The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater
Publisher: Scholastic Press
Publication Date: October 18, 2011
Buy It: Amazon / Book Depository
It happens at the start of every November: The Scorpio Races. Riders attempt to keep hold of their water horses long enough to make it to the finish line. Some riders live. Others die.
At age nineteen, Sean Kendrick is the returning champion. He is a young man of few words, and if he has any fears, he keeps them buried deep, where no one else can see them.
Puck Connolly is different. She never meant to ride in the Scorpio Races. But fate hasn't given her much of a chance. So she enters the competition-the first girl ever to do so. She is in no way prepared for what is going to happen.
I once read a review of Maggie Stiefvater's writing that called it lyrical, and I would have to say that that is the perfect description. She has some kind of magic, weaving together improbably stories and making them seem so real they can break your heart, which to my way of thinking is the mark of a truly talented writer. There is a rhythm and cadence to her writing that invites you to sink down into it's depths and become absorbed by it, and trust me, you will become wonderfully enamored by the world she's created in this gem of a novel.
This book is moody, atmospheric, and enthralling. It kept me up long into the night and it was 100 percent worth the exhaustion the next day. There is a subtle artistry in the growth of her characters, and the developments in the complicated and realistically depicted relationships between them.
This story, alternating between Sean and Puck's viewpoints, starts off simply enough and throughout the narratives we get to know Puck and her brothers and follow her as she does the unthinkable: becomes the first girl to enter the Scorpio Races. She is met with opposition, but she is a strong and determined character and I was cheering her on as she faced down her adversaries with a bravery and surety that I wished I possessed.
Returning champion Sean Kendrick has reasons of his own for wanting to win the Scorpio Races this year, and as the stakes are heightened throughout the novel he stands to lose everything he loves if he doesn't. I absolutely loved everything about Sean. He is steady as a heartbeat, quiet, still, and magnetic. Despite the fact that they are competitors, Sean and Puck are drawn to one another and ultimately end up training together.
Throughout this novel Sean and Puck are forced to face several truths about themselves and the lives they've lead on the tiny island they both love, navigate the beginnings of a new friendship, deal with opposition and outright hostility from several different factions, and attempt to survive an event that regularly takes the lives of those who compete.
I loved everything about this book. It made me laugh, made me grunt in frustration, broke my heart, and made me fall in love with Sean Kendrick and cheer for Puck with all my heart. This is what young adult fiction should be, and you NEED to read this book.