The Wind Will Catch You
By: Michelle Theall
Narrator: Lauren Ezzo
9 hrs 55 min
Publisher: Dreamscape Media
Publication Date: 09/19/2023
My Rating: 5 Stars + (ARC)
Sky Fielder is a typical college student, except that she is a product of the foster-care system, lives in a halfway house, and meets with her caseworker on a weekly basis. While failing to balance her grades and erratic social life, she receives a call from a hospital, asking her to make medical decisions for her brother Ben—who died more than a decade before.
The call must be a scam, and besides, Sky has a new life now. None of her classmates know about her desperate and feral childhood in West Texas, where her brother kept her mind off hunger with adventures along the riverbeds and cliffs surrounding their trailer—or about the rash decision that cost him his life and almost ended hers.
In fact, only one person truly knows Sky, and that's because it’s her job. But Sky’s assigned caseworker, Laura, is an employee of social services, which surely means she can’t be trusted. As Laura helps Sky unravel the mysteries surrounding the man in the hospital, Sky remembers the risks it takes to love and be loved. When the past and the present collide and long-kept secrets are revealed, she must decide how far she’s willing to go to have a home and family again.
The Wind Will Catch You is an eye-opening, gritty, and hopeful novel by GLAAD media award nominee Michelle Theall about upheaval and resilience, forgiveness and family, love and unexpected allies, all set in motion by issues of social justice and a broken American foster-care system.
Michelle Theall's eye-opening, gritty, emotional, powerful, and beautifully rendered debut, THE WIND WILL CATCH YOU— is a poignant, heartbreaking coming-of-age story of social injustice and those caught up in the broken American foster care system. From tragedy, forgiveness, family, love, survival, hope, redemption, and resilience— these characters will touch your heart and linger long after the book ends.
A young woman searches for the truth about her childhood, and what she finds forever alters her beliefs about home, identity, and family.
AUDIOBOOK: The audiobook was epic! A stellar award-winning performance by a favorite narrator, Lauren Ezzo— will have you hanging on her every word.
"We owe our children, the most vulnerable citizens in our society, a life free of violence and fear." —Nelson Mandela
Set in Texas past and present.
Present Austin, Texas 2019: We meet college student Sky Fielder in a halfway house. She barely is getting by living on SNAP and drugs. She has a lovely, caring caseworker, Laura (23), a few years older than her—a few years into her job with social services.
While they meet at a local donut shop, Sky receives a phone call from a doctor at a hospital in Arizona that her brother Ben is in a coma and needs her attention with decisions due to his medical care. Sky thinks it is some scam because her brother died after a car accident years ago.
Past: 2007: Sky tells Laura about their past. Sky and Ben had lived on their own in a mobile home for years (after their parents died, and buried in their back yard) when Sky was 5, without telling the authorities until the officials got involved and social services.
The event was highly traumatic for both siblings when they were separated, and taken into the foster system. Later Ben tried to find Sky, and there was an accident. She did not think Ben lived or survived.
Their lives were heartbreaking, caught up in a lousy system. Sky was later adopted by a wealthy, controlling family, and Ben's tragic life in juvenile incarceration, prison, gangs, and his desperate search for his baby sister. Later, the events would unfold that have haunted Sky, thinking it was her fault.
Laura encourages Sky to reach out to the doctor in Arizona to determine if this is indeed her brother.
From Ben's journals, we learn what happened to him and his ongoing love for his sister. Do we always carry a piece of our past? The author beautifully infuses the past and present for an emotional, heartrending story of survival with a fabulous Epilogue!
Topics: Drug addiction, adoption, teen pregnancy, gangs, trauma, juvenile incarceration, the foster system, social issues, caseworker, LGBTQ+, family, and more.
THE WIND WILL CATCH YOU is an immersive, gripping suspense debut novel of literary fiction about family and how the most random people can enter our lives with devastating and beautiful consequences. For fans of author Catherine Ryan Hyde! (another favorite).
COMPELLING! The novel is beautifully conceived, executed, and incredibly touching. You will empathize with Sky and Ben as they struggle to survive coming out on the other side.
An author to watch! Michelle Theall has been added to my favorite author list, and I am looking forward to seeing what is coming next.
ADOPTION/FOSTER CARE: The author and her wife adopted their son from the foster system. She mentions in her author notes, the foster care and child welfare systems as one of the most significant failings in America. Even though the novel is fiction, she reiterates the horrifically accurate accounts of the lack of communication and resources between all parties and departments. These children desperately need love, consistency, shelter, food, and safety. She also provides ways to help within your local community.
Special thanks to Dreamscape Media for the opportunity to listen to an ALC via NetGalley for an honest opinion. I also purchased the e-book.
@JudithDCollins | #JDCMustReadBooks
Pub Date: Sept 19, 2023
My Rating: 5 Stars
“A heart-aching story about the resilience of hope. Michelle Theall does a brilliant job of taking us into the lives of characters who, despite unthinkable tragedy, somehow keep moving forward, toward love. A beautiful novel about the best and worst in human relationships, from siblings to parents to the family we choose, this book had me at the first page and held onto me to the very last.”
—Buzzy Jackson, award-winning author of To Die Beautiful and member of the National Book Critics’ Circle
“A a compelling and emotional novel, full of hope and redemption.”
—Erika Krouse, 2023 Edgar award-winning author of Tell Me Everything: The Story of a Private Investigation
“Michelle Theall is a writer of deep heart, insight, and an uncanny ability to capture human longing and emotion . . . Read The Wind Will Catch You for the plot twists that will keep you standing on the porch of your own house lost in a world created by Theall's genius.”
—Tracy Ross, author of The Source of All Things and winner of the National Magazine Award
“Theall weaves a swift plot filled with characters so completely worth rooting for . . . An open-eyed examination of the way our past affects our present, and how—with hope and love and help—we might inhabit a brighter future. It’s impossible to read the first pages and not connect with this wounded and beautiful protagonist, her story unfolding like gusts across American landscapes. For all who have ever hurt, or healed, there is honesty and courage here.”
—Andrew J. Graff, author of Raft of Stars
About the Author
Alaska magazine editor since 2013, Michelle Theall started her career in publishing in 1994 at Women’s Sports and Fitness magazine. Over the next 28 years, she garnered success as editor-in-chief of three different national titles, founder of one, and the author of three non-fiction books. She has appeared on NBC Today, MSNBC, The Travel Channel, and was recently featured in O, The Oprah Magazine. Her feature essay in 5280 Magazine, All That’s Left is God, earned a GLAAD Media Award nomination, which led to her critically acclaimed memoir, Teaching the Cat to Sit, about growing up gay and Catholic in the Texas Bible Belt.