Publishers Weekly Review
After being brought together by an accident in New York City's Central Park, three struggling teenagers form a fast, powerful friendship in Forman's elegant and understated novel, which alternates between their day together and flashback sections that carefully expose her characters' losses. Freya, a singer on the cusp of stardom, has lost her voice, her sister, and her father. Harun has been dumped by the boyfriend he's terrified to tell his Muslim family about. And Nathaniel has landed in New York City alone, leaving behind an unpredictable father incapable of caring for him. Forman (If I Stay) occasionally references the parable of the boiling frog, in which a frog in a pot of water doesn't notice a gradual increase in temperature and is eventually cooked to death. In some ways, she performs a similar trick: readers may be so caught up in the intensity and warmth of the bond Freya, Harun, and Nathaniel form that they're caught off guard by their story's final act. But readers won't finish the novel lost or bereft; this is a celebration of the lifesaving power of human connection. Ages 14-up. Agent: Michael Bourret, Dystel, Goderich & Bourret. (Mar.) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
Library Journal Review
Gr 9 Up-Freya, Nathaniel, and Harun meet by accident-literally, when Harun sees Freya fall off a pedestrian bridge in Central Park onto Nathaniel-and the three of them end up spending a day together that changes all of their lives. Harun is starstruck; Freya is his ex-boyfriend's favorite singer, and he can't help but think that James will want to get back together if he sees Harun with Freya, even though Harun is reluctant to come out to his traditional Muslim family. Nathaniel has just arrived in town, mentioning vague plans of meeting his father uptown when pressed, and Freya is avoiding a meeting with the executive who she's sure is about to fire her for having lost her ability to sing. A trip to urgent care leads to lunch and further adventures around the city, and the trio's nascent friendship gives each character the strength to confront the truth about their families and themselves. Taking place over the course of a single day, Forman's latest features sympathetic, believable characters and adeptly addresses a remarkable array of subjects: sibling rivalry, sexual identity, mental illness, the weight of familial expectations, and suicidal ideation among them. VERDICT An absolute gem for readers of realistic fiction for teens. A recommended purchase for all YA collections.-Stephanie Klose, Library Journal © Copyright 2018. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Booklist Review
Freya sacrificed family for her music career, and now, just as she's poised to make it big, she loses her singing voice completely. Harun, caught between the boy he loves and the family he doesn't want to disappoint, prepares for a trip that could force him into a life he doesn't want. And Nathaniel, self-contained and used to having only his father in his life, arrives in New York with almost nothing. When a chance encounter throws the three together, none of them will leave unchanged. Forman's (If I Stay, 2009) latest is a mature, quiet examination of loss. The bulk of the narrative takes place over the course of just one day, with intermittent flashbacks giving depth to the characters. During that day, the three, who come from varying, diverse backgrounds and families, face their individual demons and try to find the paths they've lost. Tightly woven and, in places, heartbreaking, this is a masterful exploration of human emotion that will appeal to adults as well as older teens. HIGH-DEMAND BACKSTORY: If I Stay made Forman a superstar, and a publisher-described massive prepub campaign should keep this book on, and off, shelves.--Reagan, Maggie Copyright 2018 Booklist