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Teen Picks: “The Raven Boys” by Maggie Stiefvater

The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater

What is it about? “There are only two reasons a non-seer would see a spirit on St. Mark’s Eve,” Neeve said. “Either you’re his true love . . . or you killed him.”

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 courtesy of Goodreads

What did you think of it & why did you pick it up? I’ve been avoiding this review for a while now. Why? Because my love for the Raven Boys was complex. I knew exactly what would happen in the end and so the entire time I kept trying to smash my hopes of a Gansey/Blue relationship in the first book. It just wasn’t happening. I might even go as far to say that I knew from the first few chapters that it would end on a cliffhanger without Gansey or Blue having so much as hugged and would leave me rolling around on my floor, cursing Maggie Stiefvater and her spectacular novels.

As I was waging this inner war with myself I was also trying desperately to figure out what all of the rather large and ambiguous (Ha! There’s one right there) words meant. I understand that the town was filled with rich people who talked like only the wealthy and over-educated do, but Maggie took it a tad too far in this novel. Don’t get me wrong here, I love great word choice. It certainly makes or breaks an essay. Concise word choice is everything, as my English teacher loves to tell me. At the same time, there is this thing called “common language” that authors need to be aware of. It helps readers actually understand what’s going on even if they haven’t taken the SAT test. I never had any trouble with the Shiver series, or even The Scorpio Races. It’s possible The Raven Boys was simply written at a higher level. It was evident in every page that Stiefvater got her chance to flourish in this novel.

Either way, I will definitely be re-reading this before the second book comes out. Maybe I’ll actually go back and look up what all of the words mean. That might be helpful. Because not only was the word choice confusing, so was the plot. Kind of. I’m not used to reading mysteries. In fifth grade I devoured them, but now they’ve lost some of their appeal. There’s just so much to absorb. Admittedly, reading YA novels is remarkably easy because for the most part they give you everything. I can sit back and enjoy the ride without worrying about missing something. In The Raven Boys, this is far from the truth. It takes a close read to catch everything but it’s worth it. This is one of those that kept me up at night, wanting more. Wishing I could speed-read to the last page while simultaneously hoping that it wouldn’t end.

I was glad it had an ending climax though. This means that Stiefvater had the entire book to build up each character so that I was thoroughly in love (or in hate, for villains) with each one. Noah, the shy, introverted one in the group was adorable, especially as he became more comfortable with Blue. Ronan was spicy, to say the least. Adam was also cute, but his story was a terribly sad one. Finally, Gansey…oh Gansey. He was…delightful, blunt, slightly selfish, and incredibly rich. Every time him and Blue were together I felt all warm and tingly. As I said, they didn’t even hug, but Maggie has this wonderfully subtle way of creating chemistry between two people in one sentence. It might be the way one character describes the other’s eyes, or the way that the dialogue is strung together. Each word a hidden romance unto itself.

Other little things I liked:

-The Raven Boys was told in third person omniscient and was highly enjoyable. This allowed the novel to be written much more elegantly and mysteriously. It’s wonderful to be able to see every character up close, their thoughts and feelings and schemes, in some cases.

-Blue’s family/extended-family! Reading about large families and their crazy antics is sure to get a laugh from me so a book about a large family of psychics was even better.

-The premise. By golly it blew my socks off! (Har-dee-har-har, see what I did there? ’Cause, you know, the protagonist’s name is Blue? I thought it was clever….) Really though, how did she come up with this stuff?

-Blue’s power to increase other psychic’s abilities. Even though she wasn’t actually clairvoyant herself, Blue has her own little charm to her and it made her feel extra special.

-The cover. I’ve become awkwardly obsessed with covers lately and this one is just as sweet as the rest of Maggie’s cover’s. She must have a kick-butt cover artist.

Overall this novel was thrilling and lovely to experience, Stiefvater book-veteran or not. I suggest immediately purchasing all of her books right now and moving to Virginia, where she lives.

Star Rating: 5 Stars for rating the book It was awesome! Everyone should check this out!

I would suggest this for: Honestly, anyone. It has something for everyone.

Name: Lauren

Thanks for the review Lauren!

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