The Peculiar Night of the Blue Heart

The Peculiar Night of the Blue Heart

by Lauren DeStefano

Paperback(Reprint)

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Overview

From New York Times bestselling author Lauren DeStefano comes a gorgeous tale of friendship found and fought for against a haunting danger. It's just right for fans of Serafina and the Black Cloak.

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.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly

07/18/2016
In a moving story about the lengths children will go to help a friend, Lionel and Marybeth live in an orphanage run by Mrs. Mannerd, a kindly widow who never had children of her own. Lionel, who thinks of himself as a “wild boy,” would prefer to be an animal (any animal) and spends most of his time coaxing woodland creatures to feed from his hand. Marybeth, quiet and obedient, trails behind him, hoping to better understand why Lionel prefers the company of animals. When a strange blue creature, which Lionel believes to be a fox, inhabits Marybeth’s body, it’s up to the wild boy to tame his inner impulses and figure out the very human reason the blue creature refuses to let go of his best friend. DeStefano (A Curious Tale of the In-Between) again explores the spirit world in an engaging and sometimes frightening way. As the mystery unravels, she incorporates difficult subjects that include murder, abuse, and grief, handling them in a straightforward manner that readers will appreciate. Ages 8–12. Agent: Barbara Poelle, Irene Goodman Agency. (Sept.)

From the Publisher

"The plot, replete with buried bones, a terrible house of punishment for "problem" children, and more, will keep kids reading all night long (albeit with the lights on). DeStefano is no stranger to atmospheric middle-grade books, and is impressively amassing work that rivals that of older authors known for scary mysteries, such as Mary Downing Hahn and Zilpha Keatley Snyder." - starred review, Booklist

"Themes of belonging, loss, and what it means to be human underscore the tight storytelling and add depth. Touching and creepy." - School Library Journal

"A moving story about the lengths children will go to help a friend. . . DeStefano again explores the spirit world in an engaging and sometimes frightening way." - Publishers Weekly

"Spooky yet heartfelt." - School Library Connection

"The idea that things that can be okay even if they’re not perfect is carefully and deeply explored, giving readers a chance to ponder this important concept. . . . Offer this to readers who appreciate ghost stories with plenty of character development." - BCCB

"Anyone who’s ever wanted to unravel a family mystery with the help of two friends—one living and one dead—will be charmed by this tale and its plucky heroine, Pram." - Kate Klise, author of DYING TO MEET YOU on A CURIOUS TALE OF THE IN-BETWEEN

"The lovable characters, the mystery of the ghost, and the deep friendship between the two children will lead middle graders back to the author's A Curious Tale of the In-between (2015) and have them counting the days until her next book." - Kirkus Reviews

"The perfect book to hand to readers looking for the mysterious and spooky." - Booklist on A CURIOUS TALE OF THE IN-BETWEEN

"Readers will be hooked from the first line of this lyrical and suspenseful mystery/fantasy (part thriller too). . . . a moving and multilayered tale. . . . Love, loss, and hope are at the heart of this exciting read." - Kirkus Reviews on A CURIOUS TALE OF THE IN-BETWEEN

"DeStefano creates a beguiling world through haunting images and descriptions. . . . An eerie, moving story." - Publishers Weekly on A CURIOUS TALE OF THE IN-BETWEEN

"Dark but often funny. . . . Fans of Holly Black’s Doll Bones may well enjoy this creepy, character-based tale." - The Horn Book on A CURIOUS TALE OF THE IN-BETWEEN

"DeStefano’s vivid prose is both evocative and immersive. . . . Thematically haunting and skillfully executed." - BCCB on A CURIOUS TALE OF THE IN-BETWEEN

"I dare you not to fall in love with Pram, a young heroine who is as gutsy as she is compassionate. Lauren DeStefano has created a touching and unforgettable glimpse into the world of the spirits." - Ellen Potter, author of the Olivia Kidney series and THE HUMMING ROOM on A CURIOUS TALE OF THE IN-BETWEEN

School Library Journal

06/01/2016
Gr 4–6—Lionel doesn't act much like a nine-year-old boy. He'd like to be a lion or a bird instead of an orphan in the home of Mrs. Mannerd. The only person he likes in the world is Marybeth, the other nine-year-old at Mrs. Mannerd's. Marybeth's even temper, sweet nature, and infinite patience have bonded her to the wild boy. But when Marybeth follows a peculiar blue animal into the woods one night, she comes home with a dark creature hiding under her skin. As Marybeth descends into wildness, Lionel must save his only friend and heal the wounded being that possesses her. DeStefano writes with a spare, elegant style, telling a complete story in just over 200 pages, a rare feat. Themes of belonging, loss, and what it means to be human underscore the tight storytelling and add depth. The origins of the blue creature are dark and harrowing, with subtle implications of sexual violence, likely to fly over many readers' heads. Marybeth's eerie transformation into an unworldly creature and Lionel's epic struggle to protect her from evil drive the fast-paced plot. The speed of the storytelling leaves little room for detailed explanations, and the action moves too swiftly for lingering questions. VERDICT Touching and creepy. Give this one to fans of Mary Downing Hahn.—Elisabeth Gattullo Marrocolla, Darien Library, CT

Kirkus Reviews

2016-06-01
This middle-grade fantasy thriller stars two orphans, Marybeth and Lionel, and depicts their trouble with a powerful and determined ghost."Lionel was a wild boy. Sometimes he forgot he was a boy at all." On the other hand, "Marybeth was a very normal girl, with dark hair that she wore braided into pigtails, and round spectacles with red metal rims." Despite their differences, the two white 9-year-olds are firm friends. They escape from the six older, mean orphans in the little red house presided over by the stuffy Mrs. Mannerd by going into the woods nearby, where Lionel sees a blue something that he thinks is a fox. Later, Marybeth sees the mysterious blue light—and is possessed by it. Increasingly frightening events ensue, as they try to discover what the ghost (for that's what it is) wants Marybeth to do. Precise details and humor at the outset will engage readers' attention, while tension and suspense will keep those pages turning once they are hooked. The depictions of the children and their guardian as well as of the house and landscape bind the realistic elements of the story together while providing an anchor for the fantasy. The lovable characters, the mystery of the ghost, and the deep friendship between the two children will lead middle graders back to the author's A Curious Tale of the In-between (2015) and have them counting the days until her next book. (Fantasy. 9-11)

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781619636453
Publisher: Bloomsbury USA
Publication date: 06/06/2017
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 224
Product dimensions: 5.54(w) x 8.19(h) x 0.62(d)
Age Range: 9 - 11 Years

Customer Reviews