The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater

Summary:  There is really no way to sum up a book like this because it’s like nothing else out there. The first line of the story is “It is the first day of November, so, today, someone will die.” I’ll sum it up as best I can. There’s a small island in the British Isles area, Thisby, that hasn’t decided whether it’s Irish or Scottish, and is unique for the strange horses that populate it. Our fierce heroine, Puck, signs up for a race on one of those horses. Pretty straightforward, you think. Now here’s the catch: these are not your average horses: they are monsters, water horses that emerge from the sea every November and are captured specially for their races. People die in this race. There are deaths in this story, and plenty of near misses and scares and eaten fingers and broken ribs and all that jazz. Our spunky heroin has her work cut out for her. She wouldn’t be racing at all if she didn’t have a very good reason that I will not reveal for purposes of plot. But she needs to wind this race. Too much as at stake. But she’s going ot have face man (and heroine)-eating water horses during training, a bunch of chauvinistic men that don’t want a girl on their turf, and the four-time defending champ, the mysterious Sean. Sean is Puck’s biggest threat and, as the story progresses, he’s her biggest advantage. The story alternates between Kaye and sean’s point of view, and you get to see both sides of their complex characters. It’s a strange sort of adventure, involving plenty of interesting details, such as a hilarious American horse owner, some exceptionally delicious-sounding pastries that the author made specifically to torture you, a very sweet little brother, and the sort of romance that you will not be disappointed in. This is the sort of book that has a slow, tauting build in everything from suspense to romance. But you will not be disappointed. Trust me. If you’re jaded by all the teen books and their overdone plots, this is the book for you.

Why I picked it up: Friend recommendation, and when you volunteer at the library, you get to read plenty of wacky books. Also, the cover was pretty. That never hurts. I will shamelessly judge a book by its cover.

Why I kept reading it: I don’t know when it had me, but it baited me and had be hooked before I knew it. I could not stop. Everything about it was so fraught with tension. The language of the island is so stark and clear and descriptive that is sinks into so you don’t forget it. Everything was structured perfectly, from the plot to the characters to the pacing to the climax and resolution. It’s such a breath of fresh air after shelves dominated by vampire/fairy/werewolf/angels/all of the above style books. My only disappointment was that there’s no sequel. With that ending, there is so much potential for a sequel.

Who I would give to next: My best friends (I already have). My cousin on the esat coast. My English teacher. The lady next door. The daughter of the lady next door. Anyone who wants to read a good book.

Reviewed by Disha T.