Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Book Review: The Peculiar Night of the Blue Heart by Lauren DeStefano

I received a free e-ARC of this book from Netgalley and Bloomsbury in exchange for an honest review. 

Title: The Peculiar Night of the Blue Heart
Author: Lauren DeStefano
Publisher: Bloomsbury USA Childrens
Publication Date: September 13, 2016
Genre: Middle Grade, Paranormal
Length: 208 pages
Format: ebook
Source: Netgalley

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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. 

My Thoughts:
Lionel and Marybeth live together in a foster home with several other children.
 Marybeth is the quiet, well-behaved little girl who wears her hair in perfect braids on either side of her head and never gets under her foster mother's skin. Lionel on the other hand is less boy and more wild animal who spends all of his time outdoors. He and Marybeth have a very special friendship - sort of like brother and sister - so when Lionel tells Marybeth about the blue creature he's glimpsed, she is eager to be a little more like him and goes after it one stormy night. But she ends up almost drowning in the river and is found far away curled up in a barn. After that, Marybeth is not herself at all and Lionel is the only one to notice until she starts lashing out like a wild animal. Marybeth is convinced that the blue creature is now inside of her and she and Lionel must find out what it wants and how to get rid of it before it destroys their lives. 

This story was rather short but it took me almost a week to finish. It started out pretty slow, was pretty dull at times, and I felt like nothing really happened until the end. Some things were pretty repetitive and I didn't really like the direction that this story took.

As for the characters, I only really liked Lionel and he did a 360 in how he acted pretty early on in the book. I like the 'wild, nature loving boy'.  Marybeth didn't really stand out to me at all until things started happening and then it wasn't really her anyway.

I couldn't remember the foster mother's name and I think that says a lot about her character. I couldn't really pin her as nice or not for most of the book. She seemed like a mixture of strict but loving, but at the same time there is little evidence to either. At least nothing that really stuck with me until the end when she redeemed herself.

I love ghost stories (especially ones for kids) so I really wanted to like this but it fell really flat for me. I did enjoy the writing style and the slightly disturbing content. The ending really picked up in pace towards the end and made it more worthwhile. 

I do think young readers looking for a good ghost story or spooky read will enjoy this. By all means, don't let my somewhat negative opinion sway you from reading this. DeStefano's writing just isn't for me. 

My Rating: 3 stars


  1. I do like the cover of this one but it sounds like it's pretty unmemorable until towards the end. I think if this was YA I might be more inclined to give it a shot, but as an MG if it's not super distinctive maybe I'll wait on it. Nice review though, and too bad it didn't quite work.

    1. I've read one of this author's YA books before and really couldn't get into it either despite there being a lot of hype about it at the time. I was hoping that she might do better with middle grade. :(

  2. Aw, it's a shame that you weren't a fan of this one. I have it, so I was curious to see how much you enjoyed it. I'm still definitely planning to read it, but I'll have a bit lower expectations now.

    Nicole @ Feed Your Fiction Addiction