The Scorpio Races is set on a Celtic island called Thisby (in the early 20th century? there was talk of bowler hats) where flesh-eating kelpies, called capall uisce, wash up on the beach each November. The bravest (or most fool-hardy) denizens of Thisby capture them and ride them in the Scorpio Races.
I bought this book hoping it would be like The Hunger Games. It was and it wasn't. It had the same quality of tension that exists in the beginning of The Hunger Games, because the characters live in poverty and must take part in a deadly competition. That's pretty much where the similarity ended, though. If you expect The Scorpio Races to get to the racing any time before the end, you'll feel impatient, as I did. Once I realized that the race would happen only at the end and would probably comprise only a few pages of the novel, I was able to stop feeling impatient and enjoy the story. And once that happened, I really did enjoy it. And the end made me cry (not for the reasons you might guess), which is saying something, as books rarely get tears from me. I really liked the characters, and while many YA novels annoy me with the requisite romance, this one, like The Hunger Games, did not, because I didn't feel that the romance weakened the characters. That's a feat most authors don't manage (it's why I struggle with including romance in my own stories).