It’s shaping up to be a rotten summer for 10-year-old Rusty, a sailing buff who lives on an island off the New England coast. He’s just flunked math and has to go to summer school. His older sister is bossier than ever. Worst of all, his mom is far away on the mainland—undergoing treatment for her sudden, confusing, and exhausting “sadness”—while his dad struggles to keep the household together. Rusty’s only refuge is in caring for and teaching himself to sail a small, beloved sailboat.
While working on his boat at the village dock one evening, Rusty meets Hazel, a feisty old lady in a wheelchair. Hazel, a local artist from an old sailing family, asks—no, demands—that Rusty take her sailing. He refuses. She argues. And an unlikely friendship begins.
Hazel hires Rusty to help her with household tasks on summer afternoons. Between cleaning, painting, and cutting weeds, Rusty bonds with Hazel over shared lunches, watermelon seed spitting, and their mutual love of sailing. When Rusty does eventually take Hazel sailing, they come to better know and feel what connects them, even as her life nears its end and his is just beginning. Into the Wind is a poignant story about loss and love in a boy’s life, and the surprising and sustaining bonds that can grow between the old and young.