THE WIND BLOWS BACKWARD by Mary Downing Hahn

THE WIND BLOWS BACKWARD

Age Range: 14 & up

KIRKUS REVIEW

A reliable author whose range extends from ghost stories to the O'Dell Award Stepping on the Cracks (1991) offers a YA novel whose outline is the stuff of adolescent fantasy: After ignoring mousy Lauren since middle school (when they were shy kindred spirits), rich, handsome Spencer suddenly abandons his latest popular girlfriend in senior year and turns to Lauren as the only one who's ever understood him. Built on shared interests (especially poetry) and the alienation both feel from their parents, their renewed friendship quickly blossoms into love, ardently physical but not strong enough to dispel Spencer's frighteningly bleak moods. After graduation, Lauren's fears are realized when Spencer takes a suicidal motorcycle ride; he spends weeks in critical condition, but Lauren's loyalty helps pull him through. Hahn gives Spencer a solid reason for his angst (at six, he found his dad's body after he shot himself, but never told anyone). The subtlety here is not in the events or the assigned roles (Lauren's self-centered--albeit good-hearted--single mom has slept around; Spencer's uptight mother is coldly demanding) but in the careful character development and skillful interweaving of motifs--the poetry of love and death; telling lines from children's books, which take on double meanings for these troubled teens, who are still playful in their joyful moments; balloons, those potent symbols of freedom, loss, or escape. Easily read and enjoyed but also thoughtful: a book with unusual texture and depth. (Fiction. YA)
Pub Date: April 20th, 1993
ISBN: 0-395-62975-6
Page count: 262pp
Publisher: Clarion
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15th, 1993




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