The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater

raven boysBibliographic Information:

Stiefvater, M. (2012). The Raven Boys. New York: Scholastic Press. (978-0545424929)

Raven Cycle, #1

Plot Summary:

Blue is the daughter of the town’s clairvoyant. Unfortunately, she does not have the same gifts, although she does have the power to amplify the gifts of others. This is why she goes with her mother to the churchyard every St. Mark’s Eve, the night the soon-to-be dead walk past.

For the first time she sees one of the spirits who speaks to her. Later, she finds out that he is one of the Raven boys, a student at the prestigious private school Aglionby. Although she has made it a policy to stay away from Aglionby boys, Blue is drawn to Gansey and is soon deeply involved in his quest to find the ley lines which, legend suggests, are somewhere in the area.

Gansey comes packaged with an interesting set of friends including Ronan, the rich snob with a conflicted spirit always up for a fight, Adam, the scholarship student who desperately wants to belong but always feels inadequate because of his lack of funds, and Noah, who is always on the periphery – there and watching but rarely participating.

Together they will try to solve a mystery and become part of something bigger.

Critical Evaluation:

It goes without saying that characters are an intrinsic part of any well written story. There are some stories, however, that are more rooted in character development and the interaction between the characters than others. Raven Boys is this type of novel.

There are several plots lines woven through the novel based on each of the characters. Stiefvater made a great decision when she decided to share the point of view between her main characters. Gansey and Blue appear, at this point to be the warp threads in the tapestry. Adam, Ronan, Noah, and Blue’s family, particularly her aunt and mother, are the weft threads. The main characters interact and help develop the main plot line but they are also acting and reacting to their own circumstances that are separate from the primary plot. It will be interesting to see how the main characters develop through the rest of the cycle.

The paranormal also plays a major role adding colour and mystery to the tapestry.

Reader’s Annotation:

Blue meets Gansey for the first time at night on St. Mark’s Eve in a churchyard. Actually, she met his shade, which is not good since,”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.”

Information About the Author:

Maggie Stiefvater is a musician who plays several instruments including the bagpipes. She is also an award-winning colored pencil artist and a calligraphy instructor. Finally, she is now a full-time writer.

Maggie is the mother of two children and, as she says on her website, “four neurotic dogs who fart recreationally.”

Although Stiefvater gained a loyal following with her Shiver trilogy and Books of Faerie, she started receiving literacy accolades with the publication of Scorpio Races and Raven Boys.

Please see her website for more information.


  • Fantasy novel
  • Paranormal fiction
  • Mystery

Curriculum Ties:

  • English – myths

Booktalking Ideas:

  • Read the part where Blue sees Gansay’s shade in the churchyard.
  • Watch the book trailer by Maggie Stiefvater from her blog :

Reading Level/Interest Age:

  • Ages 12 and up
  • Reading level 5.4

Challenge Issues:

  • N/A

Why did you include this resource in the titles you selected?:

I really enjoyed Scorpio Races and hoped that Stiefvater’s writing would be similar in this book. I enjoy when author’s build their stories on the literary foundation of the myths of generations past.


  • The Raven Boys. (2012). Kirkus Reviews, 81.

“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.”

  • Chomomaz, E. (2012). The Raven Boys. School Library Journal, 58(10), 151.

“The Raven Boys is an incredibly rich and unique tale, a supernatural thriller of a different flavor. The cinematic feel paces the novel well, and the many pieces of the story unfold with grace. The complicated relationships between the Raven boys and Blue are not of the standard main character/love interest variety’ and makes the curious plot all the more enthralling.”

  • Cart, M. (2012). The Raven Boys. Booklist, 108(22), 66.

“Indeed, reading this novel is like walking through a tangled thicket and coming across one unexpected and wonderful surprise after another.”


Raven Boys. (2013). Retrieved from


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