I have lost my way by Gayle Forman

I Have Lost My Way by Gayle Forman

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I’ve never read any Gayle Forman before so I was really interested to see what I though of “I lost my way” when I won a copy via Twitter.

From the first page I was completley drawn into the story and I binge-read it in one sitting. I couldn’t help it!

The book follows three people who have “lost their way”. Freya, an up-and-coming recording artist who had lost her voice; Harun, a gay muslim who is about to leave his secret boyfriend behind and enter into an arranged marriage with a woman; and Nathaniel whose home life has completely fallen apart leaving him all alone.

All three stories converge at the beginning of the book, whcih follows them over the course of a single day. During this day they help each other find themselves and discover what life can be like if you’re true to yourself.

I think part of the reason this book was so easy to read is Gayle Forman’s writing style. She has a really clear, simple way of putting accross a lot of complex emotion. The three main characters all jump off the page at you and their voices are all so individual. I love POV books for this reason; I enjoy hearing the inner workings of each characters minds and in this book it really helped me to see why each character so desperately needed the support of their new friends. Vitally for a POV book, each of the story arcs were captivating and well developed so there was no feeling of being desperate for a different story line to continue. They were all as strong as each other and beautifully interwoven.

Each of the three protagonist’s stories were incredibly sad, however, when I finished reading the book I felt really positive and happy. The way they all came together to protect and save their new friends after only a day of knowing each other was so beautiful and I loved the dynamic between them.

There is potential for a sequal to be written and I would welcome one with open arms because I am not ready to leave these characters yet. Having said that, this book did beautifully conclude this chapter of their lives so it could just as easily be left as a standalone novel.

*This book does deal with difficult themes such as suicide and homophobia so please be aware of this before you decide to read*

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The Astonishing Color of After by Emily X R Pan

The Astonishing Color of After by Emily X.R. Pan

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I recieved an e-ARC of this book via Netgalley in return for an honest review.

Beautiful and heartbreaking, this will definitely be one of my top 10 books of the year.

The Astonishing Color of After follows Leigh Chen Sanders in the wake of her mother’s suicide as she attempts to come to terms with what has happened and find closure. Leigh believes her mother has become a bird and travels to Taiwan to meet her estranged maternal grandparents in a quest to try and find her mother (in bird form) and discover more about the woman she was.

From the very first page the lyrical prose caught me in a kind of trance and I found myself endlessly reading. I’m amazed to see that this book is 480 pages long because I sped through it without even noticing.

I’m generally not the hugest fan of magical realism. I sometimes find that it just confuses me and makes the plot get tangled up in my head, however, in this book I found it enriched the story beautifully. Grief is such a difficult thing to explain but the magical realism mixed with the cultural Taiwanese and Chinese beliefs worked so well in exploring the subject.

The subjects of mental health and suicide was treated very sensitively and though a lot of the book was Leigh trying to reconcile why her mother comitted suicide, I also found it very moving that the book looked at Leigh’s feelings of guilt as she desperately looks back to see whether her or her Dad could have prevented this from happening.

Learning about Taiwanese culture was fascinating and I loved Leigh’s sweet developing relationship with her grandparents. I did guess the twist in the story but I didn’t feel disappointed for not having a big reveal. In fact, I was relieved that I was correct because it added to the beautiful feeling of closure I got at the end of the book.
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