable within the society he lives in. He is ashamed, obsessed and utterly lost. Freya is a star in the making but is following a difficult path and is torn between the need for adoration and the ‘friends’ and sense of belonging she fears she will lose if she can no longer sing. Her lack of self-love is evident as she fears losing her voice will mean losing her place in the world and the acceptance she craves. Nathaniel is a tortured soul and his sadness pours from the pages as we slowly discover the tragedy that has driven him to New York. Each character is suffering their own pain and yet when they are brought together they find the strength to try a different path. But is friendship enough to heal the pain of the past?
This is a tender, sad and yet uplifting tale that shows the power of friendship in times when we feel desperate and unable to find a solution. Three strangers come together and show that strength can be found with each and every one of us no matter what our individual troubles may be. That we too can find our way to a life we truly deserve when we are true to ourselves. Beautiful, tender and very important, Gayle Forman has yet again captured a coming of age novel that will fill you with hope, love, acceptance and courage.
I HAVE LOST MY WAY was published on the 5th of April 2018 in the UK by Simon&Schuster.
To discover more about Gayle Forman and her books visit her website here.