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Stiefvater drastically departs from Shiver, her recent popular werewolf romance trilogy, with The Scorpio Races, a unique stand-alone fantasy novel. Every cold November on the fictional island of Thisby, tourists and locals gather for the Scorpio Races. But it's no ordinary race, as these are no ordinary horses. They are capaill uisce (pronounced CAP-ul ISH-ka), commonly known on the island as water horses, and they are deadly and wild horse-like creatures captured from the sea and brought to race on the shore as spectator sport. During training and racing, it's not uncommon for them to kill each other, their riders, or any other unfortunate soul that gets in their way.
19-year-old orphan Sean Kendrick is a gifted rider and horse whisperer, and he's able to tame the water horses in a way like no other. He's a four-time winner of the Scorpio Races, and he intends to win again so he can finally buy freedom for himself and his water horse Corr from the callous Mr. Malvern's stables. However, 17-year-old Kate "Puck" Connelly is getting in the way. Puck, also an orphan thanks to the capaill uisce , lives with her two brothers in a small cottage, struggling to get by. In an effort to save the house, she hatches a seemingly-impossible plan to enter and somehow win the Scorpio Races with her land horse, Dove. Throw in the fact that she's the first female to ever enter the race, and watch the drama unfold. The chapters alternate between Sean and Puck as they prepare for the race with seemingly endless obstacles in front of them. Who will win? Who will live?
The Scorpio Races was named as a 2012 Printz honor book, and it's a unique tale. Thisby is rural, lacking modern technological conveniences, and reminiscent of a mid-20th century drizzly Celtic isle, but the exact era and location are never revealed, which is why some speculate that this is perhaps a dystopian tale that takes place in the future. The mythical water horses obviously add an element of fantasy, and there is a bit of romance thrown in for good measure.
Divergent is set in Chicago in the future. Society has split into five different factions that all have different beliefs as to what caused the downfall of the world as we know it today. The Candor believes the fault lies with deceitfulness, and believes in always telling the truth, no matter the consequences. The Erudite believes the faults lies with ignorance, and are always striving to be educated. The Amity blames conflict, and always strives to keep the peace. The Dauntless blames cowardice, and always try to be brave. And the Abnegation believes it was selfishness that was to blame, and so they put the needs of other before their own.
Beatrice Pryor has to make a decision that will forever change her life. Should she stay with her family in her faction and remain a member of the selfless Abnegation, or should she leave behind the lifestyle that she struggles to achieve for something different. She has always been fascinated with the displays of courage by the Dauntless, but is that the right place for her?
In a bleak future, parents can choose to have their 13-17 year old offspring “unwound.” Unwinding is the process of surgically harvesting all body parts for use in other people. Some brave teens who are scheduled to be unwound decide to run away in order to save their own lives and choose their own destinies. Will they make it? Will they be caught? Read Unwind by Neal Shusterman in order to find out!
Sixteen-year-old Callie, her seven-year-old brother Tyler, and their good friend Michael are homeless orphans who eke out a living the best they can. One day Callie finds out about a company called Prime Destinations, where she has the potential to earn a lot of money. All Callie has to do is to rent out her body to three very rich elderly people, who can pretend to be young again for a period of time. After three rentals, Callie will have enough money to provide a home and food for her brother and their friend. It sounds simple; however, Callie finds out that nothing is as simple as it seems. Check out Starters by Lissa Price to find out what happens.
If you enjoyed Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins, Airhead by Meg Cabot, Eva by Peter Dickinson, or Uglies by Scott Westerfeld you are likely to enjoy Starters which is also available in book cd format, OverDrive ebook format, and Axis360 ebook format.
Fifteen-year-old Day is on the run, after a soldier is said to be killed by him. Fifteen-year-old June is the soldier/detective assigned to find and capture Day. In their future, the United States has been divided into two countries: The Republic, where Day and June live, and The Colonies, which are in conflict with The Republic. As you read the novel, you will see both sides of the story, and you will learn more about the two main characters and their backgrounds. If you enjoyed The Hunger Games trilogy by Suzanne Collins, or Les Miserables by Victor Hugo, you are likely to enjoy Legend by Marie Lu, also available in book cd format. This is an adventurous book for high school students, middle school students, and anyone who enjoys dystopian fiction. To learn more about the author, check out her website. To learn more about the novel, check out this website. There is also an interesting interview with the author here.
Check out Ship Breaker by Paolo Bacigalupi. Nailer works as a ship breaker along the decimated Gulf Coast in a dystopian future devoid of oil. Nailer and his fellow crew of hardened orphans and urchins pick apart old ships in search of bits of copper, brass, and the ultimate scavenge, deposits of oil. His life is dangerous and hard, and his drug-addicted, abusive hustler of a father doesn't make it any easier. When Nailer stumbles upon a pocket of oil in an old tanker, he thinks that life may start to get better. However, when a brutal hurricane washes a luxurious clipper ship ashore, a scavenger's dream, Nailer knows that his luck really is about to change. It's not until he discovers a beautiful and wealthy lone survivor aboard that he begins to question what kind of luck that will be. Can Nita offer him a better life, or will she just lead him to unimaginable danger?
Dystopian science fiction like The Hunger Games continues to stay popular among teen readers, so it's not surprising that the Printz Award, which is given annually to a young adult novel of distinction, was awarded to Ship Breaker for 2011. The gritty setting a post-oil wasteland unfortunately feels somewhat plausible, which makes it more compelling. You can find plenty of news stories about global scavenging, or check out Trash by Andy Mulligan for a fictional account. If you enjoyed the non-stop action of Ship Breaker, stay tuned for The Drowned Cities, with expected publication in May 2012.