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 (The Scorpio 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 “raven boys” 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 the reader’s imagination that makes this such a memorable read. Ages 13–up. Agent: Laura Rennert, Andrea Brown Literary Agency. (Sept.)
Reviewed on: 07/30/2012
Release date: 09/18/2012
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