Title: The Raven Boys
Author: Maggie Stiefvater
Publish date: September 18th 2012 by Scholastic Press
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.
PAY NO ATTENTION TO THE SUMMARY BEHIND THE CURTAIN.
Because it smacks of insta-love and that’s not what this book is all about.
I’m not going to pretend that it’s got some super lofty symbolism life metaphor thing going on, but it’s not your ordinary paranormal novel. The characters are quirky and have a lot of depth to them. They’re each grappling with their personal struggles and goals and they all have their own distinct personalities.
Blue, for instance, lives in a house full of psychics, but is not a psychic herself. She has the dubious honor of being a sort of amplifier for all of them somehow. And she lives with the knowledge that if she is to kiss her true love he’ll die. You can see where that would sort of put a damper on her dating life. But Blue makes it onto my (admittedly long) list of book BFFs because she has a pretty practical view on this: she’ll live her life and find fulfillment in other ways. It doesn’t take a guy to make her happy. She’s snarky and wonderful.
But obviously the universe enjoys such a challenge because Blue makes friends (that title is iffy in some cases) with four boys from Aglionby. We mainly get to know Gansey and Adam. Adam could pretty much make a hashtag out of #prideproblems and Gansey is extremely intelligent, driven, and wants simply to achieve things on his own. But Gansey also doesn’t get the social implications involved with offering money for some things.
I could write serenades about Blue’s mother and the psychics she lives with. Basically Maggie Stiefvater gave us a cast of brilliantly drawn characters that are a joy to read.
AND THEN. The plot. Also a joy. There is one “twist” that is given away early on by one line as long as you pay attention (which the characters do not), but that didn’t take away from my enjoyment of the story. If anything, it built the anticipation as I wondered when the characters would finally figure out what I had.
Overall rating: 5/5. Books like The Raven Boys remind me why paranormal was my preferred genre, once upon a time. But The Raven Boys is above and beyond.