Destefano, Lauren The Peculiar Night of the Blue Heart, 208 pages. Bloomsbury, 2016. $17. Language: G; Mature Content: G; Violence: PG (two off page murders, mild bullying).
MaryBeth and Lionel are only 9, the youngest kids in an orphanage run by a gruff older woman who doesn’t always understand her strange youngest charges. One night when MaryBeth is following Lionel on his late night excursions, she falls into the river and when she comes out, something is very different about her – in certain lights it looks as though her eyes flash a deep, bright blue. What does this mean? Since none of the adults will believe them, MaryBeth and Lionel are on their own to solve this mystery before the real MaryBeth disappears forever.
With such young protagonists and such a gritty subject, the audience for this book is difficult to place. The book is really too lyrical for a nine year old audience, but the mystery is not compelling enough to hold the interest of an older audience. I would love to hear someone else’s opinion about placement for this text.
EL – OPTIONAL. Cindy, Library Teacher