A mysterious island.
An abandoned orphanage.
A strange collection of very curious photographs.
It all waits to be discovered in Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children, an unforgettable novel that mixes fiction and photography in a thrilling reading experience. As our story opens, a horrific family tragedy sets sixteen-year-old Jacob journeying to a remote island off the coast of Wales, where he discovers the crumbling ruins of Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children. As Jacob explores its abandoned bedrooms and hallways, it becomes clear that the children were more than just peculiar. They may have been dangerous. They may have been quarantined on a deserted island for good reason. And somehow—impossible though it seems—they may still be alive. A spine-tingling fantasy illustrated with haunting vintage photography, Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children will delight adults, teens, and anyone who relishes an adventure in the shadows.
PUBLISHER: Quirk Books
There are some books that I do not read for absolutely no reason at all. Usually, when I finally do pick these certain books up and read them, I curse myself for not reading them. This book is one of my I-Should-Have-Read-This-Ages-Ago-Why-Am-I-So-Stupid books.
This novel follows a young man, Jacob, as he puzzles through the sudden loss of his grandfather and the fantastical stories his grandfather told him throughout his childhood about a house on a faraway island filled with peculiar children with special abilities. What if the stories of his grandfather were true? What if his grandfather wasn’t a crazy old man like everyone thinks? Can Jacob get to the bottom of the mystery that was his grandfather’s life?
I’d like to share a story with all of you of how this book impacted my life. Besides the ways that it affected my sleep (shadows and noises took on whole new meanings), I started hearing voices. When I was about halfway through this masterpiece of a novel, I was upstairs packing up some of my things. In order for you to get some perspective, my room is in the middle of the hallway and my little brother’s and parents’ bedrooms are at the end of the hall. I was about to enter my bedroom when I heard two distinctly male voices. One said, “Hey, dude, what do you think your beard says about you?” and the second man said, “Man, I don’t know”. Their voices were coming from my parents’ and little brother’s rooms, respectively. After backtracking my way down the stairs to where my little brother was stationed (and I do mean backtracking in the most serious sense) and grabbing some Masai stone clubs (my house is filled with a collection of international souvenirs-my petition to grab the bow and arrows and blowdart off the wall was declined by my little brother), we made our way up the stairs. Of course, there was no possible way that two men had broken into our house and were casually robbing our house whilst having a casual conversation about their facial hair at a normal volume. But, we armed ourselves and cautiously looked through each room, regardless. There were neither bearded neighbors in the backyard nor radios functioning at the time of “the incident”. I heard two men clearly having a conversation in my house, but there is absolutely no explanation of the source of these voices. Therefore, I credit my temporary insanity to this book. It may seem that I am trying to discourage you from picking up this novel, but I assure you that that is not my intention. Temporary insanity is fun, kids. Pick this one up and you’ll hear voices, too. 😉 Still working on my marketing technique. It’ll be perfected in the next couple of reviews, I promise.
PG: Some bad words (S**t and A**), kissing, vintage pictures that may cause bad dreams (I’m a wimp, though, so please take that into consideration)
One of the things that I absolutely loved about this book was the originality. Riggs worked vintage photographs into the novel in a creative and interesting way. In an interview, he said he combed through nearly 100,000 old photographs to gather the right photographs for his novel. I know that I should have outgrown picture books awhile ago, but, if we were all honest, I believe that all of us adults would admit to liking some pictures/illustrations to spice up a novel every now and then. Am I right? Rhetorical question, you don’t have to answer. Plus, these pictures are eerily amazing and old black and white photos never fail to pique my interest. Small children with bees crawling out of their mouth or clowns eating ribbons… man, everyone can dig that. I believe that the novel would have been wonderful even without the photos, but the photos led an extra depth to the story that I particularly enjoyed.
Ransom Riggs’ writing is very cinematic in nature and the novel reads like an intriguing, suspenseful, mysterious movie. The character development is masterfully done and I felt a connection to each of the characters. Even though this felt like more of a children’s fiction novel, it still kept my interest. I would recommend it to any age!
The only problem I had with this novel was keeping the many children and their peculiar abilities separate. I became easily confused by what child possessed what ability and had difficulties keeping all of them straight in my mind. Then again, this is usually my problem when characters names are even a little bit similar. Also, while I liked the love interest, I felt like it detracted from the plot at times. It seemed a bit awkward and clunky. But, it wasn’t dwelled upon in an excessive manner and the novel stayed true with its suspenseful, mysterious genre.
This is a tough one, but I’d probably say that Lo-Fang’s Look Away would fit this novel just fine. 🙂
It’s a fun adventure and the characters are memorable and creatively written. I’ll give it 4/5 and I will definitely be picking up the next novel in the series!