Book Review: The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater

Title: The Raven Boys
Author: Maggie Stiefvater
408 pages, Published by Scholastic
YA (grades 9-12)
Maggie’s Info: Website | Twitter | Facebook
Buy The Book: Amazon

Summary:

It is freezing in the churchyard, even before the dead arrive.

Every year, Blue Sargent stands next to her clairvoyant mother as the soon-to-be dead walk past. Blue herself never sees them — not until this year, when a boy emerges from the dark and speaks directly to her.

His name is Gansey, and Blue soon discovers that he is a rich student at Aglionby, the local private school. Blue has a policy of staying away from Aglionby boys. Known as Raven Boys, they can only mean trouble.

But Blue is drawn to Gansey, in a way she can’t entirely explain. He has it all — family money, good looks, devoted friends — but he’s looking for much more than that. He is on a quest that has encompassed three other Raven Boys: Adam, the scholarship student who resents all the privilege around him; Ronan, the fierce soul who ranges from anger to despair; and Noah, the taciturn watcher of the four, who notices many things but says very little.

For as long as she can remember, Blue has been warned that she will cause her true love to die. She never thought this would be a problem. But now, as her life becomes caught up in the strange and sinister world of the Raven Boys, she’s not so sure anymore. (Summary provided by Scholastic.)

My Thoughts:

With The Raven Boys Maggie Stiefvater has managed to create yet another wholly original world for her characters to inhabit. The story revolves around Blue and Gansey. Blue is the daughter of a psychic, however she does not have the gift of sight. Blue does have the gift of being able to make psychics see more clearly when she is near. Every St. Mark’s Eve Blue accompanies her mother to a creepy, deserted church. While using Blue as some sort of psychic antennae, her mother is able to see people in the community who will die that year. This particular year is different for a couple of reasons: 1. Instead of going to the church with her mother as per usual, she goes with her mother’s mysterious half-sister Neeve, a famous psychic who has come to town to visit. 2. For the first time Blue is able to see one of the souls that will die in the coming year. He is a boy named Gansey. When Blue wonders why she is able to see him, Neeve tells her it is probably because he is either going to be her true love or she is going to kill him. This revelation is devastating for Blue, because it was foretold long ago by her mother and her mother’s psychic friends that if Blue kissed her first true love he would die. When I read this section in the book I couldn’t help thinking, What a great way to get your teen not to date. Honey, by the way, the first person you kiss will die! However, despite my initial thoughts about all of the comedic elements this plot device could yield, it worked. Stiefvater had me hooked. From the prophecy regarding Blue’s true love to the creepy parade of the future dead into the desolate church, Stiefvater draws readers into The Raven Boys universe from the very beginning of the book.

Stiefvater has created a rich and fascinating family structure around Blue Sargent. Blue lives with her mother (Maura) and her mother’s two best friends Persephone and Calla, both psychics as well. Imagine being surrounded by psychic energy and not having the ability to see the future on your own. Stiefvater takes the typical teenage sense of isolation and ramps it up a few notches with Blue. I also loved the bohemian way Blue’s family lived. Blue’s family hands out predictions like they’re handing out her allowance.

The book’s title comes from the Aglionby school. Aglionby is a boarding school where privileged teenage boys go to school. They are known as The Raven Boys because of the school crest that includes a raven on their sweaters. Gansey attends Aglionby, and he is obsessed with the ley lines that run through the area. Gansey, with the help of his friends and his considerable wealth, is searching for a specific spot on the ley lines that holds the sleeping body of Owain Glendower, a medieval Welsh Noble. Legend has it that whomever wakes Glendower will be granted a wish. Gansey’s path intersects with Blue’s along the way, and she begins helping with the search for Glendower. Of course there are complications once Blue becomes friends with the group. There is a bit of a love triangle happening between Blue, Gansey, and Adam, one of Gansey’s closest friends. Also, Blue is wondering if she will fall in love with Gansey or kill him. Now that’s quite a conundrum!

There are a few things about me as a reader you should probably know. I love books with psychics. I love books with magic. I love books with ghosts. I’m obsessed with ravens. Put all of those elements together in one book, add in a story line about ley lines (which I’m now obsessed with) and my head will pretty much explode from the big ball of awesome that ensues! I highly recommend The Raven Boys to teens and adults alike. It will make for a great read this Halloween season. Also, it was just announced that New Line has acquired the rights to The Raven Boys movie franchise. I predict this series is going to be quite popular.

FTC Disclosure Statement: I received a complimentary review copy of The Raven Boys from the publisher via NetGalley. I also receive a small commission from any purchases made by clicking through the Amazon links throughout the site.

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