Book Title/Author: Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs
Publisher/Year: Published June 7th 2011 by Quirk
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy
Series: (Miss Peregrine’s Peculiar Children #1)
“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.
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.” (Goodreads)
I was drawn to Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children because of the eerie photos and the start of the synopsis: “mysterious island. An abandoned orphanage. A strange collection of curious photographs”. And with that I was intrigued and requested a copy from my local library.
Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children tells the story of a 16-year-old boy, Jacob, who grew up hearing his grandfather’s stories about his own childhood during World War II. Grandpa escaped the Holocaust by taking refuge on a Welsh island, at an orphanage that catered to children with strange powers and his stories. As Jacob enters his teen years, he begins to believe that his grandfather’s stories are just tales and fantasies, but when tragedy happens, Jacob reconsiders his Grandpa’s bedtime stories.
I enjoyed was the photographs, but thought that their delivery into the text was done poorly. Let me explain: there are black-and-white photos are scattered throughout the book that demand to be looked at and they’re somewhat on the eerie side, but the text and story does not deliver that same level of scary or creepiness. I would not recommend this book if you’re looking for a thrilling Halloween-like read, read if you’re more in the mood for Young Adult and a bit of the paranormal.
I greatly disliked the narrator/main character, who is spoiled, childish, and an ungrateful little bastard. I like to relate to the main character, or at the very least empathize with the, but Jacob is a rich and privileged kid who whines over the life his loving parents have provided and paid for, take for example this gem of a quote:
If I never went home, what exactly would I be missing? I pictured my cold cavernous house, my friendless town full of bad memories, the utterly unremarkable life that had been mapped out for me.
His bad attitude only continues into his work and his relationship with his “best friend” (which is not his friend anymore):
- Jacob has a job but takes it for granted by showing up late and deliberately making mistakes in hopes of getting fired.
- He also loses his best friend after making a crude Mom-joke
At the end of the book, I still felt a lack of connection with the characters — not just Jacob, but all of them because they were not flushed– and I completed the book still feeling there were some loose-ends to the story…but I guess that’s why there is two other books.
“Only women are born ymbrynes, and thank heaven for that! Males lack the seriousness of temperament required of persons with such grave responsibilities.”
“When someone won’t let you in, eventually you stop knocking.”
“At times, young man, you tread a precariously thin line between being charmingly headstrong and insufferably pigheaded.”
“I used to dream about escaping my ordinary life, but my life was never ordinary. I had simply failed to notice how extraordinary it was. Likewise, I never imagined that home might be something I would miss. Yet as we stood loading our boats in the breaking dawn, brand-new precipice of Before and After, I thought of everything I was about to leave behind — my parents, my town, my once-best-and-only friend — and I realize that leaving wouldn’t be like I had imagined, like casting of a weight. Their memory was something tangible and heavy, and I would carry it with me.”