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Author: Maggie Stiefvater

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Publisher: Scholastic Press,

Material: hard cover

Summary: In the Scorpio Races it is man v. water horse. Riders risk their lives racing in the brisk November sea, trying to make it to the finish line. Sean Kendrick (19) is the reigning champion. With a win this year, he will own Corr, the prize horse of Malvern Stables. He has an unexpected challenger - Puck Connelly, the first girl to enter the Scorpio Races. There is a lot at stake for both Puck and Sean ... are they ready for the ride of their life? This is a first-person narrative fantasy adventure with high interest / low readability potential.

Type of Reading: family reading, bedtime story, independent reading, read aloud book

Recommended Age: read together: 11 and Up; read yourself: 12 and Up

Interest Level: 11 and Up

Reading Level: 5.5

Age of Child: Teen STAR Review Team, Be the Star You Are!™

Young Reader Reaction: If I were to create a sensory thumbprint The Scorpio Races, I'd blend together saltwater from a storming ocean, sand eroded from foaming shorelines, a buttery slice of cake, and farm grasses blowing in the rain. They may not seem like they would fit in an action-packed novel, but readers expecting the non-stop action and heroics of Katniss Everdeen will not be disappointed when cracking open this charming and surprisingly nuanced fable. If you want a book that challenges you and is engrossing, pulls on your heart, and stimulates your mind, this book may be your cup of tea.

I recommend The Scorpio Races for middle schoolers who have grown tired of superficial characterization and want a book that offers them something deeper. Warning: the story starts out slow, but keep reading. Like stepping into cold water, your body needs to adjust to the temp before fully sinking into the atmosphere. Once submerged, your patience will surely be rewarded.

Adult Reader Reaction: Wow! I quickly forgot that the water horses are fantasy. The story itself is compelling, and Puck and Sean have incredible voice that pulls and pushes as you turn the page.

Pros: Hold on tight for an amazing ride! Readers will be on the edge of their seats hoping and cheering from page 1 to the very last word.

Cons: None. While violence, gore, and foul language can be found, the story at heart is soft and melancholic.

Borrow or Buy: Borrow, at least. Readers of all ages will find it nearly impossible to put down.

If You Liked This Book, Try: The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater; Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor; The Grisha by Leigh Bardugo; And I Darken by Kiersten White GAMER GIRL   FOR THE WIN   SHIVER

Educational Themes: There are subtexts to the story - Puck losing her parents, for example - but this is largely a story for reading and reflection.

Notes: The Reading Tub® picked up an Advance Review Copy (ARC) of this book at Book Expo America. There are no expectations of review associated with this book.

Literary Categories: Fiction - animal characters, fantasy, adventure, friendship, young adult

Date(s) Reviewed: November 2014, July 2017

Other Reviews: See Critics' Reviews and reader feedback at and


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