the book stack

The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater.
Scholastic, 2012.


Months ago Deb Day shared this book on her blog, Coffee with Chloe. (You do read, Coffee with Chloe, right?) Deb doesn’t usually share books, but she said she couldn’t not share this one.

The Scorpio Races was already in my book stack. I follow Maggie Stiefvater on Twitter. I admire Deb Day and wanted to trust her as a reader. Still, the book sat in my stack.

Until I picked it up and started reading a few days ago. It took me a little bit to get into the cadence of the language. It took me a little while to be absorbed by the story. I read until page 21 and then put the book down to go to sleep. The next evening, after the kids were in bed and Andy was gone, I picked it up. I became completely absorbed in the story. 

The plot was tight. 
The characters were real. 
I loved the craft. 

It is a plot-driven story, and yet, it felt character-driven. It has remarkable craft. I put it on my bookshelf of young adult mentor texts. There are only a handful of books on the shelf. I plan to read it again next week in order to study it and learn from Maggie Stiefvater about crafting an exquisite story.

Lucky for us, Maggie is online. Her website is a beautiful as her books. Follow her on Twitter (@mstiefvater) and via her blog. In fact, at the beginning of the year, she peeled back her revision process by sharing a deep inside look at chapter 15 of The Scorpio Races in a post “From Rough to Final: A Dissection of Revision.”

As if that’s not enough, last night I started:

Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater.
Scholastic, 2009.

I think I may be Maggie Stiefvater’s newest fan. I hope you’ll join me…she is a master at crafting a story.

The stack is deep since it is summer, so I want to share one more. 

Good News Bad News by Jeff Mack.
Chronicle Books. Released August 2012

Good News Bad News by Jeff Mack is a children’s book with simple text and clever illustrations. I’m drawn to it because of the two voices and the way the character’s dispositions spring off the page. It makes me laugh, and it touches my heart. I imagine using this book with our youngest writers — to help them learn about characterization, as well as to open the possibilities of telling a story from more than one voice. 

My current WIP is told from two voices. (Another reason The Scorpio Races is my newest mentor, as it is told from two voices too.) Studying the illustrations in Good News Bad News by Jeff Mack helps me consider ways to make different voices unique and filled with personality. I’m excited to add this book to my mentor texts for writing workshop next school year.

Hoping you’ll join Jen and Kellee at Teach Mentor Texts for:

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and add your own books to the conversation.

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  1. Thanks for sharing Ruth! I will be on the lookout for Good News Bad News. It sounds like a good one and one that I could use with my kindergarten students! I'm always on the lookout for good ones!

  2. Good News Bad News is so cute. There's so much that can be learned from this book thanks to the fantastic illustrations!

  3. The Scorpio Races is one of the best books I've read this year… I haven't tried Shiver because it seems more romancey but I can't wait for Raven Boys to come out.

  4. Ruth
    I have seen The Scorpio Races cover and that is all, okay you have convinced me and I will have tracked it down and read it by end of year I hope. Sounds fabulous.

  5. I read Shiver before I read Scorpio Races. I actually love the language and imagery with Scorpio Races but struggled with the horses. I'm not a horse person, they kind of freak me out, so I wasn't a fan of that part…but the writing, I agree, is amazing.

  6. More books to add to my ever growing pile – haven't read any of Maggie's books yet but I most definitely will! Thanks for the great recommendations.

  7. Interesting! I've seen Scorpio Races around and it looked intriguing. Someday, when I get through my HUGE stack!

    What I especially love is that you are using it as a mentor for you. I'm working through writing a story that is driven by flashbacks – so I really should try to seek out a book that does that well. What a great idea!