Monday, March 8, 2010

RIDING INVISIBLE by Sandra Alonzo



Yancy Aparicio is a good kid.  He stays out of trouble, he gets good grades, his parents are proud of him, but there's a catch.  Yancy feels invisible.  Even though his folks say all the right things about his excellent behavior, they aren't focused on him.  Their attention is constantly directed at his older brother, Will. 

Will has something the experts call Conduct Disorder.  The way Yancy sees it, the kid is simply out of control.  Will is in treatment, sees a therapist, goes to special classes, and takes meds however all makes very little difference in his behavior.  He is a danger to society.

Yancy has decided to document events in a journal.  He's calling it his Adventure Journal because he has decided to run away.  Will's last act of violence involved Yancy best friend, a horse named Shy.  Will threatened to kill the animal.  He cut off the horse's tail and viciously attacked him with a pair of scissors.  Yancy has had enough.

The boy and his horse set out through the suburbs and head into the desert.  Their destination is a place called Palmdale some fifty miles from home.  Yancy plans to camp out along the way, and once he arrives in Palmdale, hopefully, find a job on some ranch for room and board and a stall for Shy.  His only thought is to put as much distance between his horse and his psychotic brother as possible.

Despite the supplies he packed, Yancy's journey gets pretty rough.  The heat, difficult trail conditions, and lack of water take a toll on the traveling pair.  Before he knows it, he and Shy are in trouble.  Fortunately, a Mexican ranch hand from the Triple R Ranch comes to his rescue.  He convinces his boss that Yancy is his nephew and gets him a job and a place to stay.  The work and companionship help Yancy feel a safety he hasn't felt in a long time, but how long will it last.

RIDING INVISIBLE is the journal of a fifteen year old boy trying to protect his horse and himself from violent behavior caused by mental illness.  Yancy's family is in the midst of a battle that threatens their very survival.  Author Sandra Alonzo captures their emotional story through Yancy's journal entries.  His tortuous descriptions of Will's behavior reveal his own feelings of guilt as he tries not to hate his parents for their lack of attention and tries not to give up on his own brother.  Mixed in with the writing are drawings and cartoons that illustrate Yancy's inner thoughts as he attempts to make sense of the mess around him.  RIDING INVISIBLE is a simple, yet powerful book that is sure to captivate readers everywhere.

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