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Midnight Blue

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Bonnie, a girl torn between the harsh reality of her mother's weaknesses and her grandmother's strong will escapes her home one day by sneaking into her neighbor's hot air balloon. But instead of flying into the clouds and back down, she lands in another world, something like her own, but both kinder and somehow much more terrifying. She's not sure if she can ever leave this nearly parallel world and return to her own. And if she did, she isn't sure she'll be able to bring back with her the sense of warmth and love she has grown to cherish. Amazingly, she does both.

218 pages, Paperback

First published January 1, 1990

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About the author

Pauline Fisk

18 books99 followers
Died January 25, 2015.

Pauline Fisk is the author of eleven novels for young people of all ages. More can be found about her by going to her website.

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5 stars
83 (29%)
4 stars
100 (35%)
3 stars
73 (25%)
2 stars
21 (7%)
1 star
7 (2%)
Displaying 1 - 30 of 48 reviews
Profile Image for Lilyan.
324 reviews87 followers
September 6, 2011
I read this back when I was about 8 or 9 years old. 11 years later and the story still haunts me. Honestly, I don't remember it at all, just very vague bits and peices, but I still remember that this story disturbed me somehow when I read it. I had forgotten what the book was called and was extremely happy to finally figure out the name of the book that affected me so much.
However, I will not read it again because as is often the case with childhood favourites, once you see them in an adult light their novelty wears off and you're left dissapointed and confused at your younger self.
Profile Image for Caitlyn.
242 reviews24 followers
April 14, 2016
What really made this book five-star for me was Bonnie's character development. She's a generally good person, but she has these dark urges and thoughts that I felt made her more of a real person. Too often books for and/or about children make them innocent victims of circumstance, but here we get a character who faces temptation and jealously and overcomes those emotions through effort and thoughtfulness rather than some inherent goodness.

I could see this being a good children's book for a high-level young reader, sort of in the same category as Narnia or The Golden Compass . The relationship between the three women who make up Bonnie's family is beautifully original. While her mother's teenage parenthood may seem too "adult" for some parents, I think it's valuable to see a sensitive portrayal of a dysfunctional but very realistic family. Grandbag is a terrifying villain and the way that affects Bonnie's relationship with her mother was really dynamic. That really sets up Bonnie as the person she is and struggles to be throughout her adventure.
Profile Image for Lisa.
105 reviews
November 11, 2014
This book is a fantasy set in bleak modern times and Bonnie, the main character is a daydreamer – so immediately I could identify with this… maybe that is why I love it so much. Either way Midnight Blue never fails to take me away, no matter how many times I’ve read or how old I get - every time I open it it’s like I’ve stepped into a magical portal and been transported straight to the land beyond the sky. Fisk writes so well that I barely even realise I’m reading a book – the descriptions are so imaginative and beautiful and when the characters are facing darker moments or awkward emotions these are not shirked away from but faced with disarming honesty that only helps to touch and absorb readers even more. Throughout the book there is also an ongoing sense of reality and timeliness alongside the fantasy that makes it all feel possible. I highly recommend it to all lovers of YA fantasy, escapism and daydreamers alike.
7 reviews3 followers
January 27, 2010
This is the first Pauline Fisk book I was given as a child and I have remained hooked by her wonderful brand of fantastic-realism ever since. Fisk weaves the real and the unreal seamlessly together. Midnight Blue is a magical story of an unhappy girl's happy accident of finding her way to an alternate reality. But dangers from the 'real' world soon catch up with her. Very scary in places, beautiful in others.
Profile Image for GoldGato.
1,140 reviews40 followers
September 19, 2012
The Wizard of Oz flies into England. Or something like that. The book starts off well with high expectations, as we just know the main character (yet another dissatisfied pre-teen) will go off on an adventure. Two wonderful characters are introduced, wonderful in that they could have supplied a real tug-of-war between the forces of good and evil, but then they just kind of disappear when they're no longer needed. Like waiters.

Shadowboy and Grandbag deserved some more attention, as did the unseen characters of Wild Edric and Lady Godda. Midway through the book, the action just peeters out, without much interest to keep the reader involved. I couldn't help but think of a British accented Judy Garland. Sorry.

Book Season = Autumn (maybe trees need to be rustling or something)
Profile Image for Neile.
Author 10 books15 followers
January 16, 2012
While not quite a children's classic--the description that first sent me looking for this--it still is a delightful book. Perhaps if I had read this as a child it might have had more impact for me, particularly the ending, but obviously, that's hard to say. In any case, it was a quiet, intriguing story, and one that I recommend to lovers of children's fantasy novels. Good characters, and an interesting look at parallel worlds.
Profile Image for Deborah Ideiosepius.
1,626 reviews127 followers
May 26, 2023
This rather sweet, magical realism, children's book is one I had read before - but so long ago I could only really remember things happening as I read them.

It starts with Bonnie, an ordinary English girl who has just recently moved into a flat with her mother, Maybell. It is hinted at, though never gone into, that Maybell has had some issues and that Bonnie has been forced to live with her grandmother, a nasty character that she calls 'Grandbag'.

Running away from a visit by her grandmother, she climbs through a wall behind the apartment block and finds a man working on a strange project, he believes that he can make a hot air balloon that will take him to the other side of the sky. After a series of events that I won't get into, Bonnie ends up on the balloon and traveling to an alternative world, where a different her exists, a different Maybell and a different, almost magical life on a farm. An alternative world that is not without it's own hazards however.

The plot is much more involved than one would think one could get into in what is, after all, a fairly short children's book but it is very interesting and well done. There are a range of characters and motivations. Bonnie is far from perfect, far from a sugar and spice child, but her very flaws make her a more real character and more innocent in a way.

The writing is very nice indeed! While it is totally suited to children and can at times have a simplicity to it, adults re-reading a half remembered childhood favourite, as I did, will not be disappointed. The craft and skill of the author make it most readable.

The ending manages to be happy without being too happily-ever-after and one leaves the book with plenty to ponder.

It is so good when a long-lost childhood favourite proves to be this satisfying.

I have also posted a review of this one on youtube, I don't think I am allowed to hyperlink it, but I post as Deb Ideiosepius, the Omnivorous reader
Profile Image for Jennifer.
195 reviews16 followers
April 28, 2020

This was a really nice book and for some reason it really confused me (hence not a 10/10).
Overall I enjoyed this book! It was fast and compelling and had good, solid characters that you can really root for with a very unusual villain, which was fun.
To account for the 2 points off... I realize that not all books have to say something and sometimes they are just nice, but this ended up being in an uncomfortable place in between. Is this a story about abuse, and the ways that people confront and respond to it? Is it about the importance of family? Is it about the importance of finding yourself and standing up on your own? I don't know because it didn't really go very far with any of those ideas. It skirted near them as if it would complete the thought, but then just kept going somewhere else. I don't think these were left intentionally up to the reader, I think the author maybe didn't intend to complete them or had no interest in commenting on those things. That's the vibe anyway.
Also, because of this lack of following the logical conclusion to any of these character building ideas, all the characters seem a little flat and under-developed, even Bonnie. On top of that, there are SO MANY questions left unanswered because you can't even say they are answered by the logical conclusion of the metaphor, because there is none. So you finish the nearly 200 pages and say, "Oh, alright. Yeah, okay... wait... but.. what? Why? Is that it??" And that's not bad but it left me sort of scratching my head in a not very satisfying way.

That being said I really liked it! I just had a lot of thoughts because book club.
Profile Image for Marleni Castaneda.
5 reviews1 follower
December 15, 2016
Have you ever sneaked around because you couldn't be honest? This is a mystery novel about a young girl who sneaks around. I don't recommend this book because it didn't start good and never got better.
Bonnie and her mom and her little sister and her big brother and her grandparents somewhere and see their neighbor and Bonnie gets in from a fence and sees an air balloon. She sneaks in the air balloon and starts to see the neighbor and they both get in and her brother tells her not to come. Bonnie doesn't want to be with her grandparents and has her suitcase and tells him that she wants to come. Bonnie's little brother lets her and Bonnie goes to a different place. Bonnie didn't know where she was.

Annabelle goes to the hill and sees Bonnie and cries to her mother that there was someone dead on the hill and see the air balloon on the floor. Bonnie wakes up in the night and hears a creak from the door and she starts falling asleep again and she dreams about something terrible. Bonnie wakes up again and sees Annabelle and Arabella doesn't notice and her mom wants Arabella to tell Bonnie whats out there. Bonnie enjoyed talking to her and about their own town where no one lives because something had happened to their village.

Bonnie hears something about a show ground and finds a necklace and she hurries to the car. Bonnie tells them that she was sorry for taking long. Arabella's mother was staring at the necklace and says a really nice compliment about the necklace and says, "Where did you find that beautiful necklace?" Bonnie said, "Oh,this thing I found this on the ground." Arabella's mother didn't saw that in the ground. Bonnie realizes that she wants to go home than being in a place with being stuck there.

Bonnie sneaks into the farmhouse and goes home
Bonnie saw the same person and She said that she would take good care of jake the dog and instead she killed him. Arabella started to cry and her sadness was gone and she told her parents what had happened. Bonnie told everything abut when she landed there and how much they would hate her. Bonnie is trying to help the others from the Lady. Arabella wants Bonnie to leave. Bonnie wants to
see the shadow boy.

Bonnie tries to escape home from the village and tells her friend the shadow boy to turn the fire on and she waits to go home. Bonnie leaves from the hour of 1:00 in the night.
At the end of the part of the story she wants to go home and leaves at the night and with a bit of light.
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
Profile Image for Stephen.
1,084 reviews14 followers
April 20, 2020
This is an award winning book, and rightly so because it is an eerily strange but also very powerful piece of writing. It is a book to make you think, but also one that some people will have mixed feelings about. It is not a story anyone would expect exactly, but it is a wonderful story about escape from abusive relationships, conflict resolution, self discovery and of the love of parents and children.

Even if I tried to describe this story I would fail. It is magical, imaginative and so unlike anything else I have written of late that it thoroughly deserves to be better noticed. But the lack of an easy to comprehend plot, and a down to earth conflict will challenge some readers. All I can say is that it really is worth the effort of reading it, so if you are intrigued - buy this book. If you are not intrigued, then at least borrow it from the library and give it a go.
1 review
September 25, 2019
The book is amazing! By far my favourite book (apart from Harry Potter of course). I found it in my school library after I had just finished my third re-read of the Harry Potter series and was struggling to enjoy any books other than them. So I walked up to the bookshelf and thought "just pick one!" so I grabbed the first book that I saw (this one). It was pure magic. There are shocking parts where you just wished you could warn the characters yourself and regions where you could jump for joy; only, definitely pursue it because the more you read into the book, the better it gets.
Profile Image for Gurpreet Kaur.
187 reviews17 followers
March 5, 2020
I loved reading this story. Bonnie's character develop so well throughout the story. She is a day dreamer and is fed up from her grandmother's behaviour, so when she comes to live with her mother and herself, she ran away from home and go on an interesting journey to discover herself and to fight her fears and this journey brought so much changes in her that I enjoyed reading about it. It's really a very imaginative story.

I liked the writing style a lot, it gives a life to the characters and story.
141 reviews3 followers
August 9, 2018
My granddaughter got this book from the library but changed her mind about reading it. I decided to read it and really enjoyed it. There is loads of adventure, mysteries, love and how to overcome hate. I am going to introduce this book to my granddaughter when she gets a little older. I think she will really enjoy to read it then.
Profile Image for Joanna Pennington.
24 reviews1 follower
January 13, 2020
This was my favourite book as a child, and I recently re-read my copy after gifting the book to my niece for Christmas. Creates beautiful mental imagery, and the (rather haunting) story moves along well.
709 reviews
December 20, 2018
Bonnie escapes her hateful existence by hot air balloon to find a parallel environment. Teenage fantasy with imagery and mystery.
66 reviews
July 5, 2020
A book that has haunted me since I was a kid. Not quite the book I remembered in the end.
Profile Image for Jeanne.
475 reviews42 followers
June 6, 2021
Simple and beautiful modern fairy tale.
With a wonderful heart-warming resolution, as a fairy tale should have.
Profile Image for Natalia.
32 reviews
March 14, 2023
I didn't like it. Don't get what's the point of it. It was easy to read it fast, but idk, felt bored and the story felt pointless...
Profile Image for Maya Joelle.
Author 1 book88 followers
December 28, 2020
This book is a very odd, ethereal fantasy with an ambiguous ending and multiple confusing/disturbing scenes. I enjoyed it anyway. The characters were interesting.

Recommended for middle grade readers who can handle some creepy content.

read 7/8/2016
reread 4/18/2018
May 20, 2018
Bonnie's a kid from a pretty blandly dysfunctional family. Her mother, Maybell, wants nothing more than to start a life away from the controlling influence of her own mother, nicknamed Grandbag. But despite getting a flat of their own, they can't escape. So when Bonnie meets neighboir Michael, she's fascinated by his talk of visiting "the land beyond the sky" using a strange blue hot-air balloon. So she sneaks aboard and discovers the land beyond is so much better than the life she's left behind; there's a family willing to love her, a life free of the past. But it turns out she brought more than just her hopes with her. What happens when jealousy and anger encroach into this ideal mirror-world?

Technically I first read this book when I was too old for it. It didn't matter. It's a simple, cosy-but-laced-with-menace children's story about trying to get away from the bad things in life when actually your problems are things you can't physically outrun. It's very 90s UK kid's fiction, all teenage parents, council homes and weirdly trustworthy next-door neighbours. I love how the Summertime countryside of the "world beyond" with it's happy families and very British sounding folklore is the reflection of the inner city reality. Grandbag is the perfect villain for a children's story; creepy without being all together terrifying, and provoking the change in relationship between Bonnie and her mother. The magic of the mysterious Shadow Boy and the balloon don't feel overblown. The story is all about the characters themselves and how change can come out of the most unexpected of places.

I still think it's a beautiful story, not too deep for children and with a positive message that it doesn't take magical intervention to change your circumstances.
Profile Image for Doyin.
109 reviews9 followers
December 28, 2010
Strange novel. I mainly picked it up because I missed reading fantasy and because there was a review by Madeleine L’Engle on the back that called it “one of the most exciting fantasies I’ve read in a long time.”

Uh… that’s not exactly how I would describe it. While the story’s entertaining and complex and interesting, it’s not exactly exciting. There were very few parts in which something actiony was happening (yeah, I know I just made up a word in a book review, leave me be, I do what I want). The story to me was more descriptive, taking the time to describe what was happening to, around and within our main character on a day to day basis. Yeah there were a few parts where I was like “Oh em gee! *W^@%@*#!!!!” ‘cause something kind of scary or intense was about to happen… but that happened about twice… and I tend to be dramatic with books anyway.

This is an interesting story, one of the more different fantasy stories I’ve read in that it introduces some new concepts, situations and types of characters (new to me anyway). It’s a good read that will definitely keep you captivated, but not because it’s action packed… because it’s not.

Three stars.

Profile Image for Sophy.
10 reviews
December 1, 2016
Where do I start with this book? I was really torn between giving three stars and four. I gave four in the end because there were places in this book where I felt genuinely creeped out and worried for the characters and their situations, and I don't think I've ever read anything that was quite so strange ( but in a good way!) In other ways the book felt slightly tedious but only because I wasn't getting my questions answered and I found that a bit frustrating! I could really imagine and visualise the places and some of the characters due to the wonderful descriptions throughout this book. I was also surprised at the maturity of some of the emotions portrayed by some characters seeing as this is aimed at a younger audience, but I liked that the author was honest with the way she expressed this through Bonnie. After I'd finished this book I felt almost exhausted from reading and the journey throughout is such a muddle of questions and trying to work out what is going to happen and why it was happening, perhaps that it what the author intended and I think in some ways thats what made the book such a unique read.
Profile Image for R.
90 reviews1 follower
December 15, 2016
I found this gem in an op shop and it cost me about 50 cents.
For the price, and the fact that I picked it up because why not, I was pleasantly surprised and found myself to enjoy it. There's a heavy focus on escapism, and I wasn't sure whether the fantasy elements were trying to be subtle or in your face, and there were parts that were rather slow, but as a spontaneous buy I was impressed and enjoyed this book.
Profile Image for Claire.
Author 5 books58 followers
May 9, 2014
Wonderful book, a dreamy adventure about Bonnie, who seeks to run away from her troubled life, where she is caught between her nervous yet fun mother and her overly controlling grandmother.

When her new happiness is threatened by the reappearance of her grandmother, Bonnie escapes via a dark blue hot air balloon to the land beyond the sky where she encounters the family she has always wanted. Yet, her happiness is again threatened by the bitterness from her fast and she must make a choice about staying, and threatening those she has come to love, or leave and face up to her responsibilities.

A dreamlike, ethereal book that I highly recommend.
Profile Image for Jenny.
905 reviews7 followers
March 21, 2011
Bonnie escapes harsh reality with a weak mother and evil, greedy Grandbagby, sneaking a ride on a neighbor's hot air balloon. She flys up and through the curtain of the sky and comes down in a nearly parallel world. She lives on Highholly Hill with Mum, Dad, Arabella, and Florence. She's found the warm home she has always wanted. But Bonnie didn't come alone. Somehow, Grandbagby followed, and now she wants the whole family. Bonnie has to decide if she can stay ,or leave to protect those she has come to love.
Profile Image for Jamie Brooks.
614 reviews10 followers
May 25, 2009
A few days ago I had some spare time on my hands and decided to pick up this teen book that has been sitting on my shelf forever. It was given to me by a family member who no longer wanted it. I took a chance and read it. Though it was not the most thrilling book I have ever read it was cute and kept my interest fairly well. I liked the ideas in it, but they could have expanded on a couple of plot lines they had because it left the reader wondering "And what was the importance of that?".
Profile Image for Jessica-Robyn.
564 reviews40 followers
November 7, 2014
Mysterious, a little bit creepy, and completely engrossing. Midnight Blue is a strange little book, but it was just the thing I needed. At the time I read this I was firmly in my reluctant reader phase, but this book broke that cycle. It was so outside of the box that I couldn't stop reading because I had to know how it was going to end. I loved reading this book and that was a high mark of praise for me at the time.
Profile Image for Chorvelynne.
141 reviews3 followers
January 3, 2016
I really didn't know what to expect with this book. I am a sucker for award-winners so when I saw this in the shelves of BookSale I didn't hesitate to 'not' purchase it:-)) I don't know about the writing but the subject is quite interesting. A girl named Bonnie (age not mentioned) runs away from home and finds herself in farm on top of a hill. She meets a girl named Arabella and at first she can't quite figure out why she looks familiar. She looks harder and realises Arabella 'is' her.
Profile Image for Patricia.
2,909 reviews13 followers
February 21, 2013
There were things about this story that I liked and things about this story that I did not like. First off, I do not really like "coming of age" stories so I would not normally have read this book except a girl recommended it to me and so I persisted. I am also not a fan of the disjointed, dream-like world Bonnie is in for most of the book. So, with those strikes against it now being out of the way, I will say that I had to keep reading in order to find out how it ended.
Displaying 1 - 30 of 48 reviews

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