The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater

If you go by the blurb on the back, The Raven Boys is a paranormal romance about a girl who can never kiss her true love, and what happens when she meets him.

Anyone buying the book on that basis will be disappointed. There are no kisses in this novel, no declarations of undying love, and only hints and slow developing relationships that might turn into something in the future.

And it's fantastic.

The Raven Boys is a story of many things. It's the tale of a screwed-up bunch of friends and the rich boy who struggles to keep them all together. It's the tale of that rich boy's obsessive quest to find the body a mythical Welsh king, who is said to give a wish to anyone who finds him. And it's the tale of a mundane girl in a family of psychic who sees a spirit for the first time, and sets out to discover what it might mean (the hints, from her psychic relatives? Either he's her true love, or the man she kills. Or, more likely, both). The result is a great paranormal mystery/adventure, with incredibly compelling characters and real emotional depth. I didn't always like all of the characters, but I certainly wanted to stay with them and see what would happen.

Unfortunately, it does fail to have much in the way of female friendship, or friends at all for our protagonist Blue before she meets the four titular "Raven boys." But this is somewhat balanced out by the fact that Blue is otherwise such a well-developed, interesting character, and the fact that the book features that rare beast, friendship (and not romantic tension) between guys and a girl.

The only other downside is that the book is the first in a trilogy, and it is really aware of that fact. Don't expect complete resolution as you finish it... just a "for now" kind of ending and the desperate desire to get your hands on book 2. But it is definitely an excellent winter read.