The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater

17675462Title/Author: The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater

 

Genre: Magical Realism

Publisher: Scholastic

Summary: 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.

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I have SO MANY thoughts about this book. The first is that I loved it.

Before I dig into my in-depth thoughts, however, I’d like to point out the brilliance of the audiobook for this book. I listened to it for the vast majority of this book and it was pHeNoMeNaL. The narrator (Will Patton) was FANTASTIC. He did talk a bit too slow at times, but speeding it up to around 1.4x easily solved that problem. He read it with such an air of mysteriousness, and I loved his voice and the voices he used for the characters. I’m not sure I would have loved this a much as I did if I read the whole thing in book form. The narration style really added to the overall feel of the book, and every time I went back to plain ol’ reading it, I felt a little bit of separation anxiety from the audiobook. Yes, it was that good.

Okay, now to talk about the book part of the book. First thing’s first: the writing. It was at times queer and a bit not what I’m used to, but I felt that slight strangeness was refreshing and worked extremely well with the story. I love Maggie Stiefvater’s voice, and I think she did an especially good job with the atmosphere of the book. My favorite aspect would definitely be the imagery. The trees, the forest, Gansey’s old Camaro, and especially the trees that speak Latin… I just love that. I loved it all. The atmosphere was fantastic.

Going into the book, I honestly wasn’t expecting it to be so strange. Sometimes with unusual-ish books, I find them too weird to connect with, but in the case of The Raven Boys, the oddness made sense. It was the kind of odd that drove my curiosity, the kind that I wanted to know more about. I think a good part of this is due to the author and how she tells the story, because if the narration hadn’t been as good as it was, I probably wouldn’t have been able to click with this book.

Another aspect of this book that I adored was the dynamic between the boys (‘the raven boys’). All of them were interesting in their own way. There’s Gansey (who I find absolutely adorable), Adam (who’s cool, I guess), Ronan (who’s a great character with some amazing potential in the story), and Noah (who’s adorable–and has secrets of his own). I loved the dynamic of all of the boys together, and I especially loved how loyal they all were to Gansey.

And Gansey… my favorite of the bunch, for sure. He could be so clueless, so cute, but he’s obviously brilliant, too. I really loved his determination. I’ve decided I’m definitely a Gansey-and-Blue shipper (Blansey? Glue?… not feeling those ship names so much). Sorry, Adam… I mean, that thing where Gansey calls Blue Jane? I smile on the inside every. single. time.

Last but not least, let’s talk about the plot. At first it was confusing. I remember thinking, what the heck are ley lines?… and for that reason it took me a little while to get involved with the story. But once I surrendered to the fact of the ley lines and magic and mystery, I became completely wrapped up in the story. There was never a moment where I was bored because all of it–the characters, the ley lines, and the sleepy little town of Henrietta–was so captivating and interesting. It’s a book you really have to read in order to understand.

The pacing of the story never felt off, and the ending was just right. It was climactic, it was big, and although I was admittedly a bit confused at one point, I sorted it out.

I can always tell I loved a book when I just have a ton to say about it, but what can I say? I loved the book. If you’re even remotely interested in reading it, you definitely need to pick it up.

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5/5 stars. Duh.

xoxo,

Anna

Best Books Recommended to Me | Top 5 Wednesday

Yay! Another Top 5 Wednesday!! Top 5 Wednesday is weekly meme with a new topic to discuss every Wednesday, hosted by Lainey over at gingerreadslainey on Youtube. All you have to do is just talk about your top five books in that category! (Simple and fun, right?) If you’re interested in joining, feel free to check out the Goodreads group.

This week’s topic is books I’ve had recommended to me that I LOVE, so without further ado (from the least of the least best to the best best books)…

6. Starflight by Melissa Landers

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I never would have thought that a novel in space could have been something I ended up loving so much, but boy was I wrong! Starflight was just so, so much fun, from the amazing cast of characters to the steamy romance to just the entire thing.

5. The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater

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(I’ll be posting a review of this one SUPER soon, so watch out for it 🙂 ) I’m not sure I EVER would have picked this up on my own (At least, not before my days of bookstagram and book blogging…), but boy am I glad I did. I just loved everything about this novel: the tone, the characters, and the ever persisting mystery of it all. I definitely recommend the audiobook of this one. 🙂

4. Throne of Glass & A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas

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This goes to the whole series, really. Who knows if I would’ve picked this series up eventually, but I’m so grateful for all the bookstagram/booktube love that led me to this book. Since reading this book, I’ve recommended it to two of my friends who are now just as obsessed with it as I am. AGH Sarah J. Maas is just such a phenomenal author. (I’m also including A Court of Thorns and Roses (which I have a review for 🙂 ) here because ALL of Sarah’s books are amazing.)

3. Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins

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I mean, with the cheesy title and all, I don’t think I would have picked up this book if it weren’t for how much everyone on bookstagram, booktube, and even my friends irl love this book. But I have to say, I was SO happy when I finally picked up this book. It wasn’t all silly fluff like I expected: it had depth, actually plausible romance, and swoon-worthy guys and settings. I couldn’t ask for a more perfect contemporary. ❤

2. Salt to the Sea by Ruta Sepetys

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(I have a review for this one here, if you’d like to read it 🙂 ) Initially, I wasn’t super interested in reading this book. I had a case of “oh, it’s just another WWII book…” but boy, was I wrong. There was a ton of hype (specifically on bootube) around this book from ARCs sent out by publishers, but I wasn’t really interested in it until I went to one of Alexandra Bracken’s events (squee!) where she said she was currently reading it and bawling her eyes out. Obviously, if Alex (an author I really, REALLY look up to) loved it, I had to read it. And she was right, by the way. It was effing fantastic.

1. I’ll Give You the Sun by Jandy Nelson

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I don’t think I will ever, EVER, be more grateful for a book recommendation than when my friend recommended me this book. She just placed it in my hands and told me to read it, and I will love her forever for that ❤

(Okay, so I had to pick six books this week… There are just so many amazing books out there ❤ )

*Honorable mentions go to….* Passenger (because reading this book is what led me to meet Alex Bracken, who is just so amazing and inspiring) and The Hunger Games (because why not?).

Comment below with some book recommendations, or books that were recommended to you that you love! 🙂

xoxo,

Anna

Salt to the Sea by Ruta Sepetys

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“Killers aren’t always assassins. Sometimes they don’t even have blood on their hands.”

Goodreads Synopsis: 

Winter, 1945. Four teenagers. Four secrets.

Each one born of a different homeland; each one hunted, and haunted, by tragedy, lies…and war.

As thousands of desperate refugees flock to the coast in the midst of a Soviet advance, four paths converge, vying for passage aboard the Wilhelm Gustloff, a ship that promises safety and freedom.

Yet not all promises can be kept.

Inspired by the single greatest tragedy in maritime history, bestselling and award-winning author Ruta Sepetys (Between Shades of Gray) lifts the veil on a shockingly little-known casualty of World War II. An illuminating and life-affirming tale of heart and hope

This book was incredible. I laughed, I cried, and and most of all, my heart hurt but also filled with hope.

The most striking thing about this book, at least for me, is that the sinking of the of the Wilhelm Gustloff sinking was bigger than the Lusitania, bigger than the Titanic, and yet I had never heard a word about it before reading this. How? And the story which Sepetys was somehow able to craft around this terrible, dark event was somehow so beautiful. It completely grabbed me, and two days later, it still won’t let go.

One of the many incredible aspects of this story is how distinct each character is. Ruta did a really, really good job of giving each character its own unique voice. At first, I was thrown off by how short the chapters are (because the POV changed so quickly), but surprisingly, it didn’t turn out to be a problem. It took me a few chapters to figure out who was who, but it was actually really easy, and I always knew or could easily figure out who was narrating the chapter by the different ways the characters thought (*coughcough* unlike Allegiant *cough*). And not only were the characters distinct and unique from one another, but I cared about and loved (most of) them (although I’m pretty certain you’re not really supposed to like one of them). At the end of the book I found myself sobbing and wanting the characters to just come out of the book, if only so I could give them huge hugs and tell them that I know it’s not okay, I know it’s not. But I wanted wrap them in blankets to keep them warm, make them feel safe and know I care about them, that I am here to hear their story and to at least try to understand the terrible truths of the world.

As well as feeling a connection to them, I felt like I was going on the journey with the characters, not simply watching from afar. It feels that much more real, even if I can at no level begun to comprehend the horrible, horrible events and ideas of WWII. The one image that plays over and over in my mind is those women, throwing their babies at the ship as it sailed away, in the desperation to save those they love, to give them at least a chance. I can barely write this review, thinking of the blue bodies in the water, the red blood in the snow. Sepetys painted very real, very vivid images in my head that I still can’t let go. I will remember this book for a long time, and this will definitely not be my last novel by Ruta Sepetys. Yes, it was tragic. And yet, somehow, it was so hopeful. Chances are you’ll cry, but chances are you’ll also leave this book with a little light in your heart, a little hope to hold on to.

This book unquestionably deserves a 5 out of 5 stars.

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RAINBOWTHON 2.0 TBR

So I’ve decided to take part in my first read-a-thon!! The Rainbowthon 2.0 is hosted by Lainey, RileyJillian, and Kayla and is happening from February February 14th. I’m sooooo excited for this, because I never seem to catch read-a-thons on the right dates, or always come in too late. Thankfully, I have a four day weekend this weekend, perfect for powering through some of my tbr!!! 🙂

The goal of the Rainbowthon is to read 4-6 books relating to the colors of the rainbow: red, orange, yellow, green, blue, and purple.

There are several options on how to do this, so the rules are as follows:

  • Option A: choose one book from each color of the rainbow to read OR double up on colors per book (i.e, a cover that has both red and orange on it) and choose four books.
  • Option B: choose one color form the rainbow and read 4-6 books that feature that color (i.e, black books).

I’ve decided to go with option B, because as I was looking for books that I felt would be good for read-a-thonning, I realized that most of theones I was interested in were blue. Apparently I have a lot of unread blue books? 🙂

MY TBR

01. Me and Earl and the Dying Girl

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(We’re going to pretend this is the cover version I own, not the neon yellow one…) I started this one wayyyy back when the movie came out, but I ended up watching the movie before I finished it and just kind of abandoning it. I thought the movie was really great though, and the book (so far) has been hilarious, so I really want to finish it.

02. The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater

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Last May I started listening to an audiobook of The Raven Boys, but audiobooks aren’t really my thing, so it ended up being due back at the library before I finished it. I was intrigued by it though, and really want to get into the hype around this series 🙂

03. Falling Kingdoms by Morgan Rhodes

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I’m actually over halfway through this one because I’ve been reading it on and off for the past, like, two weeks! I just haven’t had the chance to be fully immersed in it yet (and to be honest, the incest-y thing between Magnus and Lucia–although I’m definitely suspecting they’re not siblings–is freaking me out a bit).

04. Frostbite by Richelle Mead

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I read and thoroughly enjoyed Vampire Academy back in November (the perfect blend of sexy, mysterious, and epic). Plus, I paid a total of $2 for the next three books in the series, so… definitely psyched about that 😛

And a bonus book for myself 🙂

05. The Museum of Heartbreak by Meg Leder

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I’m soooooooosososo excited to say that this is my first ARC, EVER!! I emailed Simon and Schuster about two weeks ago and requested a few books for review, and they sent me this one!!! I’m really pumped to read it because it just looks adorable, and exactly like the kind of short-and-sweet contemporary I’ve been craving lately. Also, the cover is effin’ gorgeous and adorable.

 

So there you have it! As you can probably tell, the majority of these are books that I got a good chunk into, but just put down for no particular reason. I’m really excited to finish them off and clear them out of the tiny space where they lurk in the back of my brain, waiting to be finished (you know the feeling). Although, knowing me, I’ll just start picking up any blue book I feel like reading halfway through the read-a-thon… so I would say this tbr is more of a rough estimate 🙂 Good luck to everyone else who’s participating, and (because it’s necessary) may the oods be ever in your favor!

xoxo,

Anna