While walking around Book Expo America this past May, one of the best book covers I caught a glimpse of (in big poster format no less) was the cover of Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs at the Quirk Books booth. Right away I thought to myself that this would be the PERFECT book to read for Carl V.’s RIP challenge. I was extremely excited to get a copy of the book from the publisher and as soon as RIP started I dug right in!
Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children is a Young adult novel, a coming of age story about Jacob, a teenager living an oh-so-normal life with his parents in Florida. Jacob has a very close relationship with his grandfather Abe, even if Abe seems to be a bit on the eccentric side. When Jacob was little, Abe would tell him fantastic stories of a children’s home in Wales where he claimed to spend a good portion of his own childhood, being sent there when the Nazi’s invaded Poland. He showed Jacob a few photographs, all of children with strange, super-natural abilities. As Jacob grows older, he starts to doubt his grandfather’s tall tales and isn’t forced into thinking about them until, with his dying breath, Abe cryptically encourages Jacob to find The bird on the island where the supposed Children’s home stands. When Jacob and his father trek to the remote island, Jacob only finds the ruins of the home, left over from bombings during WWII. But with the finding of a chest full or strange photographs, what is real and fantasy blur and Jacob finds himself face to face with some very strange, very peculiar children.
Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children is an fantastic gothic fantasy, made even better with hauntingly beautiful vintage photography collected by the author. Riggs masterfully weaves the photographs and story together, until you can hardly tell the difference between truth and fiction. I found myself drawn to Jacob’s character (and all the children in the book) and was really rooting for Jacob in his search for the truth.
I don’t remember caring so much about a young protagonist since I read 12 year old David’s story in John Connelly’s The Book of Lost Things (my review here) which was another beautifully written fantasy novel, with creepy undertones. I would also say that this book reminded me of a children’s book that I read a few years ago – The Mysterious Benedict Society by Trenton Lee Stewart (my review here). Even though Stewart’s book is far less sinister than Miss Peregrines (and targets a younger audience – my nine year old is currently reading it) I think that they are both extremely imaginative, whimsical stories that are fully realized.
Overall, I loved Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children and enjoyed spending time in the incredibly inventive world.
Great news for fans of Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children! Quirk books just announced that there will be a sequel to the book (currently untitled) due out Spring 2013. Also, film rights have been sold to Twentieth Century Fox! Thanks again Quirk for sending me this wonderful book for review. I read this book for Carl’s RIP challenge.