Riding Invisible: An Adventure Journal
Sandra Alonzo & Nathan Huang
Hyperion, 2010 (2010)
Read an Excerpt
Reviewed by Ricki Marking-Camuto
is unlike any novel I have ever read. Instead of the typical narrative, Sandra Alonzo tells the whole story though main character Yancy Aparicio's journal (which also includes poetry). Since Yancy is also an artist, illustrator Nathan Huang provides artwork here and there. The pages themselves even look like a journal – lined and in a font that resembles precise but not perfect printing.
he reason fifteen-year-old Yancy is writing an
is because he is running away from home. His home life is none too great since his sixteen-year-old brother Will has
which worsens as he ages. Will's most recent attack on his brother involved cutting the tail of Yancy's horse Shy and then slicing Shy's flank with scissors. Will then made death threats against Shy, which is why Yancy packed up and took off (with Shy) for Palmdale, fifty miles away.
ancy's life on the road is not much better, but at least Shy is safe from Will. Things do turn around, though, when Tavo (a Mexican ranch hand) picks Yancy up and takes him to the ranch where he works, telling his employer that Yancy is his nephew. Yancy enjoys working on the farm and knowing that Shy is safe, but Tavo's stories about his life back in Mexico get Yancy thinking about his own life and what he really wants from it.
is raw and gritty but very realistic. Yancy is one of the truest characters I have come across in YA fiction, and I think a lot of that stems from the format in which Alonzo chose to write his story. Even though it is published by Disney/Hyperion and illustrated, this is not a book for kids. Yancy tells it like it is, complete with a few disturbing scenes involving Will, and quite a bit of language. This also makes the story seem real.
andra Alonzo has written a book that will find its place among recommended teen lit, right up there with classics like S. E. Hinton's
. Nathan Huang's art enhances the story and makes it feel like an actual journal.
is definitely a book to be read and discussed.
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