September 21, 2016 • Cee • Reviews

The Peculiar Night of the Blue Heart by Lauren DeStefano •  September 13, 2016 • Bloomsbury USA Childrens
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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.


I received this book for free from Bloomsbury for review consideration. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

First sentence: “Lionel was a wild boy.”

Meet Lionel, a boy who acts more like an animal than a human, and Marybeth, a girl who is amiable and follows every direction given to her. You wouldn’t expect these complete opposites to get along, but they do. At this orphanage, they have nothing but each other.

In The Peculiar Night of the Blue Heart, Marybeth becomes possessed by a mysterious blue spirit who is wary of everybody and keeps acting out. Lionel and Marybeth set out to figure out what has gotten ahold of Marybeth and how they can keep Marybeth from fading away.

  • The friendship in this make my heart so full.

At the heart of The Peculiar Night of the Blue Heart is the friendship between Lionel and Marybeth. They are fiercely protective and loyal to each other. You won’t see Lionel without Marybeth trailing behind him and vice versa. They keep each other grounded. They will do whatever for the other. It fills my heart with so much love.

  • The mother figure isn’t treated like a villain.

Most parental figures are either non-existent in the child’s life or portrayed as someone who’s very mean and unreasonable (at least in the eyes of the child) in books. Mrs. Mannerd, who runs the orphanage that Lionel and Marybeth lives, is strict, but cares deeply for the children at her orphanage even if they cause her problems. She’s not villainized, which I liked.

  • Something happened to this blue spirit.

A blue spirit has possessed Marybeth. Why? Readers will be taken on a journey as Lionel and Marybeth try to figure out how to get rid of the blue spirit and what the blue spirit wants and why its so afraid. It may have something to do with the barn that the blue spirit keeps taking Marybeth to. This mystery will have readers wanting to know more about what happens.

  • The Peculiar Night of the Blue Heart is not as dark as its predecessor, The Curious Tale of the In-Between.

I know many people had issues with The Curious Tale of the In-Between because of how dark and creepy it was. The Peculiar Night of the Blue Heart is not as dark or depressing as the other book. Yes, it explores dark topics like death and abuse and possession, and I felt slightly creeped out by what happens. However, I never felt like young readers would find it overly scary (to the point of nightmares) or not be able to process these topics.

Should you read The Peculiar Night of the Blue Heart? Yeah. What you get in The Peculiar Night of the Blue Heart is a dark and slightly-scary Middle Grade book about the friendship between a wild boy, Lionel, and a sweet girl, Marybeth, and the blue spirit that possesses the girl. These two friends race against time to figure out how to rid of the blue spirit before it takes over Marybeth. It’s sweet, but also slightly creepy and not memorable.


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