Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children
by Ransom Riggs
Summary: A mysterious island. An abandoned orphanage. And 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.This book wasn't at all what I was expecting -- actually, I'm not sure I knew what to expect, but it was kind of brilliant. I adored the book, it was odd in a good way and definitely one of the more original books I've read over the past few years.
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 who once lived here—one of whom was his own grandfather—were more than just peculiar. They may have been dangerous. They may have been quarantined on a desolate island for good reason. And somehow—impossible though it seems—they may still be alive.
I loved the writing, it was one of those books that had me putting little scraps of paper throughout the book to mark the pages with quotes that I liked. A few non-spoilery ones that I liked:
“When someone won’t let you in, eventually you stop knocking. Know what I mean?”
“We cling to our fairy tales until the price for believing them becomes too high.”
I loved the characters. I don't read a lot of books with male protagonists, but it's books like this one that make me want to change that -- Jacob was awesome. He kind of reminded me of Charlie from Perks of Being a Wallflower a little bit; likeable, awkward, comes across as both unique and a normal teenager, which isn't an easy thing to do (The Perks of Being a Wallflower is one of my favourite books, so please note that comparison as a big compliment). I adored his grandad, although we didn't see him much, and the relationship he had with him. All of the peculiar children and Miss Peregrine were great. Basically, all of the characters, even the minor ones that we don't see much of, were awesome and had distinct personalities.
I mentioned this in my In My Mailbox post the week I got the book, but the book is gorgeous. It's packaged really well and I loved the pictures were woven throughout the story -- the pictures themselves were awesome; creepy and odd with that cool old fashioned feel that makes me want to go explore old abandoned places. Basically, Quirk Books, Book covers/interiors: you're doing it so, so right. Even if the book wasn't awesome, which it was, it'd be one I'd like having on my shelves purely for its visual awesomeness.
There wasn't really anything I particularly disliked about the book. The only negative was that some parts of the book (just after the beginning but before it got to the middle) got a little slow, but even then it still had the writing, characters and awesome weirdness as a crutch to make me keep reading through those parts until the pace quickened.
This isn't the type of book I would normally read just from the summary (cover lust and hearing good things about it put it on my to read list), but I'm really glad I read it and I think you should give it a chance too, even if it's not your usual kind of book.