Genres: Young Adult
Lauren and Spencer share a love of poetry, and both have problems with their parents. But when Lauren realizes that she is falling in love with Spencer, she also begins to recognize his moody and self-destructive side.
“The Wind Blows Backward” by Mary Downing Hahn came highly recommended and it’s one of the best book recommendations I’ve ever received.
Though it’s been published more than twenty years ago and is now out of print, it isn’t outdated by any stretch. To the contrary-it seamlessly fits into current times.
Honestly, this is one of the best Young Adult books I’ve ever read-both in writing style as well as storyline.
Its depth, the beauty of the writing and not to mention two wonderful, multi-dimensional characters have taken an emotional toll on me.
Not only is it really touching, but also carries an important message: We can’t save the one we love. They need to save themselves.
“The Wind Blows Backward” is the story of Lauren and Spencer, who have been best friends years ago. Once in high school, Spencer started running with the cool, rich kids and Lauren ceased to exist. But the bond they had survives years of silence and distance, bringing them together when they least expected it.
A beautiful, sweet relationship blooms between them. One that could fulfill all their dreams. They not only share the love for books, art and music, but they truly care for each other. Despite their young age their love feels intense and real.
Unfortunately, just as quickly as it bloomed, it’s overshadowed by Spencer’s moods. Those are caused by thoughts so dark and gloomy, they scare Lauren and threaten to take Spencer from her.
He can’t control the thoughts he has, no matter how hard he tries – even years after the tragic event that caused them.
A young love is tested, when Spencer has to decide if he is strong enough to fight. And Lauren has to learn she can’t save him from himself.
Lauren and Spencer’s journey is heart-wrenching. The ups and downs they go through felt like a rollercoaster ride. I was entranced by their story. The inherent melancholy took a hold of me, but I didn’t consider it a negative thing. It allowed me to feel so much closer to the characters – feeling their pain and joy to the point I cried and my heart ached for both Spencer and Lauren.
They are both hurting, but in different ways.
Lauren used to be timid and shy most of her life – always an outsider, never fully fitting in. She’s used to being alone and lonely. But what I liked about her is that she doesn’t wallow in self-pity. She is as content as her life allowed and she is always striving for more, trying to create her own destiny. She deserves all the happiness in the world-but finding it with Spencer comes with a catch.
It was fascinating to see her grow. To see her mature quickly, allowing her to see the truth despite her infatuation. She doesn’t allow her love to fully consume her. It made her strong and confident-which in turn is the kind of person Spencer needs.
Spencer’s character blew me away. Though the book is from Lauren’s POV, the author does an incredible job of letting us know who Spencer is and what he feels. And God, the poor guy feels so much-too much. He’s broken. Truly broken-but unlike so many other heroes, he doesn’t use it as an excuse to drink, sleep around and get into fights. His battle is internal, his biggest enemy his own mind. It threatens to consume him.
His fears feel real and tangible and the toll they took on him broke my heart. Because underneath all that darkness was a sweet, loving, smart and creative boy. One who loved with all his heart.
I get why Lauren was so crazy about him. I would’ve been too.
The author treated the subject with a lot of sensitivity and respect-keeping the balance between sweet & serious as well as swoonworthy and dark.
She captured the coming of age aspect as well as the issues Spencer and Lauren face perfectly.
This has now become one of my all-time favorites – a book that won’t let go of me for a long time to come.
My advice: Get a pre-owned copy if you can and enjoy this beautiful story.
5+ growing-up-is-hard-to-do stars.
~Review by Paula