Riding Invisible by Sandra Alonzo

Desert & Snow 005

I picked Riding Invisible by Sandra Alonzo up for a dollar at Half Price Books thinking my daughter or son might like it. I decided to read it myself and enjoyed it for the most part.

As a parent is was hard in a couple of ways. One, reading the voice of a teenage boy made me want to send my daughter to a convent!

Second, engaging with what it would be like to have a child with mental or emotional challenges, or different biochemistry in their brain, was difficult; both in the abstract and in the more personal sense. It is hard to think about the tough choices involved and the heartbreak that results. Thinking about my kids approaching their teenage years scares the dickens out of me (have I mentioned that?).

The diary format and handwritten, with illustrations, design added an interesting visual element.  For the most part of the Yancey’s voice and approach seem authentic and realistic even if there is a little suspension of disbelief required on occasion.

As others have noted, however, the somewhat crude and hormonal attitude of the lead character is off-putting no matter how accurate or realistic. Don’t think I will suggest my children read it just yet …

But this is a creative and engaging story that tackles some difficult subject with insight and compassion (with the added creativity of the diary format and illustrations by Nathan Huang).

Riding Invisible Book Cover Riding Invisible
Sandra Alonzo
Juvenile Fiction
Hyperion
March 2, 2010
240
Half Price Books

Fifteen-year-old Yancy runs away from home on the night his brother viciously attacks his horse, Shy. With just a backpack, a flashlight, his horse, and a journal, Yancy takes to the California desert on a journey of self-discovery. There he will learn the hardships of being homeless, experience his first kiss, and meet a Mexican laborer, Tavo, who has a thing or two to teach him about life and love. Debut novelist Sandra Alonzo creates an honest portrait of a family dealing with mental disease. Illustrator Nathan Huang captures the humor and angst of a teenager who needs more than words to make his point.

Kevin Holtsberry
I work in communications and public affairs. I try to squeeze in as much reading as I can while still spending time with my wife and two kids (and cheering on the Pittsburgh Steelers and Michigan Wolverines during football season - oh, and watching golf too).

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