Best Fiction for Young Adults (#BFYA2022) Featured Review of The Seventh Raven by David Elliott

Cover Art

The Seventh Raven by David Elliott
HMH Books for Young Readers/Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Publication Date: March 16, 2021
ISBN: 978-0358252115

Once upon a time, there were seven brothers. Six of them were named Jack, like their father. They were rowdy, bold, and brash, like their father. But the seventh son was unlike his brothers. He was quiet and thoughtful, and his name was Robyn. Jack and his wife loved their sons, but they wished for a daughter, and when their dream came true, they were happy. But April was sickly and dying, and Jack cursed his sons in anger, turning them into birds. The six brothers were sad and confused and wanted to return to their lives. But Robyn was not like his brothers. As a raven he felt like he was finally free. When April grows up, she learns about her brother’s curse and sets off on an adventure to bring them home. 

This eerie and powerful novel in verse takes on the lesser known Grimm’s tale “The Seven Ravens.” With alternating narrators and haunting verse, Elliott builds a strong sense of place and is really able to capture the essence of the original fairy tale. The use of different types of poetry lends each character their own voice, and the author’s note at the end is a nice addition about poetry and tone. There are also slightly eerie illustrations by Rovina Cai (Elatsoe) that add an extra element to the story.

The Seventh Raven is great for fantasy and novel-in-verse fans alike. It’s an easy sell to fans of other David Elliott books like Bull and Voices, and fairy tale retellings like The Broken Wish by Julie C. Dao and Poisoned by Jennifer Donnelly.

— Shelbie Marks 

Other Nominated Titles

  • The Electric Kingdom by David Arnold (February 9, 2021)
  • The Surprising Power of a Good Dumpling by Wai Chim (November 10, 2020)

The Selected Lists teams read throughout the year in search of the best titles published in their respective categories. Once a book is suggested (either internally or through the title suggestion form), it must pass through a review process to be designated an official nomination. 

Each week, the teams feature a review of one of the officially nominated titles. Additional titles to receive this designation are listed as well. At year’s end, the team will curate a final list from all nominated titles and select a Top Ten. The previous years’ lists are available on The Hub.