The Peculiar Night of the Blue Heart by Lauren DeStefano

The Peculiar Night of the Blue Heart by Lauren DeStefano

The Peculiar Night of the Blue Heart   
by Lauren DeStefano
On Sale Date: September 13, 2016
Juvenile Fiction \ Fantasy & Magic
Bloomsbury USA Childrens, 208 pages
Source: Publisher
My Rating: 4 Stars
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Lionel is a wild boy, who doesn’t much like to be around other people. He’d rather be a purring cat or a wolf stalking the woods.

Marybeth is a nice girl. She doesn’t need to be told to comb her hair or brush her teeth, and she’s kind to everyone at the orphanage . . . Lionel most of all. 

Different though they are, Lionel and Marybeth are best friends in a world that has forgotten about them. So when a mysterious blue spirit possesses Marybeth—and starts to take control—they know they must stop it before the real Marybeth fades away forever. 

The Peculiar Night of the Blue Heart by Lauren DeStefano is a heart-warming tale about a ghost, two nine-year-old orphans, and the power of friendship. 

 Lionel is a wild child at heart most at home in the forest surrounded by animals, the ones he much rather be than just an orphan boy.  Marybeth is a sweet and kind girl, one who brushes her teeth and combs her hair without complaint.  Everyone at the orphanage adores her, yet it is the oddly charming Lionel whom she cares for the most. 

When a strange blue creature in the forest begins to take over Marybeth's spirit, Lionel knows he must help his friend before it is too late.  With each passing day, Marybeth’s and the strange blue creature spirit seem to become linked, and Marybeth is having a hard time keeping her human qualities separate from the wilder ones of the forest creature.

The mystery behind the strange blue creature propels the plot while the everyday elements of the orphanage ground this lovely story. Young readers are sure to find a bit of themselves in Lionel and Marybeth. The ending delivers a nice finish for this compact story if a bit short.

Eerie and touching, DeStefano creates an appealing story for both adults and children.  Themes such as bullying and abuse are skillfully interwoven along with the supernatural and mysterious, making this a good choice for mature, middle-grade readers and a touch point for parent and child to read together.