The Peculiar Night of the Blue Heart

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Book Information
Rating: Excellent
Reading/Interest Level: Intermediate, Young Adult
Author: Lauren DeStefano
Publisher: Bloomsbury
Year: 2016
ISBN: 1619636433
Pages: 208

Lionel is a wild boy who’d rather spend time with animals than humans. Marybeth is the only exception. A quiet, well-behaved child, she follows Lionel around and is the only one that he listens to. One night, Marybeth wakes up to see a blue, glowing light. She ventures off alone to find out what it is, but falls into the river. The blue creature jumps inside her, saving her life, but also living within her. Marybeth is never quite the same after that, as the blue creature often takes control of her body. Lionel watches her and tries to gain the blue creature’s trust. Together, Marybeth and Lionel hope to find out what the blue creature wants so that it will leave Marybeth’s body. Eventually, Lionel discovers on a neighboring farm the remains of a little girl buried in the barn. Shortly after, Marybeth is brought back home and they are able to solve the mystery of the blue creature’s past. Once satisfied, the blue creature leaves Marybeth’s body and Lionel finally gets his friend back.

This book was very intriguing and makes the reader want to see the mystery’s resolve: what is the blue creature, where does it come from, what does it want? Appropriate for older elementary school kids, this book is not too difficult to read, but does include some intense moments in the plot line. One of the main characters attacks another child, a murder is experienced briefly through the victim’s eyes, and some other mildly intense parts when Marybeth is possessed by the blue creature may make it less enjoyable for younger children. The story is well-written, and DeStefano develops the characters in ways that makes the reader empathize with them and become invested in their story. Many characters have complicated pasts that unfold along the way, helping to better understand their behaviors. These lovable characters and their histories cause you to ponder what it really means to be human.

*Contains moderate violence