When it comes to tastes in books, mine typically run toward fantasy and fiction. That being said, I do love reading a wide variety of genres within the fictional world- high fantasy, urban fantasy, cyberpunk, space operas, post apocalyptic… You get the picture. I also read books for people of all ages. Recently I completed the highly acclaimed Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs.
Here is the excerpt from the book jacket:
A mysterious island.
An abandoned orphanage.
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 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.
I’m going to state right off that my review of this book might be a little bit biased. I have read several YA fiction novels over the last year and I have to admit, they’re starting to feel a bit stale. I got about halfway through this book and set it down because I was bored with it. I had to force myself to finish. Being another YA novel, the plot was somewhat predictable and the story of young love was a bit forced and awkward due to some… interesting family relationships.
That being said, I enjoyed the book overall, despite my current exasperation with YA fiction, and would give it four out of five stars. The book was smoothly written with an intriguing overall concept and haunting imagery. There was an interesting mix of modern day issues- the death of close family, parental pressure to succeed, the confusion of blooming adolescent feelings- all within a vivid 1940’s era setting.
The author also made the amazing choice to base the story around strange historic photographs, using the figures in the portraits as characters in his book. I found myself paging back and forth while reading to glance at the next set of old photos and wonder what might happen next. The photos helped set the stage for the spooky, haunted feeling of the novel.
Overall a good read. This wasn’t necessarily one of my favorite books from the past year, but I would recommend it as a fun, easy read.