03 June 2011

Review: Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children

Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs

Description: 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. 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.

Review: When I first picked up this book, the first thing I thought was, I can't read this book at night. I'll have nightmares. This will be a day book. The pictures on the front and back cover, however, was deceiving. The photographs in the book were not that scary. Creepy, yes. Heart-racing-when-you-turn-the-page-and-you-see-a-man-with-tentacles-coming-out-of-his-mouth, yes. But not scary. They were very interesting and a beautiful tie-in to the novel.

Miss Peregrine's tells the story of a young boy named Jacob Portman. He's living pretty well, and works at one of thousands of stores that his uncles own. However, on his dad's side, things aren't going so swell. His grandfather tells Jacob these stories of children with amazing powers: float, lift boulders, produce fire in their hands, and have bees in their stomach. They live in a magnificent house, with a lovely headmaster. As a child, Jacob listened to these stories with awe, but as he got older, he saw the stories for what they were: fairy tales. They're not real. Children can't float and monsters aren't real.

When his grandfather gets attacked by "dogs" and is dying in Jacobs arms, he mutters something about a letter, and the bird. He finds out where this house is, and plans on visiting it with his father, Franklin, who believes his father was suffering from severe dementia. When they arrive on the island, Jacobs childhood comes back to him: All the stories were true! He meets these peculiar children, and learn about their, and his grandfathers history. And an epic adventure begins.

I really liked Jacob's character. He changed drastically from the beginning of the book, which is natural because he has to take on these evil beings. He made very hard decisions, that a normal child shouldn't have to face. I mean, normally, teens don't have to worry about saving a bird, which is the headmistress, because that bird can tell him all about his past. On the topic of characters, I loved all the peculiar children. They were all so unique, and they're interactions felt so fluid, so family-like, that it was easy to understand that they lived together, everyday, for eighty years.

You couldn't help but feel sorry for these children. You see, they live in a loop, which is a repeat of the same day forever. They cannot leave this loop, because then time will catch up with them and they'll shrivel up and die. When Jacobs comes to visit them, the children learn of his new technology, and all the events that have happened since their loop, September 3, 1940. That's all I could think about while reading; How can you live that way? Not ever travelling forward. Just staying in the same day, and never being about to see what lays ahead of you. That's just really sad.

Onto the pictures: THEY WERE AMAZING! They were the coolest add-ons to the book. Like the letters and stuff between the characters was awesome. And when Grandpa Portman was first introducing the peculiar children to Jacob, and you got to see pictures of the children portraying their special skill, it was really cool. I thnik that was really cool of the author, for actually taking these photos and then incorporating them into the book. So, good job, Mr. Riggs!! The pictures of the wights, or the bad guys, were sooo creepy. Basically, a wight is a human with no pupils. And Mr. Riggs decided to make Santa Claus a wight. It was terrifying.

Overall, I've never read a book that was so unique as Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children. I'm very happy with the ending, and will be more than glad if Riggs leaves it at that. But, obviously, I will read whatever comes out next with Ransom Riggs name on it :)

PS: Nice use of SAT words, a lot of them were on my flashcards :P

"I don't mean to be rude," I said, "but what are you people?"
"We're peculiar," he replied, sounding a bit puzzled. "Aren't you?"
-Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children; Ransom Riggs

Quirk Books just released the trailer today, so if you have time, check it out :D


  1. I loved this book! The photographs were amazing. I'm happy with the ending, too, and like you, I will definitely read whatever Ransom Riggs publishes next--and I hope that whatever it is, it comes with more photographs!

  2. Oh how interesting. That cover is ridiculously haunting and the synopsis sounds even better!