{YA Book Club is the brainchild of writer/blogger Tracey Neithercott.
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October’s YA Book Club selection is: The Raven Boys by Maggie Stievfater

The Raven Boys (Raven Cycle, #1)

From GoodreadsIt 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.

I’ll start by saying that I liked The Raven Boys more than Maggie Stiefvater’s Shiver trilogy, but quite not as much last year’s The Scorpio Races.

The Raven Boys is a strong novel, one with beautiful prose, a dark, atmospheric setting, and unique, complicated relationships. The mystery element intrigued me, and the unique world of Tarot cards, ley lines, and ages-old magic kept me turning pages. The only thing The Raven Boys didn’t have was Sean Kendrick.

(If you don’t know who Sean Kendrick is, please stop reading this blog post, pick up the nearest copy of The Scorpio Races, and open it immediately.)

You know how in life we’re indifferent about most people, we like some people a whole lot, and we  come to love a special few? Well, for me, books are similar. Many are pleasant yet unremarkable. Then there are a few I make lasting connections with. Books I adore despite possible flaws. Books I know inside out and still can’t get enough of. The Scorpio Races is one of those books. I love it deeply, and I still think about it even a year after reading. It’s difficult not to measure books of similar moods and genres to Scorpio. It was especially difficult not to measure The Raven Boys against it, considering The Raven Boys is the first book Maggie Stiefvater has published since Scorpio‘s release.

So, when I compare The Raven Boys to The Scorpio Races, The Scorpio Races comes out on top. Truth. But that’s not to say I didn’t enjoy every page of The Raven Boys. It’s a brilliant story.

Even though they’re not Sean Kendrick, the boys of Aglionby are fascinating (Ronan is my favorite — Chainsaw FTW!), and their relationships are incredibly complex. I found the dynamic between Gansey and Adam captivating. Blue is mesmerizing too, the kind of girl teenagers can look up to, I think. The product of an unconventional upbringing, Blue is  strong and determined, yet thoughtful. In fact, I’ve come to believe that the creation of compelling and clever female protagonists is one of Maggie Stiefvater’s greatest strengths.

The Raven Boys: A definite recommend if you haven’t read it yet. I’m very much looking forward to its follow-up, thanks in particular to the (incredibly chilling!) admission from Ronan regarding Chainsaw on the last page…

Tell Me: Have you read The Raven Boys? How do you think it measures up to Maggie Stiefvater’s other novels?

(And don’t forget to drop by Tracey’s blog to see what other YA Book Club participants thought of The Raven Boys!)