Title: Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children (#1)
Author: Ransom Riggs
Genre: Fantasy, Young Adult, Fiction, Paranormal, Mystery, Horror, Historical Fiction, Supernatural, Time Travel
Published: June 7, 2011
Page Amount: 352 pages
Blurb From Goodreads: A mysterious island. An abandoned orphanage. A strange collection of curious photographs. 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.
Why Read: This book was recommended to me by a very dear friend of mine, and although the cover was slightly disturbing, and the pages that I flicked to were also concerning: I felt like I had to read it. This book is practically the gospel as far as some young-adult aficionados say. Not to mention… it’s horror-themed. I was gnawing at the bit to read it, and by the time I got around to buying it for a friend’s Christmas gift, I could wait no longer.
Review: I’ve been slacking on my YA fiction recently, but Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children reminded me just how much I adore the mystery and type of paranormal fiction that often comes with the genre. The characters are these angsty balls of mischief and trouble-making, while the plot sends them into situation after situation. The stories are strange, and somehow always seem to throw love, teenage struggles, and thrill into one gigantic pot of problematic stew. This book is no exception to any of things listed above, other than it goes far beyond any of my previous doubts to create a fantastic experience.
Poor Jacob. That’s all I can say. As far as characters go, this boy has to deal with monsters, a dead grandfather, and a therapist that doesn’t seem to be helping (at all). He is the epitome of teenage angst, kicking around garbage and muttering to himself as he broods over death and unsolved mysteries, who no one seems to care about except him. As a main protagonist, he is the ultimate clueless actor. Perhaps the only problem with this picture is that none of the other characters are as well developed. There are others: the love interest, the parents, friends, and even grandfather. However, I couldn’t find the same multitude of effort put into their making as Jacob.
The story’s pace is set at a slightly clipped trot, moving from problem to problem, creating dilemmas and confusion for young Jacob. I found that aspect of the book to be particularly well-done – not seeming to be the classic “un-related scene moves to un-related scene” over and over again. The imagery was also poignant; for instance, the usage of the pictures throughout the book added an element of creepiness that stuck with me throughout. The reason then, why I am giving this a four instead of five stars is a purely personal reason. I couldn’t relate. I’m not a 16 year old anymore, and much of his angst I found annoying and repetitive. If I had read this while in that phase of my life, I can imagine feeling much more about this character and book.
Unfortunately that’s passed. Other than that, however, the book is very well-written and without a doubt, a great YA read for anyone (younger or older). It comes highly recommended, especially for those in the teenager age class.
Rating: 4/5 Stars