A few years ago I met Maggie Stiefvater, and my impressions were this: she’s smart, impossibly cool, idiosyncratic, funny, waifish, and intensely engaging. She’s a contradiction of things: an artist living in rural Virginia, with a passion for playing bagpipes and racing old cars.
I’m telling you this by way of introduction because her latest book--the first in a new series--is very much like her, in all the best ways. It’s set at a pre-Ivy League all-male boarding school in an impossibly small town in rural Virginia, Aligonby, where the boys are not-so-affectionately known as Raven boys. Four friends there--Gansey, a rich socialite with an affinity for an orange 1973 Camaro, who is trying to make something else of himself; Ronan, an Irish boy who went off the deep end after his father’s murder; Noah, the quiet one, who hangs around the fringes of the group; and Adam, a local scholarship boy whose homelife is not exactly pretty--are searching for a mysterious Welsh king they believe to be buried in the Virginia mountains. Their paths cross with Blue, the daughter of a psychic whose talent is for increasing the energy around her, making the supernatural world that much “louder”. She has also been told, since she was born, that she will kill her true love with her kiss. Obviously, that means she shies away from kissing anyone.
And when she gets involved with the Raven boys, things go from unusual to off-the-charts weird. In a good way. Stiefvater knows how to ratchet up tension: she will give us a bit of the story, from one person’s perspective, and just when it becomes interesting, she switches gears on us. But she does it in such a way that it continues to move the story forward, making it so you won’t want to put the book down. You can’t help but care about the characters (and I’m including the car in that; it’s as much a character as the people are) and their quest. Stiefvater also stays away from the tropes often found in YA fiction: there’s a bit of a romance, but nothing like the angsty love triangles. And her language is so gorgeous in its effortlessness; it’s simple and normal, and yet soars beautifully.
That’s just the long way of saying that, much like Stiefvater herself, this book is smart, impossibly cool, idiosyncratic, funny, waifish, and--most of all--intensely engaging.
— Melissa Fox
Fall '12 Kids List
“Blue has grown up in a house full of women psychics who have foretold certain death for her first love. She unwillingly becomes friends with a gaggle of boys, the Raven Boys, from the very expensive private school in town. They're on the search for a mythical king who is said to grant a wish to whoever finds him. Will Blue's ability to intensify the magic around them help on their quest or put them in danger? The Raven Boys will pull you into their thrilling journey.”
— Hannah Johnson-Breimeier, Next Chapter Bookshop, Mequon, WI
Every year, Blue Sargent stands next to her clairvoyant mother as the soon-to-be dead walk past. Blue never sees them--until this year, when a boy emerges from the dark and speaks to her.
His name is Gansey, 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 is on a quest that has encompassed three other Raven Boys: Adam, the scholarship student who resents the privilege around him; Ronan, the fierce soul whose emotions range from anger to despair; and Noah, the taciturn watcher 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 doesn't believe in true love, and never thought this would be a problem. But as her life becomes caught up in the strange and sinister world of the Raven Boys, she's not so sure anymore.
About the Author
Maggie Stiefvater is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of the novels Shiver, Linger, Forever, and Sinner. Her novel The Scorpio Races was named a Michael L. Printz Honor Book by the American Library Association. The first book in The Raven Cycle, The Raven Boys, was a Publishers Weekly Best Book of the Year and the second book, The Dream Thieves, was an ALA Best Book for Young Adults. The third book, Blue Lily, Lily Blue, received five starred reviews. The final book, The Raven King, received four. Her latest book is All the Crooked Saints. She is also an artist and musician. She lives in Virginia with her husband and their two children. You can visit her online at maggiestiefvater.com.
é “Stiefvater's novel, inspired by Manx, Irish, and Scottish legends of beautiful but deadly fairy horses that emerge from the sea each autumn, begins rivetingly and gets better and better . . . all the way, in fact, to best.” –Horn Book Review, Starred Review
é “Masterful...like nothing else out there now.” –Kirkus Reviews, Starred Review
é “A study of courage and loyalty tested…utterly compelling.” –Publishers Weekly, Starred Review
é “A book with cross-appeal to lovers of fantasy, horse stories, romance, and action-adventure, this seems to have a shot at being a YA blockbuster.” –Booklist, Starred Review
é “Up–On the sea-battered and wind-swept isle of Thisby, fall brings the famed and feared capaill uisce, or water horses, and with them, death . . . The author takes great liberties with the Celtic myth, but the result is marvelous.” –School Library Journal, Starred Review
“Stiefvater not only steps out of the young adult fantasy box with “The Scorpio Races” but crushes it with pounding hooves…. If “The Scorpio Races” sounds like nothing you've ever read, that's because it is.” –The New York Times Book Review
“Tactile world-building, an island full of compelling characters, and the budding romance between Sean and Puck all make for an unforgettable book that's quite unlike anything else out there.” –NPR Books
“With this beautifully executed drama, Stiefvater has established herself as one of the finest YA novelists writing today.” –Entertainment Weekly
“Tense, atmospheric, and utterly original.” –People Magazine