Sebastian is a 17-year-old young man who lives a sheltered existence in New York City with a fearful, bullying and controlling father. Maria is a young woman who, at only 22, is saddled with two children and a dangerously abusive live-in boyfriend. They meet while riding the subways under Manhattan late at night.
Together they make a plan to run away to the Mojave Desert in California, where Sebastians grandmother lives. But it wont be easy. Sebastian (or Tony, as Maria calls him, obsessed with the lovers in the old classic movie West Side story) doesnt even know Maria has children. And he hasnt seen his grandmother since he was 6 years old. And he has only just found out that his mother is not dead, as his father has consistently claimed.
Maria meets him as planned, and they head west, but with only one of Marias two children. The boy remains her secret. But as Sebastians feelings of maternal abandonment come forth in words, she knows she must go back for her other child. Now the trick will be to get him and get out with her life.
Other people who've reviewed this have said this book is a beautiful retelling of West Side Story. I, however, can't say that because I have never seen West Side Story. All I know of it is what the book told me, which was admittedly the whole story, but oh well. It was on TV a while ago and I meant to watch it, but I forgot to. But now, after reading this frinkin amazing book, I will have to go and rent it.
The book is also described as being like Romeo and Juliet (which I have read and seen), but I kind of liked this book more. It was, in my opinion, sadder. I don't know why that makes me like it more, but it does. I'm just weird. And I liked the characters in Chasing Windmills more than I ones I liked in Romeo and Juliet.
The characters were absolutely perfect. I don't say that often, but I feel the need to say it now because it's true. They all had such realistic qualities and reactions to the heart wrenching events and were just all around perfect. Even the two year old was.
I've no doubt that the exact events in the novel are happening now. Well, not the whole meeting a stranger on the subway and moving to the desert, but the abusive boyfriend and the controlling father. That's very sad to think about since the emotions of the characters were described so well in such beautiful writing that it makes it easy to put yourself in their head and think about what you'd do in their situation.
Oh, and ending was great. I loved it. And usually the ending is my least favorite part of a book because they're usually all happy and perfect. This one wasn't, and I loved it.
Chasing Windmills comes highly recommended from me. I had trouble putting it down.