Title: Miss Peregrine’s Home For Peculiar Children (Miss Peregrine #1)
Author: Ransom Riggs
Publication date: May 20, 2012
Publisher: Quirk Books
Length: 352 pages
Age group: Young Adult
Add it: Goodreads
Buy it: Amazon US | Amazon UK | The Book Depository
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.
Miss Peregrine’s Home For Peculiar Children has been on my wishlist for quite a long time so when I was contacted by the publisher and was sent a review copy, I couldn’t wait to get started. What made me want to pick it up in the first place was the fact that it’s so different from everything else out there. It’s illustrated with vintage photographs of peculiar children who might seem really creepy at first but their presence makes perfect sense once you’re reading the story. To be honest, I sort of expected something darker but it turned out to be completely different. It’s rather a mysterious adventure than a creepy horror story – but unputdownable all the same.
The first part of the novel is set in the United States – Jacob tells the story of his childhood and the stories his grandfather used to tell him when he was a kid. Stories about a levitating girl, an invisible boy, a boy who was able to lift a boulder, and bizarre tales about monsters who were after him – and of course, no one believed him. Jacob’s grandpa was actually one of my favourite characters from the book. I loved the fact that even Jacob didn’t believe him initially. Then, as he sets out on a journey to Wales in order to uncover the truth and he reveals some vital secrets, he gradually realises how wrong he’d been. And not only did his grandpa have to live in a world where he could never feel safe, he had to live with the fact that no one (including his family) would believe him. I felt really sorry for him.
With Jacob leaving Florida, there comes a shift in the story. Just like the weather which goes from bright and sunny to cold and rainy, the story’s atmosphere turns sinister and quite haunting as well. From a suburban family drama we’re transported into a whole new world – a world full of secrets, a world where bizarre creatures and levitating children do exist. For us readers, this second half of the novel seems to be like marmite – you either love it, or you hate it. I’ve heard several people say they didn’t like this shift in the story and the fact that it’s so different from how the story started out. And I do agree with them to a certain extent – it is different. It really is. But I think the tricky part is to keep in mind that it’s all fiction. Forget that the book started out like an everyday story about an everyday high school boy – it’s fantasy. And it did work for me.
The only thing I didn’t particularly like was how easily Jacob gives up his whole life and says goodbye to his family in the second half of the novel. The fact that he doesn’t really hesitate or worry about the consequences of his decision but sticks with those people whom he met only a few days previously was the only thing that I found highly unrealistic (even for fantasy). Having said that, it really is a gripping story.
Miss Peregrine’s Home For Peculiar Children is a must-have for young-adults and adults alike. It’s something that will make you want to keep on reading late at night and something that will no doubt stay with you for a long time. I can’t wait to see how the story continues!
“It would be a lot easier to figure out what the hell was going on without a roomful of drunks threatening to lynch me. Of course, running away would only convince them of my guilt, but I didn’t care.
I tried to step around the fat man.
He made a grab for me, but slow and drunk is no match for fast and scared shitless. I faked left and then dodged around him to the right. He howled with rage as the rest unglued themselves from barstools to lunge at me, but I slipped through their fingers and run out the door into the bright afternoon.“
*Many thanks to Quirk Books for sending me a copy of this book*