This book is what YA romance should be - gradual and full of realistic feelings and emotions. Sure, Sean Kendrick is a bit of a mysterious boy with ~special horsie powers~, but his POV chapters still give you an excellent view into his confusion and isolation from the others on the island.
It's not a novel based on excitement and adventure, just the slow build up of tension. The races themselves don't take place until chapter six-two; this might make it too slow for a lot of people, but I enjoyed seeing Thisby's culture take shape though I would have liked to know more about the mythology behind the capall uisce
. To be honest, I'm just happy to see world building in YA that isn't based on a ridiculously flimsy premise. It did help that you are immersed in a very small island community - there's not much information about the society outside of it, other than small mentions of a supporting character's origins.
Favorite line: "My mother always told me that you should wear your best clothing when you are angry, because it would scare people. I’m not angry, but I’m in the mood to be terrifying ..."