Chasing Windmills

Chasing Windmills

Book rating: 05 Paperback Vintage

By (author) Catherine Ryan Hyde

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  • Publisher: Random House Inc
  • Format: Paperback | 262 pages
  • Dimensions: 130mm x 201mm x 18mm | 204g
  • Publication date: 10 March 2009
  • Publication City/Country: New York
  • ISBN 10: 0307279383
  • ISBN 13: 9780307279385
  • Edition statement: Reprint
  • Sales rank: 1,533,367

Product description

The bestselling author of Pay It Forward returns with a provocative tour de force on first love--a modern-day rendering of West Side Story born on a New York City subway car and nurtured under the windmills of the Mojave Desert.

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Author information

Catherine Ryan Hyde, an acclaimed novelist and award-winning short-story writer, is the author of the story collection Earthquake Weather and of the novels Love in the Present Tense, Walter's Purple Heart, Funerals for Horses, Electric God, and Pay It Forward," " which was named an ALA Book of the Year and made into a feature film. She lives in Cambria, California. Her website is www.cryanhyde.com.

Customer reviews

By TeensReadToo 28 Sep 2010 5

Seventeen-year-old Sebastian sneaks out at night. His domineering father home-schools him, makes decisions for him, and keeps an eye on him every minute of every day. Sebastian knows that only the nights are his after his father takes his sleeping pill.

Maria is a young mother of two, living with an abusive boyfriend. She is riding the subway because she is too afraid to admit to Carl that she has lost her job. She knows it can't go on forever, but once she meets Sebastian it becomes impossible to imagine life without him.

They met late one night on the subway. They exchanged glances and shy smiles, and finally they began to talk.

Once Sebastian begins to see the real world, he begins to question how his father has raised him. His only friend, an old woman living in a neighboring apartment, gives him the love his father never shows. With her encouragement, he makes a plan to escape from his father and take Maria with him. He contacts the maternal grandmother he barely remembers and learns his father has not just sheltered him, but also lied to him. His mother didn't die. She is alive and well in the Mojave Desert where he is welcome anytime.

Author Catherine Ryan Hyde tells the story of Sebastian and Maria in alternating chapters. The fear and pain of their loveless lives screams from the pages. I found myself feeling the absence of one when the chapter I was reading focused on the other. Even though CHASING WINDMILLS somewhat parallels several famous love stories of the past, it has its own unique voice and interpretation. It will most certainly touch your heart.

*Gold Star Award Winner!

Review quote

"Simple and captivating. It is [the characters'] voices--at once utterly credible and heartbreakingly naive--that make the book." --"Publishers Weekly ""A sweet tale openly modeled on "West Side Story" . . . centering on how people come to grip with their pasts." --"Kirkus Reviews""A reimagining of the classic tale of star-crossed lovers . . . but fresh and new. . . . A page-turning read. . . . The distinct voices are sweet, soul-baring, and honest. Hyde writes evocatively of the visceral nature of first love." --"School Library Journal"