The first thing that drew me to RIDING by Cassia Cassitas was the cover. The subdued water color-eske look shows the front and handle bars of a bicycle as it/the rider gets ready to take off on a journey. The 'walls' around it at first look like they're covered in graffiti but, the closer I looked, the more I saw. Instead of just random graffiti, there are planes, bikes, books, buildings, people -- everything you need to get places and achieve your dreams in life. Those images tie heavily into the message of RIDING, which I appreciated. It's almost like sharing a secret with anyone who knows the truth of what's inside the pages of the books and -- more importantly -- what's inside the hearts of the athletes that keep 'riding' no matter what stands in their way. That's the beauty of a book like RIDING. The message is weaved so seamlessly into the narrative that you never feel like it is being preachy or trying to make you feel or think one way or the other. There's no agenda here. It's a tale of inspiration, following your dreams, and succeeding no matter what stands in your way. You naturally feel and think as you take this journey with the characters.
RIDING opens with a chapter in 1st person point of view. This initially confused me because the rest of the book isn't in 1st person. I couldn't decide if the "I" narrator was the author or one of the characters. The writing style also reminded me of a book I helped edit in college that was translated from Greek to English. The sentence structure and word choice reminded me so strongly of this particular book that was itself modeled after Vigil and Dante, that I looked up to see where the author was from. She appears to be from Brazil and not Greece. It still reads very much like a translated book instead of native English. Not that that's a bad thing, it's just different.
Another thing in the 'different' category is the events of the novel are told in a series of vignettes that don't follow in sequence. The time jumps initially confused me. I swiped to the previous page in the e-book to make sure I didn't miss anything. Once I got used to the story telling technique, it was easier to follow but, if you're a fan of books told in linear fashion, RIDING may not be for you.
Overall, I recommend RIDING for its heart felt message of never give up on your dreams -- no matter how far out of reach they seem. It's something we all should keep in mind, no matter what the circumstances.