Cover image for The Raven Boys
The Raven Boys
1st ed.
Publication Information:
New York, N.Y. : Scholastic Press, 2012.
Physical Description:
409 p. ; 22 cm.
Reading Level:
HL 760 L Lexile
Though she is from a family of clairvoyants, Blue Sargent's only gift seems to be that she makes other people's talents stronger, and when she meets Gansey, one of the Raven Boys from the expensive Aglionby Academy, she discovers that he has talents of his own--and that together their talents are a dangerous mix.


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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.

Author Notes

Maggie Stiefvater is the author of the bestselling Shiver Trilogy (Shiver, Linger and Forever) and The Raven Cycle Series. She is also the author of a book in the Spirit Animals Series (Hunted). Her title Sinner made The New York Times Best Seller List in 2014. Maggie attended Mary Washington College, graduating with a B.A. in history. She is also an artist, equestrian, musician, and technical editor. She enjoys writing full time from her home in Virginia.

(Bowker Author Biography)

Reviews 6

Horn Book Review

According to legend, a medieval Welsh nobleman named Glendower vanished to avoid capture after the English defeated his army. Fast-forward to present-day Henrietta, Virginia, where four boys at exclusive private school Aglionby believe that Glendower is eternally sleeping and was brought over to the New World centuries ago along ley lines, "mystical energy roads that connect spiritual places." Friends Gansey, Adam, Ronan, and Noah have been searching for Henrietta's ley line, hoping it will lead them to Glendower. Local sixteen-year-old Blue Sargent also knows about ley lines because her mother is a psychic who channels their energy. When the four "Raven Boys" befriend Blue, her knowledge and unusual ability to heighten energy help them awaken the Henrietta ley line. What that action may mean for future installments is left unknown, except that as fate intertwines lives in a town where everyone is keeping secrets, there will be plenty of mysteries to solve and dangers to overcome. This first book alternates between several voices, initially difficult to follow, but as Stiefvater reveals more information about the characters, their motives, and the fantasy aspects of the novel, the narration technique becomes effective. However, Stiefvater's prose style falls flat in several noticeable places, and there are numerous typos that regrettably disengage the reader from the narrative. Still, the overall fast pace, intriguing concept, and plot filled with psychics and ghosts -- plus the unanswered questions at book's end -- will leave readers forgiving of flaws as they await book two. cynthia k. ritter (c) Copyright 2013. The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

School Library Journal Review

Gr 8 Up-For her whole life, psychics have been predicting that Blue would end up killing her true love. She's never particularly cared-until she meets Gansey. Her clairvoyant powers kick in at the same time, alerting her that he'll be dead within a year. Will Patton provides polished narration for the whole series. © Copyright 2016. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Publisher's Weekly Review

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.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

Booklist Review

*Starred Review* The latest from Stiefvater, author of the Printz Honor Book The Scorpio Races (2011), defies easy synopsis. Consider that it is the story of 16-year-old Blue, from a family of psychics though she herself is not one. However, she does have the gift of amplifying others' psychic experiences. Oh, and she has been told that if she kisses her true love, he will die. Then there are wealthy, handsome Gansey and his three friends, Adam, Ronan, and Noah, all of whom are Raven Boys, students at the prestigious Aglionby Academy. Gansey is obsessed with finding the body of the legendary sleeping king of Wales, Owen Glendower, using ley lines, invisible lines of energy that connect spiritual places. That a sinister someone else is also searching for the sleeping king adds chill-inducing danger to the complex and artful plot. Indeed, reading this novel is like walking through a tangled thicket and coming across one unexpected and wonderful surprise after another. In that respect, the book is marvelous, for not only is it filled with marvels but it is also a marvel of imagination and, more prosaically, structure. Rich, too, in characterization, this fantasy-mystery rises to the level of serious literature, leaving readers hungering for more. And more there will be, for this is the first volume of a planned quartet. Waiting for the next book in the Raven Cycle will indeed be a test of readers' patience. HIGH-DEMAND BACKSTORY: Stiefvater's readership grows with each book she puts out, and the 150,000-copy first printing hints that this might be her biggest splash yet.--Cart, Michael Copyright 2010 Booklist

New York Review of Books Review

MUCH of the drama of adolescence - the thrill of it, the pain - is about disengaging from family and finding that connection again, often elsewhere and in a completely different form. This simultaneous rejection of and yearning for human bonds is at the heart of Maggie Stiefvater's latest novel, "The Raven Boys," a well-paced neo-Gothic thriller about a teenage fivesome's search for the supernatural . . . and themselves. Though the title suggests a male focus, the book's most relatable (and reliable) character is a girl, 16-year-old Blue Sargent, the youngest member of a colorful matriarchy of small-town Virginia psychics. Unlike other heroines of young adult literature, who seem to regard boys with apathy, amusement or desire, Blue sees members of the opposite sex as opponents. Her rules, she says, are to "stay away from boys, because they were trouble," specifically boys at the local prep school, "because they were bastards." As the past tense of that previous passage - not to mention conventional narrative wisdom - suggests, Blue doesn't stay away from boys for long. In the midst of an extrasensory ritual with a visiting super-psychic relative named Neeve, she has a vision involving a young man named Gansey, who she later learns is a student at nearby Aglionby Academy, an Ivy League conduit and finishing school for the privileged (not to mention the exclusively white - Stiefvater's book is strangely devoid of people of color). At first, both Blue and the reader are put off by Gansey and his fellow prep-schoolers. Stiefvater amusingly skewers the arrogance and entitlement of these 1 percenters, questioning their basic usefulness: "The trust funds from their fathers had ensured that neither of them had to work for a living, ever, if they didn't choose to," she writes. "They were extraneous parts in the machine that was society." We soon learn, however, that these boys, these particular Raven Boys - as they are called, after Aglionby's mascot - are more than the sum of their "sharknosed" BMWs and summers abroad. They are on a mission to unearth a long-dormant path of energy under which lies a sleeping Welsh king who might help them save the world. (Sounds complicated? It is.) Although Blue has not been blessed with her family's gift for extrasensory insight, she has a talent for amplifying the energies and auras of others, and with the Raven Boys she finds herself not only accepted but appreciated. ("Blue never grew tired of feeling particularly needed, but sometimes she wished needed felt less like a synonym for useful.") Stiefvater, who has an assured and entertaining way with language, doesn't talk down to her readers, and she ably blends the mystical and the earthly, the primitive and the contemporary in a way that brings to mind the work of John Bellairs, J. K. Rowling, Lois Duncan and Stephenie Meyer. (As in Meyer's "Twilight" series, one of the primary plotlines here is the promise of a doomed love affair.) But Stiefvater's respect for her readers' intelligence - not to mention her obvious fascination with the archaic and the occult - sometimes gets in the way of her ability to tell a coherent story: with all the tarot card readings and scryings and dowsings, it's hard to know which way is up. Perhaps most glaringly, the book's one true antagonist is never fully fleshed out, which undermines the stakes Stiefvater has worked so hard to raise. But no matter how many befuddling scenes involving ley lines, Latin-speaking trees and sacrifices in haunted forests the author throws at us, "The Raven Boys" always comes back to family. And her depictions of how the normal and not-so-normal tensions within biological broods offer opportunities for the creation of different, perhaps more rewarding, relationships outside them, will be familiar to many. Ravens, after all, are symbols not only of the occult but of fierce allegiance. Just ask a certain someone imagined by Edgar Allan Poe. Anna Holmes is the founder of Jezebel .com and the editor of "Hell Hath No Fury: Women's Letters From the End of the Affair."

Kirkus Review

An ancient Welsh king may be buried in the Virginia countryside; three privileged boys hope to disinter him. Meanwhile, 16-year-old Blue Sargent, daughter of a small-town psychic, has lived her whole life under a prophecy: If she kisses her true love, he will die. Not that she plans on kissing anyone. Blue isn't psychic, but she enhances the extrasensory power of anyone she's near; while helping her aunt visualize the souls of people soon to die, she sees a vision of a dying Raven boy named Gansey. The Raven Boys--students at Aglionby, a nearby prep school, so-called because of the ravens on their school crest--soon encounter Blue in person. From then on, the point of view shifts among Blue; Gansey, a trust-fund kid obsessed with finding King Glendower buried on a ley-line in Virginia; and Adam, a scholarship student obsessed with his own self-sufficiency. Add Ronan, whose violent insouciance comes from seeing his father die, and Noah, whose first words in the book are, "I've been dead for seven years," and you've got a story very few writers could dream up and only Stiefvater could make so palpably real. Simultaneously complex and simple, compulsively readable, marvelously wrought. The only flaw is that this is Book 1; it may be months yet before Book 2 comes out. The magic is entirely pragmatic; the impossible, extraordinarily true. (Fantasy. 13 up)]] Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.



From The Raven Boys Blue Sargent had forgotten how many times she'd been told that she would kill her true love. Her family traded in predictions. These predictions tended, however, to run toward the non-specific. Things like: Something terrible will happen to you today. It might involve the number six. Or: Money is coming. Open your hand for it. Or: You have a big decision and it will not make itself. The people who came to the little, bright blue house at 300 Fox Way didn't mind the imprecise nature of their fortunes. It became a game, a challenge, to realize the exact moment that the predictions came true. When a van carrying six people wheeled into a client's car two weeks after their psychic reading, he could nod with a sense of accomplishment and release. When a neighbor offered to buy another client's old chainsaw if they were looking for a bit of extra cash, she could recall the promise of money coming and sell it with the sense that the transaction had been foretold. Or when a third client heard his wife say this is a decision that has to be made, he could remember the same words being said by Maura Sargent over a spread of tarot cards and then leap decisively to action. But the imprecise nature of the fortunes kept them from feeling complete. They could be dismissed as coincidences, hunches. They were a chuckle in the Wal-mart parking lot when you ran into an old friend as promised. A shiver when the number seventeen appeared in an electric bill. A realization that even if you had discovered the future, it really didn't change how you lived the present. The predictions existed in one world, and reality in another. They were truth, but they weren't all of the truth. Excerpted from The Raven Boys by Scholastic, Maggie Stiefvater All rights reserved by the original copyright owners. Excerpts are provided for display purposes only and may not be reproduced, reprinted or distributed without the written permission of the publisher.