When You Were Older
When You Were Older is my newest UK novel. It was released in Spring of 2012. It was the first of my UK novels to ever come out in hardback. It was also released in a UK paperback edition at the end of August 2012.
The US edition was released in November 2012, with the cover you see on your left.
In My Own Words:
Russell Ammiano could not be more happy to have left his tiny Kansas town of Norville—or Nowhere-ville, as he calls it—behind forever. But on the morning of September 11th, 2001, a phone call makes him late to work. It’s from a neighbor in Norville. Russell’s mother has passed away suddenly. Russell must come home immediately, because someone has to take care of his older brother, Ben. Russell books a flight. But before he can even head for the airport, two planes hit the World Trade Center, where Russell worked. Russell would have been there, if not for the phone call. The life he’s so carefully built as a successful young ad executive comes tumbling down, literally. He hitchhikes all the way home.
His 30-year-old brother Ben, brain damaged in a childhood accident, hasn’t changed a bit. And he never will. Russell has to try to figure out how his mother took care of Ben, without any “manual” of instructions. It’s not easy.
The town is a little different. Three of Russell’s high school friends are National Guard, and soon to ship out to Afghanistan. The old dry cleaners has been replaced by a bakery owned by naturalized Egyptian Nazir El Sayed and his daughter Anat. Russell befriends the two, and finds himself caught in the middle when post-9/11 fervor targets them for abuse. But the situation is further complicated when Russell falls for Anat, and she for him, challenging her traditional Egyptian upbringing.
When a Norville native son is killed in early fighting in Afghanistan, the violence against Nazir’s bakery escalates with a fire started in the middle of the night. Anat, who is sleeping over the store, makes it out alive, but with disfiguring burns to her hands and lower legs. Ben is quickly jailed for the crime. He claims he threw the match, but did he? Or is he being set up by a handful of angry young locals? And if he did throw the match, does he even know what it means to do so?
With Ben locked up, Russell is free again. He has his life back. He can live where he wants, go where he wants. Maybe he can even talk Anat, whose father has taken her back to Egypt, into coming to the US and marrying him. There’s just one problem. Russell knows in his heart that Ben is innocent.
And...sure, there's an ending. But, you know. Can't give away the whole store.
Curious Book Fans said: "I’ll say no more about the story line only that it is brilliant and one that absorbed me all the way through. I think that When You were Older is a beautifully written book that is typical of Catherine Ryan Hyde’s gentle style. She is a wonderful story teller who creates characters that you really start to care about. There were moments when she genuinely surprised me because of the direction of the story and there were others where she had me in tears." You can read the complete review HERE.
Ivana of Willing To See Less said: "...and the award for the amount of humanity woven into a book goes to Catherine Ryan Hyde. Based on my experience with the previous and first-to-me book by this author, Don't Let Me Go, I've had only a faint idea of what to expect: "small" people waging their everyday battles, love and devotion, strength of human spirit and generosity in abundance." Read the complete review HERE.
Sarah of Sarah's Book Reviews said: "I found myself devouring this book very quickly and when I did manage to put it down for a few hours, I found myself thinking about the book and thinking about Rusty and Anat. As with all of Catherine Ryan Hyde books, it is a fantastic read which will have people talking about it for many weeks and months to come." Read the whole review HERE.Lindsay of The Little Reader Library said: "I loved this story. It’s a wonderful, beautifully written tale. I found it compelling from start to finish, and read it very quickly as I couldn’t bear to wait to discover what happened. The author has created some lovely characters in Russell and Anat. My favourite novel yet by this author!" Read the whole review HERE.