The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater
Genre: YA fantasyish (yes, I know this isn't a word. But it's not exactly fantasy)
Some Race to Win. Others Race to Survive.
"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 choice. So she enters the competition-the first girl ever to do so. She is in no way prepared for what is going to happen."
This novel is a new favorite of mine. And a surprised favorite as well, which are the best, in my opinion. I looked through Stiefvater's book, Shiver, at the store and wasn't too happy with what I found. Perhaps if I sat down and read the entire thing I would like it better, and that was just after the Twilight craze, so I was a little leery of werewolves.
However, The Scorpio Races met and blew my expectations away. I loved that the novel didn't focus just on male/female romance, but relationships between siblings as well; I loved the whole idea of wild horses jumping out of the sea; I loved how I could see Sean's stillness and jacket and Puck's ginger hair so clearly in my mind (and I'll be honest, I just loved Sean Kendrick. If only he were real...). I loved how Sean and Puck symbolized different elements of the land of Thisbe and the sea. I loved how they both hated and loved the horses and where they lived and how Stiefvater explored that tension.
As you can see, there is so many great things about this novel. And I'm a sucker for sea and horse stories. One thing I didn't like was that not all of the strings seemed tied up at the end, and not in the way a sequel would be. And a few times I grew weary of hearing all of Puck's thoughts; they seemed a bit too descriptive at times. But I highly enjoyed it and recommend listening to it on tape. The voices who play Puck and Sean make them seem much more real and are very soothing (especially Sean's).
I give this work a 4.5 out of 5 and recommend it for 15 year olds and up because of a few scenes of violence.
What I learned: What you need is not always what you think you need. Humans can be predators just as much as animals.
Check out Maggie's website here to learn more about this novel and her other works. http://maggiestiefvater.com/ The animation video for Scorpio Races is done by the author and exceptional.