The Resource The peculiar night of the blue heart, by Lauren DeStefano

The peculiar night of the blue heart, by Lauren DeStefano

Label
The peculiar night of the blue heart
Title
The peculiar night of the blue heart
Statement of responsibility
by Lauren DeStefano
Creator
Author
Subject
Genre
Language
eng
Summary
Lionel, a wild boy, and Marybeth, a good girl, are best friends at the orphanage, and when a mysterious spirit possesses Marybeth they will do anything to stop it
Pace
Tone
Writing style
Review
  • Grades 4-7 /* Starred Review */ On a miserably wet, dark night, something blue and beckoning draws Marybeth out of her comfortable, if chaotic, foster home. When she falls into a nearby river, the thing saves her but also somehow becomes a part of her. The presence, whose vague memories she finds she can see, begins to distort her normally calm personality. The change surprises Marybeth’s best friend at the home, a young boy named Lionel, who seems more wild woodland creature than child. He has seen the blue, wispy presence too and is determined to help Marybeth figure out the mystery before it takes her over completely. The sure pace, complex characters, creepy moments, and haunting central narrative of a nearby family’s farmyard secret are tender enough to draw in readers who like an emotional story of growth, as well as those who love to experience chills. The plot, replete with buried bones, a terrible house of punishment for “problem” children, and more, will keep kids reading all night long (albeit with the lights on). DeStefano (A Curious Tale of the In-Between, 2015) is no stranger to atmospheric middle-grade books and is impressively amassing work that rivals that of older authors known for scary mysteries, such as Mary Downing Hahn and Zilpha Keatley Snyder. Suggest during those darkening fall days leading up to Halloween. -- Cruze, Karen (Reviewed 8/1/2016) (Booklist, vol 112, number 22, p81)
  • Gr 4–6—Lionel doesn't act much like a nine-year-old boy. He'd like to be a lion or a bird instead of an orphan in the home of Mrs. Mannerd. The only person he likes in the world is Marybeth, the other nine-year-old at Mrs. Mannerd's. Marybeth's even temper, sweet nature, and infinite patience have bonded her to the wild boy. But when Marybeth follows a peculiar blue animal into the woods one night, she comes home with a dark creature hiding under her skin. As Marybeth descends into wildness, Lionel must save his only friend and heal the wounded being that possesses her. DeStefano writes with a spare, elegant style, telling a complete story in just over 200 pages, a rare feat. Themes of belonging, loss, and what it means to be human underscore the tight storytelling and add depth. The origins of the blue creature are dark and harrowing, with subtle implications of sexual violence, likely to fly over many readers' heads. Marybeth's eerie transformation into an unworldly creature and Lionel's epic struggle to protect her from evil drive the fast-paced plot. The speed of the storytelling leaves little room for detailed explanations, and the action moves too swiftly for lingering questions. VERDICT Touching and creepy. Give this one to fans of Mary Downing Hahn.—Elisabeth Gattullo Marrocolla, Darien Library, CT --Elisabeth Gattullo Marrocolla (Reviewed 06/01/2016) (School Library Journal, vol 62, issue 6, p92)
  • In a moving story about the lengths children will go to help a friend, Lionel and Marybeth live in an orphanage run by Mrs. Mannerd, a kindly widow who never had children of her own. Lionel, who thinks of himself as a “wild boy,” would prefer to be an animal (any animal) and spends most of his time coaxing woodland creatures to feed from his hand. Marybeth, quiet and obedient, trails behind him, hoping to better understand why Lionel prefers the company of animals. When a strange blue creature, which Lionel believes to be a fox, inhabits Marybeth’s body, it’s up to the wild boy to tame his inner impulses and figure out the very human reason the blue creature refuses to let go of his best friend. DeStefano (A Curious Tale of the In-Between) again explores the spirit world in an engaging and sometimes frightening way. As the mystery unravels, she incorporates difficult subjects that include murder, abuse, and grief, handling them in a straightforward manner that readers will appreciate. Ages 8–12. Agent: Barbara Poelle, Irene Goodman Agency. (Sept.)
			 --Staff (Reviewed 07/18/2016) (Publishers Weekly, vol 263, issue 29, p)
  • This middle-grade fantasy thriller stars two orphans, Marybeth and Lionel, and depicts their trouble with a powerful and determined ghost."Lionel was a wild boy. Sometimes he forgot he was a boy at all." On the other hand, "Marybeth was a very normal girl, with dark hair that she wore braided into pigtails, and round spectacles with red metal rims." Despite their differences, the two white 9-year-olds are firm friends. They escape from the six older, mean orphans in the little red house presided over by the stuffy Mrs. Mannerd by going into the woods nearby, where Lionel sees a blue something that he thinks is a fox. Later, Marybeth sees the mysterious blue light—and is possessed by it. Increasingly frightening events ensue, as they try to discover what the ghost (for that's what it is) wants Marybeth to do. Precise details and humor at the outset will engage readers' attention, while tension and suspense will keep those pages turning once they are hooked. The depictions of the children and their guardian as well as of the house and landscape bind the realistic elements of the story together while providing an anchor for the fantasy. The lovable characters, the mystery of the ghost, and the deep friendship between the two children will lead middle graders back to the author's A Curious Tale of the In-between (2015) and have them counting the days until her next book. (Fantasy. 9-11)(Kirkus Reviews, June 15, 2016)
http://library.link/vocab/ext/novelist/bookUI
10485871
Cataloging source
DLC
http://library.link/vocab/creatorName
DeStefano, Lauren
Index
no index present
LC call number
PZ7.D47
LC item number
Pdm 2016
Literary form
fiction
http://library.link/vocab/ext/novelist/minGradeLevel
  • 4
  • 6
http://library.link/vocab/resourcePreferred
True
http://library.link/vocab/subjectName
  • Best friends
  • Friendship
  • Spirit possession
  • Orphans
Target audience
pre adolescent
Label
The peculiar night of the blue heart, by Lauren DeStefano
Instantiates
Publication
Carrier category
volume
Carrier category code
  • nc
Carrier MARC source
rdacarrier
Content category
text
Content type code
  • txt
Content type MARC source
rdacontent
Dimensions
22 cm
Extent
196 pages
Isbn
9781619636439
Lccn
2015046636
Media category
unmediated
Media MARC source
rdamedia
Media type code
  • n
System control number
(OCoLC)933591048
Label
The peculiar night of the blue heart, by Lauren DeStefano
Publication
Carrier category
volume
Carrier category code
  • nc
Carrier MARC source
rdacarrier
Content category
text
Content type code
  • txt
Content type MARC source
rdacontent
Dimensions
22 cm
Extent
196 pages
Isbn
9781619636439
Lccn
2015046636
Media category
unmediated
Media MARC source
rdamedia
Media type code
  • n
System control number
(OCoLC)933591048

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