On My Bookshelf: Riding by Cassia Cassitas

November 09, 2015

In Riding by Cassia Cassitas a young man overcomes obstacles to compete in the Paralympic Games. His parents introduce him to the world of cycling where he gains confidence, new friends, and determination to reach his goals.
This is a sponsored post. I received this product for free in exchange for a review, but all opinions are my own.

Basic plot: Mario and Elizabeth meet while both are working to develop Olympic host cities, involved with projects such as transportation, water systems, and local customs. Together they have a son, Andre, who, as the novel eventually reveals, is born without feet, the result of polio and wears prosthetics from a very early age. He and his mother take up residence in Curitiba, Brazil, while his father continues his travels for work. Andre dislikes school and slowly realizes the differences between himself and other children. His interest lies in bicycling, and after his parents acquire a coach for him, Andre moves into the competitive world of para-cycling with his sights set on the Olympics.

Why I liked it: The book is full of interesting details about the development of host cities long before the Olympic Games take place as well as the growing recognition for the Paralympic Games. However, the actual plot of the novel was disjointed and the characters poorly developed. It was difficult to connect with any of the characters because so little of their thoughts and feelings were revealed throughout the novel. The narrative jumped from event to event, sometimes leaving out major details or not including them until much later (i.e. Andre's physical handicap and its cause).

Classroom application: The book would be of interest to any students interested in sports, cycling, and/or the Olympics. The sections on developing Olympic host cities might also be of interest on a unit on planning communities. The novel could also be used in literature circles themed around differences or facing challenges.

If you are interested in purchasing a copy of Riding for yourself, you can find it on Amazon here.

For more reading suggestions for students and teachers:

Note: The Literary Maven is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com.

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