The first and last lines of Maggie Stiefvater's The Raven Boys are amazing. "Blue Sargent had forgotten how many times she'd been told that she would kill her true love." It's a great first line. It's not just saying that she will kill her true love, but she's been told and told so often that she's lost count. She's so frightened of this fact (because this is a fact to her) that she doesn't date and will not even kiss a boy, love, like or nothing. I won't include the last line. It gives away too much. I feel like it sums up the tone of the entire novel.
I was riveted. I enjoyed the book from the beginning, but something happened about halfway though and I couldn't put it down. It think it's when Blue and the Boys' stories really merge. I had to know what happened next. Some of the situations seemed a little far-fetched, but I didn't care. I pushed those thoughts out of my mind and dived deeper into the story.
I appreciated the inclusion of a real life, bad situation. It was woven in to the supernatural stories of Blue and the Boys, but it also stood out. It was real and the reactions of the characters I found appropriate to how I imagine teens would react. I hope that was vague enough. I don't want to give anything away, but I thought the reality put up against the quest was grounding.
The characters are what made the story for me. The boys and the women in Blue's house were two very different groups, but how they felt about each other is similar. I liked their relationships. I think their friendships are natural and believeable. (Except for the surprise from one of the boys. I did not see that coming; I loved Noah.) I liked that a boy saw a girl and wanted to talk to her. I liked the stuff that happened right before they talked. It seemed like something that probably happens all the time.
One thing I'm having a bit of a hard time with is that Blue has no girlfriends. Not one. It's not that she's a nerd or unpopular, she's just weird... Stiefvater addresses it in the context of the story, but really? That's the reason? There's not one other weird person at her whole school? Not even just a study partner? I know she has her mother and the other women in the house and I know they're all psychic, but they're her mother's age... It's fine. A friend would just complicate the plot, I suppose.