The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater
On the island of Thisby, deadly water horses rise from the sea every year. These carnivorous beasts have claimed the lives of many–some have been taken while too close to the water and some have been taken during the Scorpio Races. The Scorpio Races are held every year and draw in tons of tourists from the mainland. During the races, men try to tame water horses to race down the beach. It is a deadly spectacle, but one that is tradition on Thisby.
For Sean, his father was lost when competing in the races when he was a young boy. Since then, Sean has dedicated his life to the races and to his tamed water horse, Corr. Corr is the only family Sean has left, but for Sean there is always a threat that he will lose Corr. Sean is only allowed to race Corr because he works for the Malverns, and the Malverns own Corr. Sean is the water horse whisperer of Thisby. He seems to hold some magical secret of how to tame the wild beasts. These abilities have helped in the races, where he has won for the last four years in a row. But for Sean, winning freedom for himself and for Corr is his ultimate goal.
For Puck, both her parents were taken by the water horses while on the beach. That left her with her two brothers, one older and one younger. Puck’s older brother is leaving Thisby and without him they will lose their parents’ house. The only way Puck can think to keep her house and her brother is to compete in the Scorpio Races. Winning the races will provide Puck with the money to insure that she can take care of herself and her younger brother, as well as keep the house. It will also keep Puck’s brother on the island until the races are over. Due to a loop hole in the rules of the Scorpio Races, Puck is not only the first female to race but she is also the first to race a normal horse, her beloved horse Dove.
The Scorpio Races is told in alternating chapters from Sean and Puck’s point of views and it is a captivating read. At first you get to know Puck and Sean as individuals and the hardships that life has thrust upon them. Then, as they become connected from participating in the Scorpio Races, you see their relationship develop. Maggie Stiefvater weaves a wonderful tale that incorporates action and adventure, monstrous beasts, and the love that blossoms between two warriors. Definitely pick this up if you want a good fantasy read. It is fast paced, interesting, and very well-written.
Graffiti Moon by Cath Crowley
A lot can happen in one night. On the night of their high school graduation Lucy, Ed, and Leo set out on a night of adventure with their friends. Lucy and her friends Jazz and Daisy want to spend the whole night in search of Shadow and Poet, a couple of graffiti artists that are making their mark in their Australian city. Lucy, who spends her free time as an apprentice to a glass blower, is obsessed with Shadow’s artwork and knows that he is the guy for her. All she has to do is find him, which she has been trying to do for months now. Her friends Jazz and Daisy assure Lucy that before the night is over they will find Shadow.
Ed and Leo are Shadow and Poet, but no one knows this. Only their good mate Dylan knows their secret identities. The three guys are in a bad place, though. Ed has dropped out of school because of his dyslexia, lost his job, and his girlfriend. Leo is in debt to a thug for $500 and is also dealing with a hard breakup. Dylan is having problems with his girlfriend Daisy, who he is sure is about to dump him. To try and fix things with Daisy, Dylan tells the girls that he knows Shadow and Poet. The girls recruit Dylan, and his two friends Ed and Leo to help them track down the artists. The guys lead the girls through the city on a search that cannot succeed. Along the way, Ed and Lucy grow closer, even though they are convinced they hate each other after a bad date. Leo and Jazz decide they were meant to be with each other, and Daisy and Dylan continue their fight. However, with such a big secret can Ed and Lucy and Leo and Jazz really find love this night? Also, what will the guys do when it gets to be 2 a.m. and they have to take part in a robbery to fix Leo’s debt?
Graffiti Moon is told in alternating chapters in the voices of Lucy, Ed, and Leo. Each voice is so distinct and you really get to know these characters. This is definitely a character driven novel. It’s also great that this whole story unfolds in just one night. There is adventure, comedy, romance, and art all rolled up into one novel. This is a great read for anyone looking for a fun, fast paced read that has a little bit of everything.
Life as it Comes by Anne-Laure Bondoux
Life as it Comes is the French pick for our 2012 Book Crossing program with our Sister City Sèvres, France. It is a great read to pick up this summer, especially because it centers on the first summer that two sisters spend together after the death of their parents due to a car accident.
Mado is fifteen and Patty is twenty. You would think the opposite was true, though, because Mado is the responsible one and Patty is the reckless one. Mado makes the dinners, makes sure that the bills are paid, and is always doing homework so that she gets good grades. As long as Mado does well in school and makes it look like everything is OK, then the social workers will let Patty keep custody of Mado. Patty, however, is everything but OK. She leaves Mado alone all the time, and it is when Patty gets home from one of these weekends away that she reveals to Mado that she is pregnant.
Patty’s pregnancy could ruin everything, especially because it could mean that she would no longer be able to care for Mado. The sisters don’t know what to do and are afraid of their social workers finding out. So, they continue on as if nothing’s wrong and go ahead with their planned summer vacation at their family home in Southern France. For awhile, their summer is perfect. They even meet two brothers who are vacationing from Amsterdam and have a bit of summer romance. However, as the days grow shorter and autumn approaches, Mado and Patty have to come to terms with Patty’s pregnancy and try to do what’s best for themselves and for the new baby.
As I said, Life as it Comes is the perfect summer read if you want a little bit of drama, a little bit of romance, and a really great story about what it means to be a family after a tragedy. Click here to find Life as it Comes in the Library today and be sure stop in at the Library to learn more about our Book Crossing program.
Almost Perfect by Brian Katcher
Logan has been dumped. And it was not the kind of dumping that just takes a few weeks to get over. It was an epic dump. It was a “Logan is completely in love and then out of nowhere his girlfriend cheats on him and calls things off, after three years together” breakup. The last thing Logan is thinking about is moving on. Until, that is, the new girl comes to his high school. Logan lives in a small Missouri town called Boyer and no one new ever comes to town. So, when Sage shows up in his Biology class he is surprised to find how much he likes her. He is not just attracted to her, he also just likes being around her. Logan, however, is cautious since he is still reeling from his bad breakup, so he is hesitant to tell Sage how he feels about her. Sage is also more interested in just being friends with Logan. But that is because Sage has a secret. Sage was born a boy, but is in the process of transitioning to a girl, and that is why she has come to Boyer. Sage knows that the girl she is today is who she has always been and just wants the chance to be herself. However, will Logan be able to accept her when he learns her secret? And will he be able to get over the fact that Sage lied to him?
Almost Perfect is a fantastic read! It is such an emotion filled book. Logan is dealing with a gut wrenching break up and as he starts to get close to Sage, he finds out that she has been lying to him about who she really is. You really want Logan and Sage to be together since they are so perfect for one another, but it is so hard to believe that Logan will get over learning about Sage’s transitioning. Once Sage reveals her secret, you follow both Sage and Logan as they experience a whole range of emotions. This book definitely makes you feel and it is for anyone who is a fan of realistic fiction. Also, there are not many books being published right now that deal with a teen who is transgendered or transitioning. Almost Perfect is an excellent example of one! Here are some others that are equally as good (just click on them to find them in the Library!):
Crossing Linesby Paul Volponi
I am J by Chris Beam
Parrotfish by Ellen Wittlinger
Luna by Julie Ann Peters
Click here to find Almost Perfect in the Library today!
Leaving Paradise by Simone Elkeles
Maggie Armstrong had a crush on her best friend’s twin brother, Caleb Becker. That is until one night, at a party, Caleb hit Maggie with his car and left her broken in the street. It’s a year later and Caleb is being released from juvenile detention, convicted of a hit and run while driving drunk. Maggie has spent the past year in recovery from a devastating leg injury that has left her scarred, with a severe limp, and an outcast. Caleb is returning home, hoping to find that nothing has changed. His family, however, is falling apart at the seams. His girlfriend has moved on to his best friend, and one moment his friends treat him like he’s the same old Caleb and the next like he’s trash. Both Maggie and Caleb have lost everything. Their friends and families have changed because of the accident and no one will ever look at the two of them as they did before.
Maggie and Caleb are keeping secrets about that night, however, secrets that could change everything. Told in alternating chapters, Leaving Paradise, is a fast and emotion filled read. It’s not a cry out loud book, but there is a strong undertone of emotion that takes you on a ride. You feel the anger in both Maggie and Caleb, but you also feel the hopelessness and frustration of each situation. Yes, there is a romance here, but it’s not the center of the book and it is added in at just the right places. Though the ending was not what I expected, I was definitely left satisfied. You’ll love the characters of Maggie and Caleb and feel empowered by how each overcame other peoples’ perceptions of them and in turn became stronger in their own selves.