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Midnight Blue

3.83  ·  Rating details ·  263 ratings  ·  45 reviews
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 th
Paperback, 218 pages
Published May 6th 2005 by Bloomsbury USA Children's Books (first published 1990)
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Average rating 3.83  · 
Rating details
 ·  263 ratings  ·  45 reviews

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Sep 05, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
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 lig
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 hig
Dec 22, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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 s ...more
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
Jan 27, 2010 rated it it was amazing
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. ...more
Jan 15, 2012 rated it really liked it
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. ...more
Apr 28, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: weird, book-club

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 an
Marleni Castaneda
Nov 29, 2016 rated it liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Apr 20, 2020 rated it really liked it
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 a
Ms Bookworm
Sep 25, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favourite-books
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; o ...more
Gurpreet Kaur
Mar 05, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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 st
Sandra Crane
Aug 09, 2018 rated it really liked it
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.
Joanna Pennington
Jan 12, 2020 rated it really liked it
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.
Angela Lewis
Dec 20, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Bonnie escapes her hateful existence by hot air balloon to find a parallel environment. Teenage fantasy with imagery and mystery.
Marsha Valance
Bonnie travels in her neighbor’s hot air balloon to a land resembling her home, but more welcoming.

A book that has haunted me since I was a kid. Not quite the book I remembered in the end.
Jun 06, 2021 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Simple and beautiful modern fairy tale.
With a wonderful heart-warming resolution, as a fairy tale should have.
Maya Joelle
Dec 26, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: ya-recs
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
Jul 15, 2017 rated it it was amazing
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 ...more
Oct 20, 2010 rated it liked it
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). T
Dec 01, 2016 rated it really liked it
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 visualis ...more
Dec 14, 2016 rated it liked it
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.
May 09, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fantasy, angst, dreamy
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 s
Mar 21, 2011 rated it liked it
Shelves: teen, fantasy
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 ...more
Jamie Brooks
May 24, 2009 rated it it was ok
Shelves: fantasy, ya
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?". ...more
May 15, 2011 rated it really liked it
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. ...more
Jan 05, 2013 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2014
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. ...more
Feb 20, 2013 rated it it was ok
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. ...more
Jul 28, 2014 rated it really liked it
I read this when it first came out, many years ago, and found it enjoyable but forgettable. Re-reading it, I am much more enamoured with its subtle exploration of family and identity. The plot is as slight as I remembered - there is a journey to an alternate world but no exciting quest to complete - and the supporting characters remain underdeveloped, but the dream-like atmosphere and Bonnie's complex inner monologue make up for the shortcomings. ...more
Jan 26, 2012 rated it it was amazing
It's been a long time since I read this book but yet I've still carried strong impressions with me. It has been fantastic to reread it as an adult and appreciate the magic and dream-like nature of the story and the characters. Such a beautiful amalgamation of complexity and simplicity. It inspires a strength of character which is hard to ignore! ...more
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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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“Arabella dangled her legs out of the bedroom window and closed her eyes. She felt a butterfly brush against her knee, rubbed her skin against the mortar and bricks, drank in the warmth of the morning sunshine on her face, her arms, her feet.” 1 likes
“Bonnie saw ropes hanging loose, poles falling away, tree-tops sinking beneath her. As they rose, the sun rose with them. Its warmth turned the dark skin of the fiery balloon midnight blue. They flew straight up. Above them, the sweet, clear music of the lonely pipe called to them. Then the smooth sky puckered into cloth-of-blue and drew aside. They passed straight through...” 0 likes
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