lady_ganesh hooked me up with some really good stuff: Maggie Stiefvater's YA series The Raven Cycle. This consists of
- The Raven Boys (finished!)
- The Dream Thieves (finished!)
- Blue Lily, Lily Blue (finished!)
- The Raven King (still reading, unlikely to finish tonight)
Also, apparently some extra-story authorial snippets exist (I only just discovered this while checking the titles of the main series).*
In the little town of Henrietta is a posh boarding school called Aglionby. The mascot of the school is a raven. Eccentric local girl Blue, the scion of a houseful of psychic women (including her mother, Maura), thinks Aglionby boys are nothing but trouble. Local wounded-at-the-core boy Adam is attending the school on scholarship; he has managed to become best buds with the charming and earnest Gansey (that's his last name), whose circle also includes the tough-but-brittle bad boy Ronan. And then there's Noah, who shows up somehow at the off-campus digs that Gansey and Ronan share in an old factory.
Gensey is obsessed with the local ley line, which he thinks will lead him to the tomb of the Welsh hero Owen Glendower. The others are drawn into his search—including Blue, who starts out as somewhat of a mascot but becomes something much more. There are dreams, magic, terror, and lots of fast cars.
Parts of this seem to be the love child of Alan Garner's The Owl Service and the better "After-School Special" types of teen novels, but it's very involving and tremendous fun. The writing has some weaknesses, especially when Stiefvater seems to be marking time until she can get to the Good Bits, but she's very good at action sequences and the spookier parts are truly chilling.
This really make me think of an expansion of The Owl Service, with rural central Virginia (possibly a bit north and west of Charlottesville, where I attended uni) standing in for Garner's remote Welsh valley, and an expanded cast. Adam has Gwyn's class issues and touchiness (complete with the accents they are both trying to lose), and Gansey has Roger's level-headedness (with the exception of the former's obsession with Glendower). Blue is Allison when the latter is not possessed; Noah is the possessed half. Ronan is so hugely awesome that I can't fit him into the tghter structure of Garner's book. ;-)
Also, these kids fall in love much more realistically than most teens in books. And we end up with a het couple and a gay couple, from the looks of things.
So ... this is not as long as I meant to make it, but it's bedtime. ANYWAY — don't spoil me. We can talk about it more in a couple of days, if you like.