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The Scorpio Races
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In her closing notes, Stiefvater (the Wolves of Mercy Falls trilogy) calls this a book "about killer horses"-terrifying faerie creatures that eat meat and seek to drown humans-and, in virtually the same breath, says that it "isn't really about water horses." She's right on both counts. On the island of Thisby, the Scorpio Races are held every November, when the driven or the crazy ride the beaches on the backs of these mounts. Sean Kendrick does it for love, winning year after year on the stallion Corr; Puck Connolly, pitting her ordinary horse against the killers, does it out of desperation, to win money to keep her home and to earn respect from her older brother, who threatens to desert the family. Stiefvater's narration is as much about atmospherics as it is about event, and the water horses are the environment in which Sean and Puck move, allies and rivals to the end. It's not a feel-good story-dread, loss, and hard choices are the islanders' lot. As a study of courage and loyalty tested, however, it is an utterly compelling read. Ages 13-up. (Oct.)? (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

From the author's original music to the sweeping drama of Sean Kendrick and Puck Connolly's quest to win the deadly annual water horse races, the dual performances of West and Hardingham drive the narrative to its satisfying conclusion. This 2012 Odyssey Honor award winner showcases how a listening experience can raise a strong narrative to an even higher level as the tension builds. Common Core Standard: RL.9-10.5. Analyze how an author's choices concerning how to structure a text, order events within it (e.g., parallel plots), and manipulate time (e.g., pacing, flashbacks) create such effects as mystery, tension, or surprise. Content Standard: Illinois State Board of Education (English Language Arts) State Goal #1: Read with understanding and fluency C. Comprehend a broad range of reading material1.C.4e. Analyze how authors and illustrators use text and art to express and emphasize their ideas (e.g., imagery, multiple points of view). (c) Copyright 2012. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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