The subway doors open and close, and in one moment Sebastian’s and Maria’s lives are changed forever. Rendered in Catherine Ryan Hyde’s stirring and evocative prose, CHASING WINDMILLS is a poignant love story that will leave you yearning for a subway ride that is a fraction as enchanting.
Letting go becomes the purest expression of love in this extraordinary novel by the bestselling author of Pay It Forward, Catherine Ryan Hyde.
Both Sebastian and Maria live in a world ruled by fear. Sebastian, a lonely seventeen-year-old, is suffocating under his dominant father’s control. In the ten years since his mother passed away, his father has kept him “safe” by barely allowing him out of their apartment. Sebastian’s secret late-night subway rides are rare acts of rebellion. another is a concealed friendship with his neighbor Delilah, who encourages him to question his father’s version of reality. Soon it becomes unclear whether even his mother’s death was a lie.
Maria, a young mother of two, is trying to keep peace at home despite her boyfriend’s abuse. When she loses her job, she avoids telling him by riding the subways during her usual late-night shift. She knows her sister, Stella, is right: She needs to “live in the truth” and let the chips fall where they may. But she still hasn’t been able to bring herself to do it. And soon he will expect her paycheck to arrive.
When Sebastian and Maria wind up on the same train, their eyes meet across the subway car, and these two strangers find a connection that neither can explain or ignore. Together they dream of a new future, agreeing to run away and find Sebastian’s grandmother in the Mojave Desert. But Maria doesn’t know Sebastian is only seventeen. And Sebastian doesn’t know Maria has children until the moment they leave. Ultimately, Maria brings one child, her daughter. Can she really leave her little boy behind? And, if not, what will it cost her to face her furious jilted abuser?
In this tremendously moving novel, Catherine Ryan Hyde shows us how two people trapped by life’s circumstances can break free and find a place in the world where love is genuine and selfless.
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.
One fateful night, a young man and woman meet on the subway. Few words are exchanged, yet a powerful connection is forged. Each is trying to escape their life, the boy Sebastian from a controlling father and the woman Maria from her controlling boyfriend. But the first time their eyes meet, they fall in love. Their nightly subway rides provide refuge from their unsatisfying lives, and soon a dream is born: Maria and Sebastian, now nicknamed Tony, plan to move to the Mojave Desert to start a new life. But Maria hasnt told Tony/Sebastian about her history, complicating their lives even farther. But their plans have already been made, and Maria feels compelled to follow through.
Chasing Windmills is a beautiful retelling of West Side Story, although a much more hopeful one. I really fell in love with this story, especially the strong connection between Maria and Sebastian. Their bond was so strong that even though they didnt really know each other that well, they could predict each others thoughts. Both Maria and Sebastian were well-developed characters and I sometimes felt I was inside their heads; the story was that realistic.
I really enjoyed how Chasing Windmills was more optimistic than West Side Story and Romeo and Juliet and the self journeys Maria and Sebastian went through. The story was truly unforgettable and I had a hard time putting the book down. I definitely recommend it, especially to fans of unique love stories, and I look forward to reading more of the talented Catherine Ryan Hydes novels.
reposted from http://thebookmuncher.blogspot.com
Fear and dominance have ruled seventeen-year-old Sebastians world for the past decade. His father watches his every move and controls everything from what Sebastian eats to what he reads. If its not assigned in his home school program, its inappropriate and a waste of time. If not for the chance to slip out when his father takes sleeping pills at night, Sebastian might forget theres a world outside his New York City apartment.
Maria has been with Carl for seven long years, since she got pregnant when she was fifteen. Shes so used to flinching at the sound of his footsteps, so used to covering the bruises on her arms, shes not sure what to do with a simple, kind glance from a kid on the subway in the middle of the night. Or about the fact that his look seems to mirror her own expression of trapped loneliness.
An intense need for freedom brings together two people who would otherwise have nothing in common. Sebastian and Maria each seem to fan the ember of the others soul. While the flames may be flickering and uncertain, they grow steady and warm. Life! There may still be time to discover the world, and together, Sebastian and Maria might be able to scrape up enough bravery to explore the possibilities.
Every single character in this brilliant book is fully developed, with clear motives, goals, and senses of purpose. The book explores human relationships and fallibilities. What actions are forgivable, and which must be never be forgotten. The fragility of some relationships and the unexpectedly strong bonds that can be overlooked in others.
Catherine Ryan Hyde uses words the way a musician uses an instrument&and what a beautiful and bittersweet song shes composed!
Off to turn another page&.