In THE RAVEN BOYS, not-so-psychic girl Blue sees a ghost for the first time, in form of local, rich,"raven boy" Gansey. The only way a non-psychic can see a ghost is when they are their true love, or were killed by them.
What intrigued me: Nagging friends trying to force me to read this.
Do we really need Blue in the story?
The concept in itself is interesting, well though-out and could very much hold my attention. I do love a good psychic story, the great base frame is absolutely overshadowed by the annoying characters. The main dilemma of the novel is that Blue can never kiss Gansey, because then he'll die. Simple solution: Just don't kiss him?!
I didn't really get why Blue was in this story in the first place. As a reader self insert I suppose. It would have been way more interesting to simply read about the raven boys themselves, since they are a on a far more interesting side quest themselves that involves a lot less annoying teenage romance angst. Gansey and his friends are looking for a ghost themselves and I wish the whole book would have just been about this, rather than awkwardly trying to mesh the two storylines. It'll probably all get explained and make sense in future sequels (which I will not read).
It would be absolutely unfair and a blatant lie if I were to say that this is a poorly-written book. The characters are very well-developed (even though you could argue about everyone's right to exist in the story). The writing isn't bad by all means, the entirety of it clearly planned down to every detail. But when reading this, you can't help but feel like it's trying to be something that it's not. Every sentence wants to hold a deep meaning so badly and could as well be splattered on a wall as an inspirational quote. Some people like that. I do not. I find it annoying and very difficult to endure to have a cast of characters that basically speak in Bukowksi quotes.
And even worse, narration like that throw you out of the story and makes you focus more on the foreshadowing and ~deep meaning~ than the actual story. I had a tremendously hard time trying to connect to the narrative, even understanding what's going on because of this. The plot moves forward insanely slowly, switching POVs so often that trying to read this equals an erratic carnival ride.
THE RAVEN BOYS didn't have a single character that even felt remotely like a real person. They are walking jars full of little quotes that someone thought up and then tried to weave a story around. Again, this isn't a reason to call this book bad, it's simply just not my cup of tea, and these kinds of novels will never be.
THE RAVEN BOYS has all the potential to be a masterfully-crafted novel with a literary feel that's more of an artwork than a book, but fails, simply because it's trying too hard to be exactly that.
Overall: Do I Recommend?
It's not my thing, but it would be downright mean, ignorant, and unfair to give this any less than three stars. I can't stand overly poetic writing just for the sake of it and I am not a fan of self-insert narrators that don't do much, aside from awkwardly swooning over their love interest.
My rating is mostly this high because of the craft aspect - Stiefvater definitely did paint an impressive world, but somewhere along the way forgot that the story has to entertain, too. Maybe you'll feel differently.
Published: September 18th 2012
Publisher: Scholastic Press
Genre: YA / Paranormal / Ghosts
"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." (Source: Goodreads)