Review: Blue Lily, Lily Blue

17378508There is danger in dreaming. But there is even more danger in waking up.

Blue Sargent has found things. For the first time in her life, she has friends she can trust, a group to which she can belong. The Raven Boys have taken her in as one of their own. Their problems have become hers, and her problems have become theirs.

The trick with found things though, is how easily they can be lost.

Friends can betray.
Mothers can disappear.
Visions can mislead.
Certainties can unravel.

Oh gosh, THIS SERIES. I love it. It’s actually become one of my favorite fall-ish things, because A) I’ve been reading the Raven Cycle since the first book was released and B) they’re always released in the autumn. For the past several years I’ve known that I’ll read at least one AMAZING book during these months. Thanks, Maggie Stiefvater.

Well, that’s enough intro. Let’s jump right into the review!

This review is spoiler-free!

So. Blue Lily, Lily Blue. Where do I even start?! I guess I’ll just… pick a random aspect of this book and go from there. I apologize if this review jumps around from topic to topic.

This is definitely Adam’s book.

The Raven Boys focused on Gansey and The Dream Thieves was about Ronan, and now it’s Adam’s turn. And this might be the only part of this book that I don’t completely love, because I’ve never been a huge fan of Adam. I mean, I don’t hate him or anything. I don’t even dislike him. I’m just sort of… apathetic towards him? Especially after book two, because RONAN IS JUST SUCH A VIVID CHARACTER. Adam is decidedly not vivid; it’s just not part of his personality.

Also, this raises the question of who will be important in the final book. I’m guessing it’ll be Blue, but then she’s not a Raven BOY. Is it Noah? Maybe. A dead narrator wouldn’t be the weirdest thing this series has had, and Noah’s death is tied up with Gansey’s life anyway.

FRIENDSHIP. Friendship everywhere!

You probably already knew this, but: I’m picky about love stories, especially in YA.

Well, this book has romance, but only a tiny amount. It’s very understated and lovely, even now in the third quarter of the series when it’s started to become more important to the storyline.

Also, Blue Lily, Lily Blue talks a LOT about a different kind of love. Platonic love, AKA friendship! From the very beginning, this has been one of my favorite aspects of the series. There aren’t enough awesome friendships in YA fiction, and even fewer between large groups of friends (versus, say, two people).

This quote really sums it all up:

‘”You can be just friends with people, you know,’ Orla said. ‘I think it’s crazy how you’re in love with all those Raven Boys.’

Orla wasn’t wrong, of course. But what she didn’t realize about Blue and her boys was that they were all in love with one another. She was no less obsessed with them than they were with her, or one another, analyzing every conversation and gesture, drawing out every joke into a longer and longer running gag, spending each moment either with one another or thinking about when next they would be with one another.

Blue was perfectly aware that it was possible to have a friendship that wasn’t all-encompassing, that wasn’t blinding, deafening, maddening, quickening. It was just that now that she’d had this kind, she didn’t want the other.”

The stakes have been, predictably, raised in this book.

It’s almost the end of the story and THINGS ARE GETTING REAL. Or not real, as the case may be. Um. That doesn’t count as a spoiler, does it?!

I don’t want to give away any important plot details, so let’s just say that OH MY GOSH I DID NOT SEE SOME OF THOSE TWISTS COMING AND WOW I’M SAD NOW UGH WHY.

Maggie Stiefvater is an extraordinarily gifted writer and I am JEALOUS.

Her plots are highly inventive, and her characters feel like my best friends.

But mostly? I am in love with her writing style. How do you do it, Maggie?! She’s just… gah. She’s great with timing, for example. She always knows the perfect time for a plot twist, and she has AMAZING comedic timing as well.

And this is just one of the many things that sets the Raven Cycle head and shoulders above its YA cohorts: The story is lighthearted and heartbreaking all at once. You never really know what’s going to happen next. Will it make you laugh or cry?

Want some examples? Well, a serious one can be found above; I love that quote about friendship.

This quote, meanwhile, made me crack up and go WHY, MAGGIE, WHY:

“The Gray Man said, ‘If you are going to dismantle my life anyway, there’s no motivation for me to not just kill you and Piper right now.’

‘Talk dirty to me,’ said Greenmantle. ‘Like old times.’

And here’s another serious one:

“There was something unfamiliar about him. Something ferocious about his eyes, some sort of bite in his faint smile. Something altogether hectic and unsettled. She stood on the ledge of his smile and looked over the edge.”

And here’s one more. I apologize for inundating you with quotes, but THEY’RE AWESOME. This one reminds me of… myself. (And my family agreed.)

“Blue was not so much a terrible driver as a terrified one. Because she had not, as Jesse Dittley pointed out, eaten her greens, she had to adjust the seat as close to the pedals as possible. She clutched the steering wheel with the grace of a performing bear.

Everything on the dash shouted for her attention. Lights? Speed! Air on face? Air on feet! Fuel-oil-engine! Strange bacon symbol?

She drove very slowly.”

That is me. THAT IS LITERALLY ME.

-~-

This review is close to a thousand words long now, so I’d better wrap it up. Was Blue Lily, Lily Blue everything I expected? Yes. And then some more. Look, I’m picky about books. I critique even the ones I like – I think doing so has made me a better writer – and as I’m reading I mentally pull apart the book and analyze each aspect of it. This results in a LOT of three-star ratings, if even that.

But this series is different. I’m continually surprised that Maggie Stiefvater isn’t better-known. I haven’t even read all her books (I still have six left! I look forward to them!), but the ones I have read are far, far better than… than, well, just about anything else in YA. She’s, like, a writing superheroine. Blue Lily, Lily Blue is definitely one of the best books I’ve read in 2014. Well done, Ms. Stiefvater!

Rating: 5/5

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About nevillegirl

Elizabeth, University of Iowa class of 2019. Double majoring in English & Creative Writing and Journalism. Twenty-year-old daydreamer, introvert, voracious reader, and aspiring writer. Passionate about feminism and lesbian positivity.
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20 Responses to Review: Blue Lily, Lily Blue

  1. Julia says:

    I loved the previous books in this series and I just got this one in at the library today. I CAN’T WAIT TO READ IT OH MY GOSH.

  2. Artgirl says:

    Ughhh I have been to the library six times in the past month and every time, every time, they have only the SECOND book in that series. The second, not the first. I’d reserve it but I don’t always know if I’ll be able to come pick it up at the library when it’s available. But that writing style.
    …I think I’ll just reserve it.

    • nevillegirl says:

      Yeah, that’s what I do with books that never seem to be in at the library when I’m there. 🙂 Maggie Stiefvater’s writing is amazing; you should definitely try it.

      • Artgirl says:

        I am (admittedly) unfairly skeptical of YA, which is weird since I read a substantial amount of it, but if the book merits a 5/5 from you then I’ll for sure have to try it.
        I like the whole platonic love focus. I’m trying to focus more on platonic love in my current NaNovel, but also some of my characters just really enjoy having casual sex, and I want to portray that in a positive light too because it seems like in most books it’s either “We’re the best friends in the world” or “we’re totally in love but our relationship is screwed up” or “we’re so meant to be” and that’s okay but it isn’t for everyone. Most of the examples I see of purely physical relationships, or physical relationships between friends as opposed to partners, have a more negative connotation or fall into the flirtatious trope. I want to do something to combat that while also having a lot of platonic love, so I’m still working on that juxtaposition.

    • nevillegirl says:

      No, no, I don’t think it’s unfair to be skeptical of any genre even if one does read a lot of it! I read a ton of YA and give most of the books average ratings, but I don’t stop reading YA because… let’s be honest, I give most books average ratings, regardless of genre or intended audience age.

      Ooh, that does sound interesting! 🙂 I haven’t read many YA books with a focus on platonic love, so this book was much appreciated…

      • Artgirl says:

        I think it’s just that it’s so easy for adults to write poorly because they’re writing for a younger audience, and sometimes I dislike the genre because of all the condescension in the overused stereotypes. But there’s certainly wonderful YA books and authors out there.

        Yeah, after you get past books aimed at elementary schooners everyone’s always a love interest. I appreciate platonic love stories (and platonic group love stories because sometimes it’s so easy just to focus on two people) and we need more of them. But one of the problems with the way romance is currently written is that it’s always all about the One. And it’s okay to write about that because many people have feelings like that, but relationships are so much more varied than that.

    • nevillegirl says:

      Definitely! God, I hate that. It shouldn’t matter who you’re writing for – it still has to be GOOD. And if you’re writing for children, you shouldn’t talk down to them either.

      I’ve noticed that too! There are a TON of YA stories where someone has never had a boy/girlfriend before and all of a sudden they have one and it’s the right person for them and they live happily ever after.
      …and maybe that happens to a few people, but it’s just unrealistic to think that the majority of people will end up paired off at the age of, like, 14. Or even at 18. I wish there were more stories where someone falls in love with someone else, breaks up with them, and realizes that it wasn’t necessarily a bad or worthless relationship, it just wasn’t right for them. Like, it was nice while it lasted, but the other person just wasn’t THE ONE.

  3. Okay, as much as I couldn’t stand the first two books (I like to think my Dream Thieves review got that point across, anyway…), your review has got me a /little/ excited for this one – although I don’t want to let myself look forward to it too much, because the friend who recommended the books to me in the first place told me that the Dream Thieves was SO much better than the Raven Boys. I disagreed. But maybe there’s a chance this one will redeem the series…

    Though if this one is focused more on Adam, then there may be no hope – I don’t like him much. In fairness, I don’t really like any of them, perhaps excepting Ronan and Noah.

    • nevillegirl says:

      Ehehe, that’s awesome! I’m glad you liked the review.

      Hmmm… I loved both books, but for VERY different reasons. I mean, The Dream Thieves was, well, dreamlike and surreal and a bit darker and I can see how some people wouldn’t like that…

      Really, Noah? I haven’t been too interested in him since book one because then we found out who he was. xD

      • I mean, it’ll probably be a while until I actually get it, because I don’t want to spend money on something I might not like… I saw it the other day on offer, but decided “nah” and got Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy instead xD

        I couldn’t get into the first book until the end (not because it was finished, I swear!), so I was looking forward to the sequel… But found it even worse than teh first :/ I mean, there were points I liked (mostly revolving around Ronan), but for the most part I didn’t like it at all. Don’t get me wrong, I like thing that are dark, just this didn’t cut it for me

        I can see that, but I just like him, and the way he interacts with Blue and Ronan – there’s just something kinda sweet about him, I think. And considering I hate just about everyone in that book, that’s a high compliment indeed XD

    • nevillegirl says:

      That sounds like an excellent alternative. xD I saw the movie version of Hitchhiker’s Guide not too long ago and it was pretty good. ❤

      The Raven Boys IS a tough book to get into…

  4. Pingback: Quarterly Rewind, Fall 2014 – Movies, TV Shows, Senior Year, And An Awful Lot Of Reading | Musings From Neville's Navel

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  6. Mo says:

    OH MY GOSH I FINALLY GOT TO FINISHING THIS
    AND WAS PROUD OF MYSELF FOR ACTUALLY BEING ABLE TO COMPREHEND IT ALL GIVEN MY DIFFICULTY WITH THE LAST BOOKS
    BUT I FEEL SO ASHAMED THAT I PROBABLY HAVEN’T EATEN MY GREENS
    um. yes. well. hi.

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