The Raven Cycle Reread 1.21

Summary:

It’s time for Adam and Blue’s first date, complete with Gansey’s wealth, Ronan’s hostility, and Helen’s pilot license. If someone decides to take you out on a first date and the itinerary is not looking for the supernatural in the Virginia countryside, break up with them immediately. They clearly don’t understand what romance is.

Let’s start from the beginning. Adam walks to 300 Fox Way to pick Blue up, and, because Maura has absolutely no experience disciplining a child, Blue just walks out without telling anybody where she’s going or why. We can’t really call Blue’s behavior rebellious when it’s that easy, but it makes her feel cool, so let’s let her have this one. Rebellious Blue walks down the street with Adam, and we get a fun description of their outfits to explain why Blue feels uncomfortable. They don’t look like a couple, because Adam is dressed like a teenage boy and Blue is dressed like a punk rock grandma with far too much time on her hands. It makes her nervous, and self-conscious, and so she asks Adam why he wanted her number in the first place.

And here comes the cute part! Please remember to brush your teeth afterwards for cavity prevention!

 “I think you’re pretty,” he said.

When he said it, she heard his Henrietta accent for the first time that day: a long vowel and pretty like it rhymed with biddy

She felt like when she’d first read his card with the flowers. Weirdly undone. It was like his words had spun tight some sort of thread between them, and she felt like she ought to somehow ease the tension. “But thanks. I think you’re pretty too.”

He laughed his surprised laugh.

:)!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

We then get into the meat of the interaction: Blue is like, remember when my mom said she wouldn’t help you? Well I am here to do the opposite. And Adam is like: how do you know what we’re looking for? And Blue is like: lol funny story I found your friend’s journal at Nino’s and I kind of read the entire thing because I’m a curious gal and, well, here’s a map I drew!

Needless to say, Adam is instantly wary. We already know he’s suspicious of everyone, including Ashley, who they all (wrongly) assume is a blonde airhead, so it makes sense that Blue having the journal sets off alarm bells. But Blue tells him the truth, which is small and sad and endears her to Adam even more, because they always seem to be dealing with the same emotions.

“I’m the only person in my family who’s not psychic. You heard my mom; I just make things easier for people who are psychic. If magic exists, I just want to see it. Just once.”

It’s the whole truth, nothing but the truth, so help whatever diety Blue is choosing to swear on that day, and Adam believes her. The rest of the walk is pleasant and actually pretty cheesy, and it fits in pretty well with something I’d expect to see in a teen movie or some sort of Extra Gum commercial. Until the roll up to the lot of Monmouth Manufacturing and Blue discovers Adam was not kidding about the helicopter. It is real and she is standing in front of it and Gansey is running at her looking excited.

This part makes me laugh just because Steifvater seems to be under the impression that both Gansey and Blue need nice little OOTD paragraphs within the narrative so we can fully picture what a motley crew they make together. It’s like punk grandma meets L.L. Bean model, except L.L. Bean is trying to sell that ugly neon yellow polo that they have way to much of in their warehouse, and because Gansey is the hottest model they have he’s the one who has to take one for the team and wear the highlighter shirt.

Despite this, or maybe because of it, Gansey succeeds in making Blue feel small just by standing in front of her, which is inevitable and unfortunate. I really just want my kids to get along, but I understand why everyone has their reservations and I’m willing to wait the duration of one (1) helicopter ride for them to work it out.

The rest of this chapter is a series of necessary movements: Gansey gets his journal back, Blue climbs aboard the helicopter, they all strap themselves in, and Gansey introduces them to the pilot, who happens to be his sister, Helen. But before we move on, Stiefvater makes sure the feeling of Blue and her boys is clear:

When Gansey climbed in beside the pilot, she saw the he was grinning, effusive and earnest, incredibly excited to be going wherever they were going. It was nothing like his previous, polished demeanor. It was some private joy that she managed to be in on by virtue of being in the helicopter and, just like that, Blue was excited too.

Same here!!! I’m excited too!!!!!!!

Thoughts and Feelings:

The fact that this reread (by chapter) is now old enough to drink is wild. I thought I’d be bored of it by now but I’m still having so much fun so TAKE THAT, little voice inside my head that tells me I’m not good at sticking to things! And I’m glad I did keep going, because I put on a brave face during some of the beginning chapters to make them seem interesting, but they really were not. I don’t remember the beginning of the book being this slow—probably because I would devour the entire thing in one day, but that’s neither here nor there. I’m very excited that we are about to take to the skies and discover some mysteries.

I do have some beef with this chapter, which is not something I usually say but here we are anyways. Stiefvater’s dialogue is always so realistic and funny that I think I’m a little bit spoiled, especially when she gives me Blue and Adam calling each other pretty in their twin southern accents. But right afterwards, we’re given this scene:

Adam’s face melted into a grin, an expression so unlike his usual one that his features needed to completely shift to accommodate it. “So you don’t do anything quiet, do you?”

The way he said it, she could tell that he was impressed with her in the way men were usually impressed with Orla. Blue very much liked that, especially since she hadn’t had to do anything other than be herself to earn it. “Nothing worth doing.”

“Well,” he said, “I think you’ll find I do pretty much everything quiet. If you can be all right with that, I guess we’ll be fine.”

Here’s the thing: I was previously blinded by some very cute moments within this exchange. Adam’s face rearranging its whole structure to smile at Blue? Descriptive, sad, goddamn adorable. Blue realizing Adam likes her because she’s being herself? Very wholesome, the young adult content we need but don’t deserve. But the last line—my God, the last line—is cheesiness to the extreme. Only an old man, perhaps named Gansey, would say something so simply self-aware. Most of Adam’s problems come from the fact that he can’t stand to look at himself objectively different from other people, and so the fact that this is thrown out for the sake of some cookie-cutter opposites attract line is incredibly frustrating. It ruined the whole dialogue for me, which sucks because the rest of it is very well done.

Moving past that, I love Gansey’s need to wear neon clothing at all times. I love the romantic close-talking Adam needs to use with Blue when they’re close to the helicopter. I love that Adam hates flying and Blue has never done it and Gansey is bored of it and yet they’re all excited to get up in the air and do academic research that wasn’t assigned to them by a teacher. This feeling of discovery and camaraderie really is the heart of this book, and Stiefvater delivered.

Best character moment:

“I’ve never flown,” she confessed to Adam, a shout to be heard over the whine of the helicopter.

“Ever?” Adam shouted back.

Blue shook her head. He put his mouth right against her ear so that she could hear him. He smelled like summer and cheap shampoo. She felt a tickle go all the way from her belly button to her feet.

Best turn of phrase:

And he had to yell. Now that it was running, the blades of the helicopter didn’t so much roar as scream. Air beat against Blue’s ears, more feeling than sound.

Action: So they’re on the helicopter, but it has yet to take off. We’re halfway there. 5/10

Magic: Absolutely no magic here, good or bad. Just a nice discussion about how Adam doesn’t believe in it and Blue doesn’t have access to it. 2/10

Comic relief: A large deal was made about the fact that Gansey was holding organic apple juice and it was an important character trait, which is the only kind of comedy that matters to me. 8/10

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