Welcome to Teens Read Week!

Happy October and welcome to Teens Read Week! Teen Reads week encourages you to think and read outside of the box! If you aren’t someone who normally reads fantastical genres, seek out those fantasy, science fiction, and other out-of- this-world reads during the week of October 7th-13th! In the meantime I will be adding some reviews from paranormal, science fiction, and fantasy. To start off we will be discussing The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater, a paranormal romance. So, if you enjoy fortune telling and possibilities beyond the realm of our reality, this book might be the perfect book to pick up.

Synopsis: All her life, Blue Sargent has been told by her clairvoyant aunts and mother that if she kisses her true love, he will die.While Blue does not possess the gift of clairvoyance, she has the ability to amplify other psychics powers and on the night of St. Mark’s Eve, when those fated to die in the next twelve months walk through the church grounds, Blue sees a spirit, Gansey’s spirit in fact. Unfortunate for her, those without the power to see the dead only see the spirits of their true love, or the ones they are going to kill.
As fate would have it, Blue comes face to face with Gansey and his crew of Anglionby prep school friends and slowly begins to form a friendship with the four boys, joining in on Gansey’s wild quest to find the dead Welsh King, Glendower.
Gansey, on the other hand, has been on a mission to find the resting spot of Glendower for years, a mission that has consumed his life and defined his friendships.

Review: I will be honest, I tried to read the Shiver series (Maggie’s Steifvater’s first paranormal series) a while ago and it was not for me, so I had very little interest in The Raven Boys when I initially learned about it. Much like Cassandra Clare, I told myself I wasn’t going to waste my time on anything else by Maggie Stiefvater, but here we are, flying along on the hype train. Well, I read The Raven Boys and my initial impression is that it was much, much better than I expected, as a matter of fact, I highly enjoyed the ride.

Let’s discuss the negatives first, to get this out of the way. It took me a depressingly long time to get into this book and enjoy the story. Admittedly, I was so confused with what was happening that I began to dread the reading process, so I started listening to the audio book in order to get through the beginning quarter of the book (a solution I do not suggest, considering how completely horrendous the narration is, but it worked). Even so, the point of this hunt for a Welsh King was utterly lost on me, if not at times convoluted and irrational. I had the sinking feeling that I had just picked up another disappointing read thanks to my inability to exit the hype train.

BUT! Once I got a little over a quarter of the way in I realized that The Raven Boys is a book structured around characters and relationship, rather than this wild story line. There was never a question in my mind that the character development was top notch and intentionally the centerfold of this story. Even if I didn’t like a character, it was fun to dislike them, and I unexpectedly felt very attached to everyone I met regardless of likability. (But we all know that Blue and Noah are the GREATEST OF ALL TIME.) As I began to grow attached to these characters and understand that this story is not completely about the paranormal, the Welsh King, or this impossible quest, I began to thoroughly enjoy The Raven Boys, if not feel a sense of longing to be back with them when I stopped reading.

Maggie has a way of making you feel emotionally invested in each personality. I hurt when Adam hurt, felt giddy with Gansey, understood Ronan’s anger, and felt Noah’s emptiness. I am not sure the last time I felt so intimately connected to a character, let alone a whole slew of characters. So as the last quarter of the book approached and the drama began to amp up, I was hooked, I didn’t fully care what happened to this Welsh King, but I knew I wanted to see where this adventure took these characters.

Also, Maggie has a knack for cliffhangers…

While I initially thought the beginning half of this book felt unnecessary, after finish the entirety of the series now, I believe see the value in setting up these characters and relationship dynamics so thoroughly.
I gave this book a 4/5 stars!
Also, if you are interested in keeping updated on Teens Read Week remember to join the conversation on Twitter using #TRW18
–Stephanie, Assistant Teen Librarian