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.
Description taken from Goodreads.
As short as this story is, I think it could’ve been a little shorter.
That aside, this is definitely one of the best middle-grade novels I’ve read this year. It has this sleepy quality to it, in the next way possible. I loved DeStefano’s writing throughout the novel, from the world to the descriptions to the underlying humor in some scenes.
Oh, and the relationships in this story.
Middle-grade friendships tend to drive me crazy because they can be fragile or ridiculous. Sometimes I get sick of how shallow they are, and very few middle-grade books make me think wow, this is it is to love someone.
The Peculiar Night of the Blue Heart did that in a way that was strange and lovely and utterly magical. I loved getting to know both Marybeth and Lionel and follow them on their journey. All of the relationships in the book were spot-on, and I was thoroughly impressed by this story. I haven’t been very interested in DeStefano’s writing up until now, but I’m going to be checking out her other works in the near future.
It’s been a long time since a middle-grade novel truly spoke to me, and The Peculiar Night of the Blue Heart did that perfectly. It’s also paced well, though some of the scenes were too drawn out for my taste, and the author did a good job of spreading out the plot events. I was never bored. Although I think it may be a tough sell for boy readers, I’ll be recommending this one.
And, as I mentioned on The Silver Words, if the author is interested in writing another book for Lionel and Marybeth, I’d love to check it out! 4 stars.
pg count for the hardback: 208