Have you ever felt like absolutely no one understands you and where you come from? Does the prospect of getting close with the opposite gender make your hands go clammy? Then you'll definitely relate to Blue Sargent, the main character in Maggie Stiefvater's The Raven Boys.
Blue is not your typical teenager. She wears weird clothes, keeps to herself, and hates going to school—and no, she's not a hipster. She is, however, a girl from a family of real live psychics who have warned her throughout her life that if she kisses her true love, he will die. Well that's a bummer.
It isn't all loneliness and gloom, though, and the book—which is the first installment in the four-part Raven Cycle series—centers on Blue and a group of preppy boys from the local private school who she comes to help with their supernatural quest to find a long-buried Welsh king.
Yes, you read that right.
But just because this is a supernatural teen saga in four parts does not mean that it's the next Twilight, however. The Raven Boys is light on romance and heavy on mythology, violence, and general creepiness—Blue's attraction to cute boys is the least of her worries, and she doesn't even kiss anyone. You know, because of her pesky fate and all.
Stiefvater may write for teens, but her books are never fluffy, and they don't follow a simple boy-meets-girl storyline. Her well-known books, like the Wolves of Mercy Falls series, are full of dark, brooding characters and sinister themes. Even if romance is part of the story, it's never simple with Stiefvater running—er, writing—the show, and The Raven Boys, published in 2012, is no exception.
Now without further ado, Shmoopers, please get ready to suspend reality in 3… 2… 1…
Look, it's true: The Raven Boys is a book in which a bunch of teenagers go exploring and find things like talking trees, magical energy roads, and a place where they can walk through all the seasons in the space of a couple hours. It's all so fantastical that it doesn't seem like it'd have anything to do with your life, right?
That's where you'd be wrong. The characters in The Raven Boys are struggling through the same stuff that every single young adult does—that is, they're all trying to find their place in the world.
Gansey may seem like the guy who has it all, but he just wants to forge his own path to greatness without having to live in his father's very big shadow. And Blue, the main character, just wants to be special. If you've ever felt like everyone else in the world has something that makes them special except for you, then you'll definitely understand how Blue feels. Her whole family is made up of people with psychic abilities, and she can't tap into that magical world at all. She's just an ordinary teenager, trying desperately to be extraordinary at anything.
So if you've ever felt like you needed to set yourself apart from the crowd, but didn't know how to do so, then this is certainly the book for you. Settle down, crack open the cover, and maybe—just maybe—you'll find yourself in these pages.
The Official Source
Read all about Maggie Stiefvater, the Raven Cycle, and anything Raven Boys-related that your heart desires.
Reliving High School
In this interview with Maggie Stiefvater, we get to hear all about her high school years and what she was like as a teenager.
Maggie Stiefvater reveals to readers that she too, loves the Camaro, and that she's a fast driver—so watch out, and fasten your seatbelts.
Preview the Magic
Check out the animated trailer for The Raven Boys. Is that how you imagined Gansey and Blue to look? Also: Stiefvater did the animation and the music.
Frequently Asked Questions
Watch an interview with Maggie Stiefvater and learn more about why she's writing about paranormal activity and where she gets her ideas from.
Music to Your Ears
Don't you wish that books had a soundtrack? Well, this one does. And Stiefvater wrote it herself. What a slacker…
Listen to the Trees
The trees speak Latin in The Raven Boys… and you can listen to the wood-pulp pages of the book, too. Just download the audiobook version.
The Raven Boys has a dark cover for an appropriately dark and mysterious book.
Maggie Stiefvater's headshot makes her look like a heroine in one of her own teen novels. Maybe they're all based off of her own life.
There's plenty of fan art surrounding The Raven Boys floating around the Internet. Does this look hunky enough to you?