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Book Club Kits: The Scorpio Races

Alamance County Public Libraries offer Book Club Kits for check out to area book clubs. Each kit contains 10 copies of a book and a reading guide.

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Book Summary

Some race to win. Others race to survive. 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 choice. So she enters the competition - the first girl ever to do so. She is in no way prepared for what is going to happen. As she did in her bestselling Shiver trilogy, author Maggie Stiefvater takes us to the breaking point, where both love and life meet their greatest obstacles, and only the strong of heart can survive. The Scorpio Races is an unforgettable reading experience.

Discussion Questions

1.      What did Sean Kendrick notice was different about his father on the day he was killed? What would you do if you noticed a close family member or friend not acting like him or herself?

2.      Water is featured prominently throughout the story. Name three things that the water symbolizes.

3.      When they first meet, Sean tells Puck to keep her pony off the beach. Why do you think he says this to her? Was he looking out for her or only for himself?

4.      The recurring themes of trust and love run throughout the story. Sean warns Puck not to trust Corr, yet he loves him. Do you think it is possible to love without trust? Why or why not?

5.      Did Sean trust Corr? Do you think he should have trusted him? If you were in Sean’s position would you be able to put your faith in a water horse?`

6.      To calm Corr, Sean ties knots in his mane. He always ties the knots in the same sequence of numbers. What were the numbers and what do they represent?

7.      How did Puck get the money to buy better grains to feed Dove? Do you think Puck’s actions were justified? Why or why not? What would you have done if you were in Puck’s situation?

8.      Why do you think Sean put up with abuse from Mr. Malvern and his son?

9.      Puck’s mother told her: “...sometimes obstacles were there to stop you from doing something stupid.” What are some of the obstacles that Puck has had to face? Do you think Puck’s mom would have supported her decision to join the race?

10.  Why did both Puck and Sean need the prize money from the race? Who do you think deserved it more?

11.  After Tommy Falk died, his father asked Sean to give his horse “back to the sea.” What did he mean by this and how did Sean do it? Why do you think Mr. Falk did not ask Gabe to do this instead?

12.  Puck said that Dove is “my mare and my best friend, and I keep waiting for something bad to happen to her because I love her too much.” Why do you think that Puck has such a fatalistic view of the world?

13.  Benjamin Malvern is depicted as a spiteful, mean, and unloving man. Does he have any good qualities? Do you think that a person can be truly bad?

14.  Sean shares his winning strategy with Puck: “There are many people on horseback trying to prove themselves. They haven’t discovered yet that it’s not the fastest who made it to race day. You only have to be the fastest of those who are left.” Explain Sean’s theory. Do you agree or disagree with it? Did Puck follow his advice?

15.  George Holly was an outsider, yet he seemed to take the place of Sean’s father. In many ways he was the antithesis of Benjamin Malvern. Compare and contrast the two men’s personalities and their actions toward Sean.

16.  Who did you think had the biggest advantage in the Scorpio Races? Do you think it’s easier to compete at something as the frontrunner or the underdog?

17.  When Puck goes to settle her debt with Mr. Malvern, she also asks him for a job. Why does she want to work for him? Is this something that you think you could ever do? Why or why not?

18.  How did the Scorpio Races help the people of Thisby? Were there any negative consequences from the tourists coming to town? Would you consider visiting Thisby if you could?

19.  When Corr stayed with Sean in the water, he saved his life and proved his devotion to Sean. When Sean released Corr back into the sea, he showed his love for Corr in return. Sometimes we have to let animals and people go even if we love them. Do you agree with this? Has there ever been a time when you had to let someone or something go even though you didn’t want to?

About the Author

In Her Own Words – Maggie Stiefvater

I am Maggie Stiefvater. I write books. Some are about dead Welsh kings. Some are about werewolf nookie. Some are about neither.

I have been a wedding musician, a technical editor, a portrait artist, and, for several fraught weeks, a waitress. I play several musical instruments (most infamously, the bagpipes), I still make art, and I recently acquired and unacquired a race car.

I live in the Shenandoah Valley in Virginia with my husband, my two children, some cows, three dogs who fart recreationally, a criminally insane cat, an interminable number of miniature silky fainting goats, and one 1973 Camaro named Loki.

I like things that go.