I recently went to an event at one of those bookstores – Hooray for Books! – for a reading, Q&A and signing by John Corey Whaley and Maggie Stiefvater. Whaley received the Printz and Morris awards for his debut, Where Things Come Back. And Maggie Stiefvater published The Scorpio Races in the fall, and it was one of my favorite books of 2011 (and also a Printz honor book). The event was fun, and I think both of the authors had a good time, though they were travel- and tour-fatigued. Good news: not only did I enjoy myself, but I got two books signed and I’m giving them away (!!!). Check out the final paragraph for details.
Just when seventeen-year-old Cullen Witter thinks he understands everything about his small and painfully dull Arkansas town, it all disappears...
In the summer before Cullen's senior year, a nominally-depressed birdwatcher named John Barling thinks he spots a species of woodpecker thought to be extinct since the 1940s in Arkansas. His rediscovery of the so-called Lazarus Woodpecker sparks a flurry of press and woodpecker-mania. Soon all the kids are getting woodpecker haircuts and everyone's eating "Lazarus burgers." But as absurd as the town's carnival atmosphere has become, nothing is more startling than the realization that Cullen’s sensitive, gifted fifteen-year-old brother Gabriel has suddenly and inexplicably disappeared.
While Cullen navigates his way through a summer of finding and losing love, holding his fragile family together, and muddling his way into adulthood, a young missionary in Africa, who has lost his faith, is searching for any semblance of meaning wherever he can find it. As distant as the two stories seem at the start, they are thoughtfully woven ever closer together and through masterful plotting, brought face to face in a surprising and harrowing climax.
Complex but truly extraordinary, tinged with melancholy and regret, comedy and absurdity, this novel finds wonder in the ordinary and emerges as ultimately hopeful. It's about a lot more than what Cullen calls, “that damn bird.” It’s about the dream of second chances.
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 chance. So she enters the competition — the first girl ever to do so. She is in no way prepared for what is going to happen.
Would you like to win signed copies of Maggie Stiefvater's The Scorpio Races and John Corey Whaley's Where Things Come Back? Just fill out the FORM. One winner will receive a signed hardcover of each book. Giveaway open internationally, will end June 8 at 11:59pm EST. Winner will be notified via email. Good luck!