Monday, November 28, 2011

I have a confession to make. Sometimes when people ask me what I’m reading, I hesitate before answering. For some reason, I feel like I need to explain why I’m reading a young adult novel, when I have not, in fact, been a ‘young’ adult for many years.

And then, I feel guilty for explaining. Because most of the books I read are fabulous, and they’re YA, and those two qualities go hand in hand, and I shouldn’t need to defend those facts to anyone.

But here’s the thing about this month’s book club selection, The Scorpio Races. I. Loved. It. There isn’t a box big enough or amazing enough to hold it. Not only will I tell my YA reading friends about it, I’ll tell everyone who can read about it. And I won’t be anything but proud that I was lucky enough to recommend it.

Welcome to the Fall Book Club Selection, hosted by the lovely Tracey Neithercott at Words On Paper.

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.

This book is amazing in so many ways. Stiefvater writes prose with stark, naked beauty and heart-clinching rhythm. I could smell the salt and fish on Gabe’s clothes, taste the November cakes melting on my tongue, and hear the waves crashing beneath the cliffs. Her descriptions sucked me right into the island, but never weighed down the pace or slowed the ticking clock.

I finish many books wishing I could know the characters in real life. But the magic of The Scorpio Races is that I put it down feeling like a member of the Connolly family. Puck is the bravest, strongest main character I’ve read since Katniss Everdeen, and I read The Hunger Games the week it debuted. My only complaint would be that I want to know Sean better, but of course, that’s part of his magic, too. He holds everything close to his blue-black jacket, and what we do learn about him is all show and no tell.

My last comment, without too many spoilers, is about the ending. Stiefvater sets her characters’ stakes against each other, meaning that however the book ends, someone has to lose. I worried about how she would pull it off, and whether I’d be left crying in my boots. But she saw the perfect ending to stay true to the tone of the story, and I put it down full of hope and no tears.

I can't wait to read everyone else's reactions!

Perfect music for this novel: Little Talks by Of Monsters and Men


  1. I loved how Puck reminded me of Katniss as well! Both are invigorating protagonists. I agree that I felt like I got to know Sean a lot less--although I wonder if that was an intentional choice for the author, so he would retain some stoicism/mystery.
    Great review!

  2. actually, I had tears because it was such a heart-wrenching, bittersweet ending. I love this book beyond the telling and wish more people would read it. I reviewed it awhile ago and tried to vote it into my favorites on Goodreads, but I think not enough people had discovered it yet because I didn't see it in the finals.

  3. I completely agree. She does a great job of bringing the reader to Thisby. I also felt like I belonged there. When I think of the book, I see and smell the island as if I'm remembering it from a past vacation.

    And the ending! I had the same fear, but it ended just as it should. Corr's final act just killed me. I was in tears because I loved the bond between Sean and Corr, and this ending was just...perfect.

  4. I agree with everything you said, and also all the things you didn't say. This book was AMAZING. Regarding the ending, I to had that fear, wondering who would win and how it would play out. I was very happy with the conclusion. The whole book was pure magic.

  5. Yeah I feel the same way sometimes. I tell someone i'm reading a book they ask what it's about and I tell them and they ask isn't that for little kids? Seriously, i'm 23 and I know what I like. I read 'grown up books' too on occasion but I love YA and that's what captures my imagination so yes I have to work on not letting others get me down too.

    Oh I loved that book. I was so ecited about it being a fan of her other series and this one just sounded amazing. I couldn't put it down I was glued to my Kindle. I agree with how vivid the descriptions are but not so much to slow the story. The characters were amazing, and Puck I loved her. Sean is still somewhat of a mystery but I agree everything we need to know about him to love him was shown. Yes I agree with the ending...I sorta had an idea how it would end and I was partially right but not nearly as I thought i'd be.

  6. Thanks for all your comments! I actually think Puck would win, if she had to fight Katniss, and that's saying something. I hope that this book finds its place not just in the YA world, but in the general adult fiction world, because either way, it is just amazing.

  7. That's the amazing thing about The Scorpio Races: it's not limited to just YA readers. I've recommended it to everyone I've seen today (no joke) and when they ask me what it's about/what kind of book it is, I say, "It's awesome, that's what it is. So go read it."

    Hello from the book club! :D

  8. I need to read this book! The story and the writing appears to suck the reader in the plot in such a beautiful manner! "But the magic of The Scorpio Races is that I put it down feeling like a member of the Connolly family" --> for me that sentence says it all :-)

    I agree with you that reading is so important for the writing process (and let´s face it, it is also so much fun!)