by Ransom Riggs
publisher: Quirk Books
release date: June 7, 2011
hardcover, 348 pages
intended audience: Young adult
source: received from publisher for honest review
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.
Review: When I first received this and rifled through the pages, looking for the first time at the collection of incredibly spine-tingling vintage photographs, I thought for sure I was in for a terrifying story. Really terrifying. I was even a little nervous! But while there were some genuinely hair-raising moments, and also some very gruesome scenes that turned my stomach, the story that I found here was such a great surprise. It was full of curiosities and wonderment, sentiment, and a great adventure. While the photos were certainly eerie (especially because most of them are real and unaltered), they did a wonderful job of completely immersing the reader into the story---each one was perfectly woven into the flow of the plot.
The story itself is authentic and complex. Jacob grew up listening to the wild tales his grandfather told him about an orphanage where he lived with a group of children with strange gifts and the monsters that they were hiding from. Later on, Jacob outgrows his belief in the stories and, like the rest of his family, just thinks his grandfather is crazy. After his grandfather dies in a gruesome circumstance, he begins to realize his grandfather might not have been so crazy after all,---but in doing so, makes his family doubt his own sanity. The real adventure begins when Jacob sets off to find out the truth about his grandfather's life by traveling to the tiny village of Cairnholm.
I was completely wrapped up in the strange lives and personalities of the Peculiar children! Each character was so vivid---I especially loved Olive and Millard. Emma was a firecracker, but it was her hidden pictures that brought me to tears. Despite the awkwardness that could have been in her relationship with Jacob (you'll just have to read to find out why!), I was actually quite charmed by it. :)
Absolute favorite quote in the book:
"How many times must I tell you," she called after him, "polite persons do not take their supper in the nude!"
I'll leave it at that---don't want to give too much away. Although, I don't know how anyone could resist reading it after a quote like that!
And awesome news: a follow-up book is in the works for Spring of 2013! It's ages away, but at least its coming!