The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater
Publisher: Scholastic Press
Publication Date: September 18, 2012
Buy It: Amazon / Book Depository
"There are only two reasons a non-seer would see a spirit on St. Marks 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.
This book captured me completely. I cracked it open to read a chapter or two before bed and subsequently buried my face for the next two days. I was a little skeptical of this book at first, to be honest, but for the life of me now I can't remember why.
This novel is peppered with characters that are so three-dimensional you'll have a hard time remembering that they're fictional. I fell in love with all of them, from brave and genuine Blue and her eccentric household of psychics (a motley assembly of amazing women with their own secrets and bonds) to Gansey, the leader of the Raven Boys, who holds everyone together with his contagious convictions regarding a mystical quest.
You know from the moment that Blue sees Gansey on the Corpse Road that their fates will intertwine, but it's the way that they intertwine that is so wonderfully surprising. The friendships between Adam, Ronan, Gansey, Noah and (after a fashion) Blue are imperfect; there are misunderstandings, tension, anger,and social and financial disparity but at the heart of it all are a group of people who you know will always have each other's backs. They are all flawed, they encourage one another to rise above their flaws, and they accept one another regardless. This is the type of friendship we all aspire to and are envious of.
As far as the plot goes, there's something for everyone: danger, premonitions, action, a little romance, quips, interesting family dynamics, and a quest that Indiana Jones would have been jealous of.
I was expecting, perhaps, more run of the mill tropes recycled in a hundred other YA novels but I have to say that this one definitely stands above the rest and declares itself King of the Mountain (or Queen. I'm not sexist). The way that Stiefvater weaves these stories together, while at the same time maintaining the integrity and personalities of each of the individual characters involved is masterful. These people reach beyond the pages of the book until you are certain they are all hidden away in some mystical little town somewhere, whispering their tales in Stiefvater's ear.
I loved, loved, LOVED this book and if you haven't read it I would definitely suggest moving it to the top of your to do list. Ten billion stars!!! (not that I actually use a rating system)