Monday, November 5, 2012

Paranormal Pick: The Raven Boys


The Raven Boys
The Raven Cycle, Book One
By Maggie Stiefvater
Scholastic Press
2012
408 pages

Read the free teaser here

Only in the capable hands of a superior storyteller like Stiefvater, could the Raven boys capture teen hearts. The author uses her writer’s chops and subtle finesse to tell a ghost story, a love story, a magical story, and the beginning of what is surely to become the most anticipated trilogy in years. Highly, highly readable and entertaining, teens will stay up until the wee hours frantically seeking what will happen to Gansey and Blue.

When Blue Sargent meets Gansey, a wealthy Raven boy, in a premonition, she knows he doesn’t have long to live. That’s not all, it has been prophesied that Blue will cause her true love to die. Her mother has been protecting her since birth, warning that she never kiss a boy and never fall in love. What’s a sixteen year old girl to do? Living in a house full of card readers and clairvoyants hasn’t been a real childhood, and now that she’s sixteen, Blue longs for a “normal” life.



She goes with her aunt to an old church on the corpse road on St. Mark’s Eve. No one ever celebrates St. Mark’s but the dead always do. Aunt Neeve wants to make contact with the other side and help the spirits of the deceased move on. She takes Blue along because when Blue is around, her magic is amplified. It is here that Blue meets and speaks to spirit Gansey. Later, she meets human Gansey and his rich boy crowd.

Just how rich are the Raven boys? Of Dick Gansey II (Gansey’s father) and Dick Gansey III (Gansey), Stiefvater writes, “Both of them could trot out logic on a nice little leash, wearing a smart plaid jacket, when they wanted to.” Gansey (the son) owns an abandoned factory which he lives in with his roommates (they live gratis) while he attends the Academy. He doesn’t realize that picking up the tab and offering to pay for everything may not sit well with others like Blue or Adam, who come from much humbler beginnings.

There’s something magical happening In the town of Henrietta; first, nearly famous Aunt Neeve shows up out of the blue (pun intended), then Gansey and his friends start poking around in the woods, a teacher at Aglionby Academy is looking for something magical and dangerous, and the ley lines are nearly buzzing with spiritual energy. Blue begins to meet the boys on the sly to help them hunt for a long lost legend of Welsh history that legend says slumbers somewhere near the town. To the one who wakes Glendower, that lucky person will be granted everything. The problem is that the kids aren’t the only ones obsessed with finding Glendower.

Gansey’s friends consist of Adam, a boy from the poor side of town who is working jobs to attend Aglionby, Noah—a quiet boy who has secrets of his own, and Ronan—an extremely foul, unlikeable misanthrope who is seriously deep and drew me back to him at the end of the book—with only seven little words of dialog. Now, I really like Ronan and want to know more. The novel sets up for book two nicely, and I can’t wait to read what Stiefvater has in store for Blue, Gansey and the boys.

The ending is a crash-bang in-your-face-world-gone-crazy ending that had me guessing until the very end. What a rollicking thrill! Several plotlines converged and a few unexpected zingers caught me by surprise. It’s refreshing when a book entertains and surprises at the same time. This one will leave readers breathless.

Highly, highly recommended grade 7-up. There is the mention of the B word—a child born illegitimately and the boys talk about “balls” as in grow a pair, but this is tame compared to most YA fiction. Ghost story fans will love this must-read!

FTC Required Disclaimer: I purchased this book for my library. I did not receive monetary compensation for this review.
This review has been posted in compliance with the FTC requirements set forth in the Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising (available at ftc.gov/os/2009/10/091005revisedendorsementguides.pdf)

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