The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater

It is the first day of November and so, today, someone will die.  

I was captivated from the very first line of Maggie Stiefvater’s The Scorpio Races (Scholastic 2011).  I felt like I could step into the pages and onto the shores of Thisby.  Thisby is a place I’d love to visit, but I’m not sure I could live there.  As an outsider, I probably wouldn’t be welcome, anyway, but I could feel the pull Thisby held over Sean and Puck.

Both Sean and Puck are drawn into the Scorpio Races, but for very different reasons.  Sean and his water horse Corr make a nearly unbeatable team.  There’s just one problem.  Sean doesn’t own Corr; his boss, the owner of Malvern Yard, does.  If Sean could win just one more time, he could make Corr his own.  Puck has never raced and is terrified of the water horses that killed her parents.  (Oh yeah, water horses are vicious, flesh-eating horses that emerge from the sea every fall.  The brave–or foolish–men capture and try to tame them in order to race down the beach to bloody finish.)  If she can win the race on her ordinary mare Dove, she could win enough to keep her and her brothers from being thrown out of their home.

The violent races form the backdrop of this story that is about so much more–friendship, loss, grief, loyalty, and courage.  This is a horse story like no other you’ve ever read.  I am ready now to visit an island with windswept beaches and towering cliffs, ready to gaze across the waves and wonder what might lurk beneath them, ready to sink my teeth into a November cake and feel the pounding of hooves.

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