Maggie Stiefvater's The Raven Boys Roped Us In!
Guess how this book starts? Did you guess "with a young woman who's not your average teenage girl?" Then you win a prize! But hang on... this story isn't just your run of the mill YA sci fi/fantasy shelf-filler. The Raven Boys has twists and turns within that'll keep you thumbing through the pages at a rapid pace!
Blue Sargent is (say it with us) not your average teenage girl. Her mother is a psychic, and while Blue didn’t inherit her mom’s talents, she’s used to the paranormal invading her daily life. Every year, Blue accompanies her mom to watch those who are going to die in the next twelve months walk in the churchyard. But this year, something is different. Someone recognizes Blue and talks to her, a boy who says his name is Gansey. Though Blue doesn’t know who he is, she’s pretty sure this means one thing: This boy is supposed to be her true love, and she will be the cause of his death.
Blue soon finds Gansey and discovers that he attends a prestigious school called Aglionby. And everyone knows that the boys who go there are nothing but trouble. Still, she begins hanging out with Gansey’s crowd to find out more about this boy who is supposedly her true love. As a result, she becomes drawn into Gansey’s quest: to find the "ley lines," lines of power that are as ancient as the earth, and awaken an ancient king who is supposed to be sleeping among them.
The Raven Boys has a unique plot, to be sure. Stiefvater mixes the paranormal (Blue’s mother’s abilities) with the everyday (Blue’s interaction with the Aglionby boys), with something else entirely (Gansey’s search for Glendower, the king). It really shouldn’t work, but for some reason it does. The author finds different ways to draw readers in, and even if one storyline doesn’t appeal to you, another likely will.
The characters are the strong point of The Raven Boys. Blue’s a great teenage girl, strong and willful, and never loses her head over a boy. There is a shy romance line running through this book, and it’s actually really sweet. Gansey is completely unexpected. He’s spoiled and entitled, to be sure, but there’s also a depth to him that isn’t apparent at first glance. Stiefvater took her time with each of these characters, giving every single one of them their own personality. It makes it a lot of fun to get to know them.
What really makes The Raven Boys fun, though, is its unpredictability. When people hear “YA paranormal”, a certain storyline comes to mind. This is very different. The book starts off quite slow, which is surprising in this genre (or mix of genres). That’s not a bad thing, as Stiefvater takes her time developing her characters and plotlessness. Everything from the storyline to the romance to the pacing just isn’t what you’d expect, and that makes it a really great read. If you’re tired of the clichés in YA fiction these days, give this book a try. It will surprise you!
What's your favorite YA paranormal book?