Publisher's Note:  

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.

From New York Times bestselling author Lauren DeStefano comes a haunting tale of friendship, love, and the magic of childhood . . . and what lies beyond. Just right for readers of Serafina and the Black Cloak.

This book was sent to Compass Book Ratings for review by Bloomsbury Children's Books

The Peculiar Night of the Blue Heart

by Lauren DeStefano

Review Date:

Recommended Age:

Overall Rating:

Profanity / Language Rating:

Violence / Gore Rating:

Sex / Nudity Rating:

Overall Review:  

A creepy, paranormal mystery that will have you on the edge of your seat and flipping pages as fast as you can read them--that is the best way to describe Lauren DeStefano's latest novel, The Peculiar Night of the Blue Heart. It is difficult to say that much about the novel without giving too much of the plot away--it is that well-written.

Marybeth and Lionel are two orphans who have become unlikely friends. Where Marybeth is calm and quiet, Lionel is wild and unruly. Until she isn't and he can't be, which is when the strength of their friendship is tested in an unlikely way. As they help each other realize just how much they really do need each other, their friendship is strengthened and therefore they are better able to help each other in this unusual predicament they find themselves in.

The Peculiar Night of the Blue Heart is a perfect mix of creepy, paranormal and mystery, which just might be why it is such an appealing novel to read. It's creepy, but not so much so that is comes off unrealistic or too frightening. There's just enough paranormal to give the reader goosebumps rather than rolling their eyes in unbelief. The mystery keeps the reader guessing to the end. All this makes this is an excellent novel if you want to feel the shivers without being afraid to go to bed. That being said, although the characters themselves are rather young (9 years old) and it says this novel is recommended for ages 8-12, I would say this would only be a good recommendation for readers that are mature enough to handle the paranormal creepiness of this novel. It really is an excellent read, but some in that age group just might not be ready for such a novel.

Content Analysis:  

Profanity/Language:  None 

Violence/Gore:  Mention of cutting off a turkey's head with an axe; character almost drowns; character, not of their volition, bites another person, drawing blood; character describes how they are possibly being controlled by something else; character, not of their volition, tries to bite someone so that they restrain the character by grabbing their arms; description of character being controlled by an external force (creepy scene--9 accounts); character, not of their own volition, scratches the face of another person; character describes how they wanted to do horrible things with an axe, but was able to stop themselves from acting; character breaks things on purpose to get attention; character restrained to a bed by having their arms and legs tied to the bed posts; character digs up the remains of a human; character dreams about how another person had been murdered; secondhand account given of how someone had died; character mentions how their father would get drunk and abuse them and their mother and having it gone so far has having killed their mother.

Sex/Nudity:  None

Mature Subject Matter:  

Paranormal, death of parents (children are orphans), child abuse, murder.

Alcohol / Drug Use:  

Character mentions how father would get drunk.

Reviewed By Sally
No image available