Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children
by Ransom Riggs
Summary: 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.
Source: I purchased a movie tie-in paperback
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**** I read this book a few years ago and I remember not liking it. But I couldn’t remember why and I think I was expecting a horror novel and that’s not really what the book is. With the movie coming out, I decided to reread. I went back and read my earlier review and it turns out I read it the week I quit smoking 4 years ago… And that’s probably why I didn’t like it. I didn’t like anything that week! ****
I am so glad I decided to reread this book. The movie previews captured my attention and it motivated me to reread, though it’s been something I wanted to do for the past couple of years.
Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children was a unique book that combined the vintage creepy photographs we all look at and wonder about and the supernatural. The author was able to weave a fantastic tale using those creepy photographs without turning them into a haunted freak show and I have to give the author credit for that. Maybe that’s what I originally wanted when I read the book years ago, but this time around I admired the author for not going the predictable route with the story.
I’m still a little underwhelmed by the lack of focus on the abilities of the peculiar children. It still feels like they could’ve been perfectly normal and the plot still would have worked for Jacob’s character growth. They could have been ghosts or regular children who were just forgotten, and instead were peculiar to fit into the vintage photograph idea. However, this is book one and I think the rest of the series will likely be more action packed and perhaps rely more on the peculiar nature of the children.
Still, the book was creative and intriguing and I did enjoy the story now that I’m in the right frame of mind and knew that it wasn’t a horror novel.
I still don’t know that I’ll read the sequel, but I enjoyed the book and I’m glad I reread it. I will definitely see the movie.
Previous Review from 2011:
“I think it was last year when I first heard of this book and saw the cover. Since that moment, I’ve been wanting to read this book. It just looked like my kind of weird! I requested it from the library and have been on the waiting list for what seemed like ages, but I thought it was fitting that I’d get this at the beginning of October.
I’m not quite sure what I expected from this book, but it started out a little slow for me and I was surprised by how normal it was up until I was about 30% through. I couldn’t help but feel a little disappointed by the story and wasn’t really sure where it was going. It picked up from that point onward and ended up being really weird like I originally expected.
I don’t think I cared much for the narrator, Jacob, and I felt as if I would have rather read a story written from his grandfather’s point of view instead. Even though the book did end up being more like what I expected towards the middle, I felt like it kept escalating exponentially and got a little unbelievable. My reactions while reading went from “Hmm, this seems rather normal” to “This is definitely getting good” to “Wait, what? This seems kind of ridiculous, now.”
I do like the fact that this story was written around real photographs and it was a well written and page turning novel. There was definitely an element of weirdness and creepiness that I enjoyed, especially with the additions of the pictures in the text. I just felt like the plot kind of got out of hand towards the end and I didn’t care much for the narrator. I would definitely recommend this book to others because it was worth the read. I rated it low because I guess I expected something more, despite how creative it was. Perhaps I’m being a little unfair because it’s day #5 of me not smoking and it has some impact on my judgment at the moment. I’m not sure.”