Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children
Quirk Books, July 2011
This is marketed as a Young Adult book, but I think it’s probably more suitable for adults. The main character is 15 years old, but I would only recommend it to advanced readers and 11th grade plus.
Jacob Portman’s grandfather was always eccentric with his stories of a children’s home in Whales and pictures of his schoolmates who were always a little peculiar (one girl could levitate above the ground, another boy was completely invisible). Jacob always regarded the stories as fantastically made-up adventures of his grandfather, but when his grandfather dies suddenly from the attack of a wild animal, Jacob begins to question the truth behind the stories.
With help of his psychiatrist, Jacob and his father take a trip to Whales to visit the old orphanage where his grandfather grew up. It’s during this trip that Jacob comes to the realization that perhaps his grandfather wasn’t crazy after all. Although it takes Jacob a while to come to this realization after finding the destroyed, abandoned house.
Through his journey on the small Welsh island that operates on generator-run electricity, Jacob finds out more than he ever thought possible about his grandfather, and himself.
Miss Peregrine is from the same publishers of Pride & Prejudice & Zombies (et al.) I was excited to read the book, but found it drug a little in the beginning. I started to really get into the story about half-way through and I think one of the only things that saved it from being put down forever was the vintage photographs the author includes throughout the story, which really add to the reader’s experience. So often readers are left to visualize on their own, but the incorporation of the photographs did a great job adding to the story and kept me reading.
As I said earlier, it’s billed as a YA novel, but I think it’s for older YAs, college students and adults who like the sort of paranormal/science-fiction feel. It wasn’t something I’d recommend to everyone. The writing was coherent and consistent, but I think there was something lacking in the connection between the story and the reader.
While the ending definitely leads it open for a sequel, I’m not sure I’d continue through. Although, Riggs’ ideas behind the children’s peculiarities and the surrounding plot was definitely interesting and unique in several ways.
Overall, I’d say 3/5 stars.