A love of sailing connects 10-year-old Rusty with Hazel, a determined old lady in a wheel chair. It’s an unusual friendship but one they both need. For Hazel she longs to sail again, while Rusty misses his mother who is getting therapy at a faraway facility.

Rusty and Hazel first meet when he’s working on his small boat on an island off the New England coast. It’s not long before he has a summer job helping Hazel at her cottage. Soon they are in a almost daily routine. Rusty works on his summer school math homework, they share snacks, and chores are completed.

Their tender relationship grows into something special, although Rusty is too embarrassed to tell friends or family much about his older friend. When the summer is over Rusty stops seeing Hazel but often thinks of her. It’s not until he does something special with his sailing skills that he reconnects with Hazel in a sad and heartfelt conclusion.

The first person narration is the perfect way to convey the caring and compassion they have for each other. The 28 chapters are a quick read and one that might bring a tear or two.

BOOK BIRTHDAY: March 2, 2021 PAGE COUNT: 192


  1. Hazel is an artist and the scenes in her cottage are like she’s painting them for you. Her life and home are displayed in a rich way with each description.
  2. Even if you know anyhtng about sailing the pages will bring you the feeling of what it is like. There’s even a handy glossary of nautical terms in the back pages.
  3. Rusty struggles in school but the summer with Hazel has him finding success that will for sure transfer to his upcoming sixth grade year.
  4. Rusty’s older sister is a real pain but she does come around a bit by the last chapter. Dad is supportive as he can be with the wife he adores in a strange place.
  5. A tender contemporary story with memorable characters. INTO THE WIND would make a great read-aloud.


Award-winning author William Loizeaux has been writer-in-residence at Johns Hopkins and Boston University. His children’s novel Wings received the 2006 ASPCA Henry Bergh Award and was the 2006 Golden Kite Honor Book for Fiction. His novel Tumble Inn was Grand-prize winner at the 2015 New York Book Festival. He lives in Boston, MA.



I received an ARC for my honest review. Comments are welcome below.

About Greg Pattridge

Climbing another mountain...always striving to reach the next peak in my life and career.
This entry was posted in Middle Grade Book Reviews and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

7 Responses to INTO THE WIND

  1. I love having little old ladies in middle grade stories. I guess it makes it easier to relate. 😎 This one is going onto my TBR list. Thanks for the heads up.

  2. schmelzb says:

    As a resident of Annapolis and a failed sailor, I love the cover of INTO THE WIND. This MG novel sounds like a great mentor text with the 1st person POV. Thanks for sharing, Greg.

  3. Susan Wroble says:

    I grew up sailing and will definitely look out for this one — thanks for the review.

  4. What a great cover! Love intergenerational stories. And this relationship sounds special for both. I believe young people need “wise” people in their lives (in addition to parents) who can support and offer a different perspective, so I’d enjoy this story!

  5. Sounds like a fantastic story! I do love inter-generational themes.

  6. Completely Full Bookshelf says:

    This book sounds great! I find some of the stories where a kid befriends an older adult unrealistic, but this relationship in this one sounds uniquely realistic and not-clichéd. The short length also appeals to my time-pressed nature! Thanks for the great review!

  7. donnagalanti says:

    This story looks so sweet and heartwarming! Love the unusual relationship in the story as well. Will be adding to my TBR pile!

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