Riding Invisible, by Sandra Alonzo (book review) – escaping home chaos on horseback

book cover of Riding Invisible by Sandra Alonzo published byThere’s no “fun” in this dysfunctional family, as a violent teen’s mental illness rules over the household. When Will threatens to kill his horse, what else could Yancy do but saddle up Shy, grab his journal, and head for the California hills?

It’s hard to say why their parents can’t see how dangerous Will truly is, but Yancy’s spent his whole life waiting for them to understand, and he just can’t wait any longer. The pictures in Yancy’s journal help tell the story in this strong debut novel about a tough subject.

Book info: Riding Invisible / by Sandra Alonzo, illustrated by Nathan Huang. Hyperion, 2010. [Author’s website] [author interview] [publisher site] [book trailer]

My Book Talk: When his psychotic big brother threatened to kill Yancy’s horse, he wasn’t kidding. So Shy and Yancy head up into the foothills, away from the stable where Will cut off Shy’s tail, away from high school where everyone knows his brother is crazy, away from the house that’s no safe place at all.

Yancy, the good son, has wound up with the bad life in this household, where their parents follow the “expert” advice to react calmly to Will’s “conduct disorder” while Will viciously beats Yancy and sneaks beer and pot into the garage under their noses.

With Yancy gone, their parents will have enough time to deal with Will, right? And Yancy can find a job somewhere in the ranch country over near Palmdale that can keep him and Shy fed and sheltered, right?

But until Tavo the ranch hand rescues them after days on the trail and the last of their food, Yancy isn’t really sure that they will be okay at all. Tavo’s stories of his family and village in Mexico, his willingness to help Yancy keep Shy safe and well – these images and stories begin to fill the pages of Yancy’s journal instead of his fury at his brother’s dominance over the whole family.

Do Yancy’s parents even miss him, since Will’s outbursts fill up the whole house, all the time? Can he stay on the ranch with Tavo, or will the ranch owner change his mind again? (one of 5,000 books recommended on www.abookandahug.com) Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

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