Book review: Out of the Wild Night, by Blue Balliett

Balliett, Blue.  Out of the Wild Night.  Scholastic, 2018.  ISBN 978-0-545-86756-6. $17.99. 291 pages.  Ages 9-13.  P7 Q6

A paranormal novel based on the history of the architecture on Nantucket Island.  Balliett does an amazing job describing the houses on Nantucket Island and how the heart, and in this case, actual spirits, of deceased Nantucketans (I made up that word) are imbedded within the planks and posts the houses are made of.  Not necessarily the foundation of the house, or the shell, but what makes up the entire inside.  The tragedy is these homes are being gutted and rebuilt for a more modern interior by people moving out to the island from the mainland, and have no attachment to the rustic, low ceilinged interior.  The souls of the generations of people within these homes are lost forever once a home has been gutted and rebuilt.  The premise of the novel is pretty passionate, but the novel doesn’t deliver a passionate message.  I experienced mild anger and then moved on.  Additionally, I had a problem with perspective.  I often questioned what was happening to the individual at the time in the story.  Once I got to the end of the book this made more sense and I reread the beginning with my new found understanding.  It was still rough going and I still have questions.

Verdict:  A good ghost story with a passionate premise, but Balliett doesn’t deliver her vision to the reader.  In her attempt to add intrigue, Balliett only created confusion.

May 2018 review by Terri Lippert

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