Thursday, October 22, 2009

Chasing Windmills by Catherine Ryan Hyde

Chasing Windmills by Catherine Ryan Hyde.
Publisher: Flying Dolphin Press.
Pages: 272.
Sebastian is a few months shy of 18, while Maria is in her early twenties with two children, yet they both ride the subway in the middle of the night to escape the pressure of their lives: Sebastian’s overly intellectual and oppressively Luddite father, Maria’s abusive boyfriend and recent firing from a grocery store.

When their eyes meet, it’s fate. Though it takes weeks upon weeks before they learn each other’s last names, the subway meetings turn into love. Maria imagines it’s just like her favorite movie, West Side Story. But as everyone knows, West Side Story is a tragedy, and Maria and Sebastian have to free themselves from difficult situations to avoid ending up like the original Maria and Tony.

This was an incredible tale of finding love and identity. I was so enthralled by the relationships, and the issues, and the simplicity of it. There’s no huge plot twists, nothing to confuse you- it’s just a love story. But it’s probably one of the best I’ve ever read.

Maria and Sebastian, or Tony- as Maria likes to call him (a reference to West Side Story) have a very interesting relationship. They just happened upon each other on the subway train, and all it took was a glance between them and they were caught. It was so fast-paced, but it fit. There are very few stories that can pull off instant chemistry like that, and Chasing Windmills is definitely one of them.

I wasn‘t too crazy about the ending, but that’s just because I’m a huge sap and prefer happy, joyous, complete conclusions. Not to say that this ending wasn’t good, because it was. It was very justified and real, and I don’t like to spoil things but I’ll just say that Sebastian and Maria were finally coming to terms with real life.

There were a lot of loose strings that hadn’t been tied up. An epilogue explaining what had happened to Sebastian’s estranged father, or what the future held for Sebastian and Maria, if they ever found each other again, would’ve been calming. Catherine Ryan Hyde leaves it to the imagination, which isn’t bad, but like I said- I’m a sap, I enjoy a little happiness!

Wrapping this up, I highly recommend checking this one out. Despite my little rant, it really is a gorgeous tale of first love, and it’ll have you swooning and sighing and crying and you get the point.


  1. This is one that has been on my list and it sounds amazing. And after reading your review, I REALLY want to read it. Thanks for posting.


    P.S. Love all the fan art on the side. Especially The Forest of Hands and Teeth!

  2. I really want to check it out but I am so poor and our library won't get this for ages. I will have to keep it on a list so I can remember to get it when they get it in or I get some money. It sounds SOOOO amazing. Thanks for the insight Katie!

  3. Very well written story about 2 people who are emotionally damaged. They both manage to escape their poisoned environments and possibly find love along the way.
    I liked the ending of this book too as it seemed realistic and not over-syrupy/fake.

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