Module #8: The Raven Boys

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Summary:
Blue has been told since she was very young that she will kill her true love.  While watching the ghosts of the soon-to-be-dead walk through churchyard endowed with tremendous spiritual energy, she’s drawn to  one spirit, a mysterious boy who speaks directly to her,  “Gansey, that’s all there is.”  She undergoes a quest with the real Gansey and his three Raven Boys, all students at the prestigious Aglionby Academy, to unearth the powerful ley line and unlock the mystery before someone else beats them to it. 

APA Reference:
Stiefvater, M. (2012). The raven boys.  New York, NY:  Scholastic Press.

 

Professional Review:
Fiction * The Raven Boys Maggie Stiefvater Scholastic Press, $18.99 (416p) ISBN 978-0-545-42492-9

By grounding this new series in what might be called everyday weirdness–a rich teenager’s obsession with legend and glory, a shabby household of female psychics with a pay-per-minute hotline–Stiefvater (TheScorpio Races) avoids the burden of building a seamless alternate world, instead saturating our reality with magic. Haunting, distinctly individual characters are at the forefront: Blue, an outsider in her own home because she isn’t clairvoyant; Gansey and his posse of misfits, who lack any sense of home and seek meaning elsewhere; and Barrington Whelk, a Latin teacher with a secret. Gansey and his fellow “ravenboys” attend exclusive Aglionby Academy–itself out of place in working-class Henrietta, Va.–and Blue’s goal is to avoid them at any cost. She can’t, of course, but Stiefvater doesn’t rush this inevitability. Hopes, fears, quirks, and forebodings gather gradually, coalescing as living portraits. It’s a tour de force of characterization, and while there is no lack of event or mystery, it is the way Stiefvater’s people live in thereader’s imagination that makes this such a memorable read. Ages 13-up. Agent: Laura Rennert, Andrea Brown Literary Agency, (Sept.)

The Raven Boys [Review of the book The raven boys]. (2012). Publishers Weekly259(31), 67.

Impressions:

My “BFF” Maggie and Me at NCTE12

After devouring Stiefvater’s series The Wolves of Mercy Falls, and her 2011 Printz Honor Book The Scorpio Races, I–and much of the YA-obsessed world–waited eagerly for the release of her “boy” series.  Our patience was dually rewarded with this spectaculary, multi-dimensional ensemble story of a band of misfits and their supernatural quest.  Much like in The Scorpio Races, Stiefvater deftly crafts a world based in realism with supernatural or mystical elements.  Her prose is so well crafted that the reader forgets where the realism ends and fantasy begins.  Whether it be ley lines, psychics, and deadly rituals or mythological man-eating water horses,  her books do not leave the reader on the outside edge looking into a fantasy. 

The ensemble cast of characters truly makes this a “character-driven” novel.  Although at times I found myself doubling back and re-reading following abrupt perspectives to the story, I appreciated each character’s unique history, puzzles, and purposes for the quest.
I’m very eager to continue on with Blue in her boys in the next installment.

Favorite moments:
“She recognized the strange happiness that came from loving something without knowing why you did, that strange happiness that was sometimes so big that it felt like sadness.”

“When Gansey was polite, it made him powerful. When Adam was polite, he was giving power away.”

“I guess I make things that need energy stronger. I’m like a walking battery.”
“You’re the table everyone wants at Starbucks,” Gansey mused as he began to walk again.
Blue blinked. “What?”
Over his shoulder, Gansey said, “Next to the wall plug.”

“Where do you live?”
Adam’s mouth was very set. “A place made for leaving”
“That’s not really an answer.”
“It’s not really a place.”

“My words are unerring tools of
destruction, and I’ve come unequipped with the ability to disarm them.”


Library Uses:Both The Raven Boys and The Scorpio Races would make for an excellent bridge between readers who typically enjoy realistic fiction into the fantasy genre.  Host a “meet the author” event featuring a new author who has made a strong impact in their genre.  Show trailers, provide book talks for participating classes, and invite students to explore Maggie Stiefvater’s website for behind the scene videos into the making of her book trailers for a unique perspective on digital storytelling (www.maggiestiefvater.com).


Stiefvater created her own trailer for The Raven Boys


Behind the scenes look at creating the music for The Raven Boys book trailer.
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