Jennifer Pickrell

YA Writer

YA Book Club – The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater


(description from Goodreads)

There are only two reasons a non-seer would see a spirit on St. Mark’s Eve,” Neeve said. “Either you’re his true love . . . or you killed him.”

It 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.


For starters, I love the pearly cover – I kept shoving it in my husband’s face and asking, “Isn’t it pretty? So shiny!”

You can imagine the looks he gave me.

The first chapter was beautiful, haunting, and sad – it pulled me in and let me know I’ll probably be heartbroken at some point in the series.

Once I got into Chapter 2, it took me a moment to get used to the POV switch, but I appreciated it more and more as the book went on. It really works, especially since the book is in 3rd person. I can’t imagine it any other way.

There are a lot of characters, and I did have a bit of information overload early on, but they’re so well-written that I quickly became immersed in their world and formed opinions.

If I got pulled into this circle, I’d spend most of my time cowering with Noah, secretly loving Ronan, trying to figure out Gansey and not-so-secretly expressing my distaste for Adam.

I’d avoid Neeve at all costs.

I’d like Maura, Calla, and Persephone, but be freaked out by them in the same way everything supernatural in the book freaked me out. I think I may have mentioned once or twice (or 1,000 times) that I’m easily spooked. And the book taking place in Virginia, near an Interstate I’ve actually driven on in real life…

Now I’m convinced that if I go into the woods, all kinds of unexplainable things will happen.

I don’t want to give away any spoilers, so I’m going to be vague about the moments that especially gave me a chill:

The card reading that started on 137

The situation with Neeve starting on 166

What happened with Noah, starting on 274

This is a slower-paced book, but I think it has to be, because there is so much going on and a lot of questions still left to answer in the next books: Ronan’s father’s secret, Ronan’s raven, Blue’s father, Neeve’s departure, and, you know, that whole thing that happened at the end.

There are a lot of series that I think, “sure, I’ll read the next books at some point,” but I think I may be in the bookstore on launch day for the 2nd one of The Raven Cycle.

What about you? Have you read this book? What did you think? Come join the YA Book Club discussion!


Author: Jennifer Pickrell

I write YA contemporary filled w/ romance, angst & family drama. Things I like: cats, snacks, baseball, green tea, taking pictures of trees & movies so bad, they’re good.

21 thoughts on “YA Book Club – The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater

  1. Let me just say that I also secretly love Ronan. He was such a great character! And I agree about Neeve–so creepy. I remember getting to Chapter 29 with Noah and actually setting the book down and going “Whoa.” I can say that this was about the point where I was officially creeped out (but in a good way). I loved the descriptions, the atmosphere, the characters, and just about everything about this book and like you, I’ll be at the bookstore on launch day for Book 2! 🙂

  2. Oh how I loved Ronan. You know, I don’t dislike Adam and I started out really liking him, but by the end, yeah, he was my least favorite—even before the whole ley line thing. I just had a hard time liking him when he was being so mean to Gansey because of that thing.

  3. Secretly loving Ronan… YES! I’m not usually drawn to the “bad boy,” but Ronan was just SO damaged. I believed in his pain, and I also believed in his absolute loyalty to the other boys — that made him irresistible. And yes, Noah… I had a feeling something was off about him, but when that whole reveal when down… Whoa. Well play, Maggie Stiefvater. Well played.

    • Haha, that’s how I felt about the Noah situation, too. Well played! And if Ronan were real, I would definitely clash with him and maybe that’s part of the appeal – according to my hubby, I’m argumentative 🙂

  4. I agree that this is one of very few series books for which I can’t wait for the next one. I love the environment that was created: the detailed small-town Henrietta combined with a creepy and mystical atmosphere.
    I’m also a little obsessed with ley lines now.

  5. Haven’t read it, but I’ve noticed a lot of people blogging about this one and saying good things. Nice review!

  6. Like you, I’m easily spooked. I read most of this book really late at night and the part about Noah completely freaked me out. Should have seen that one coming too because the author left a lot of clues. I was opposite on my perspective of the boys. While I enjoyed Ronan, Adam was actually my favourite. I think both characters acted out in ways that were realistic considering what they’d been through. That’s the thing about this book–the characters were all so believable and easy to invest yourself in. I can’t wait to have all those questions answered either and I’ll definitely be in line to get book two the moment it hits the shelves!

  7. I’ve heard good things about this one… I’m just so hesitant to get wrapped up in a series! I’m the most impatient person in the world.

  8. Awww, see, I actually really love Adam. But I love the other boys the same. Ronan was the hardest for me to love but I have a hunch he may wind up being what I call my “secret favorite”–a character who presents as prickly to horrible but it’s because of a trauma or something similar that explains the behavior and just makes me love him/her so much more. Certainly the trauma is there for him, and based on the last line I feel like the next book may feature Ronan more strongly. I still feel like I’m getting to know him.

  9. I need to read this. I’ve only read one Stiefvater book, Shiver, which I enjoyed. This one sounds amazing.

  10. I totally skipped this month’s book. I know the point of a book club is trying new books, but I read SHIVER earlier this year and I just really disliked it. I couldn’t even finish it, which is incredibly rare for me. Everyone is raving about this book though, so maybe I will give Stiefvater a second shot and try either this or SCORPIO RACES…

    • Yes, give her another shot 🙂 Her later books are nothing like Shiver – no werewolves in sight! But be warned that the pacing is fairly slow in the Scorpio Races and The Raven Boys, so I understand how they’re not everyone’s taste.

  11. Pingback: My Five Favorite Reads of 2012 « Jennifer Pickrell

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