If you’re looking for a mysterious YA novel set in the Wild Wild West than this is the read for you. The writing is beautiful, the desert setting is unique, and the plot is thrilling. All the Wind in the World is definitely unlike anything you’ve read before.
A big Thank You to Fantastic Flying Book Club for picking me to participate in the All the Wind in the World Blog Tour! I’ve really enjoyed working with them and can’t wait to see what other tours they’ll be hosting in the coming months! If you haven’t checked out their blog yet, you are missing out!
About All the Wind in the World
Title: All the Wind in the World
Author: Samantha Mabry
Pub. Date: October 10, 2017
Publisher: Algonquin Young Readers
Formats: Hardcover, eBook, Audiobook
Sarah Jacqueline Crow and James Holt work in the vast maguey fields that span the bone-dry Southwest, a thirsty, infinite land that is both seductive and fearsome. In this rough, transient landscape, Sarah Jac and James have fallen in love. They’re tough and brave, and they have big dreams. Soon they will save up enough money to go east. But until then, they keep their heads down, their muscles tensed, and above all, their love secret.
When a horrible accident forces Sarah Jac and James to start over on a new, possibly cursed ranch called the Real Marvelous, the delicate balance they’ve found begins to give way. And James and Sarah Jac will have to pay a frighteningly high price for their love.
I really enjoyed the setting of this book. I found the desert landscapes of New Mexico and Texas refreshing for a YA Contemporary. Mabry did a wonderful job of putting her life experience of living in Texas into the writing of this books scenery and its changes. There were parts that almost seemed more dystopian in nature than contemporary but I didn’t mind that. I found the concept very interesting as well with the mystery around everything. I think the setting and certain aspects of the plot are what carried me through this book.
Sarah Jac is not the most likable character and I did struggle with that throughout the book. At times her selfishness causes great distress for those around her and I don’t feel like much of that was resolved in the end. I think it is good to have unlikable MC’s once in a while but I think Sarah Jac was just a bit too much for me. I think I would’ve enjoyed her character more if there were multiple POV’s to break up the negativity that seems to surround her.
I really enjoyed James’s character. I felt like he was the most genuine of the two and he really carried the story. You can really feel the strain on him in having to constantly monitor Sarah Jac to make sure she’s not causing trouble, and I think he’s getting tired of running. There is a moment in the story that kind of turned me off of liking him for reasons I feel were unnecessary to the plot and I was a bit disappointed by that.
The relationship between Sarah Jac and James was really confusing to me. I think I would’ve enjoyed the story more if they were not meant to be lovers in any capacity, or if they weren’t cousin’s and their relationship was more open and defined. It isn’t really clear on why they can’t be open about their relationship when it seems to be a non-issue for other characters.
I enjoyed the side characters more than the MC’s in this story because they were all unique in their own ways. They each brought something to the story that really helped contribute to the setting and the plot. My favorite moments were when they were sitting around the campfire talking with each other after a long days work out in the fields. In those moments I could really get lost in the story. Each character also brought with them a bit of mystery and I do like the tales they told about the ranch owner’s and the strange things that seem to happen when something goes wrong.
About the Author
samantha was born four days before the death of john lennon. she grew up in dallas, playing bass guitar along to vinyl records in her bedroom after school, writing fan letters to rock stars, doodling song lyrics into notebooks, and reading big, big books.
in college at southern methodist university, she majored in english literature, minored in spanish, and studied latin and classics. after that, she went on to receive a master’s degree in english from boston college.
these days, she teaches at a community college and spends as much time as possible in the west texas desert.
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Have you read Samantha’s other novel A Fierce and Subtle Poison? What other YA books have you read set in a western setting?