The Peculiar Night of the Blue Heart

1 MP3-CD. 4 hrs. Brilliance. Feb. 2017. $9.99. ISBN 978153668827.
Gr 4–6—When nine-year-old Lionel helplessly witnesses his father murder his mother, his self-preservation instinct kicks into overdrive. He develops a lone wolf temperament when confronted (hissing, growling, and snarling), yet he has a quiet, sensitive side beneath his fear—rabbits eat berries from his hand. Marybeth is polite, obedient, and timid. The two kids form an unlikely bond of friendship at Mrs. Mannerd's orphanage. On October 31, a mysterious blue light seeps under Marybeth's skin "like goose bumps on her bones." Unfortunately, this blue creature is the frenzied ghost of young Liza, who lived in the neighboring farmhouse. Liza's lost soul can't rest until her mysterious death is solved. She needs Marybeth's help—and Marybeth desperately needs Lionel's before this sly "fox" takes over her own soul. Brittany Pressley's well-crafted narration perfectly captures the wide variety of voices, from exasperated Mrs. Mannerd to protective Lionel to emotional Marybeth.
VERDICT Tween fans of supernatural murder mysteries will enjoy this tale. ["Touching and creepy": SLJ 6/16 review of the Bloomsbury book.]

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