This book was an impulse purchase of mine as I waited in line to buy my textbooks for this semester. And it was enjoyable and fun, but at the same time I expected something… different. I’m not sure what that was, but I almost thought that this book would be creepier (well, besides the old photographs, that is) or more intense than it turned out to be. But even so, this is still a fun book, and I expect a young adult audience that likes fantastical mystery would absolutely love it.
Miss Perengrine’s Home for Peculiar Children focuses on a teenage boy named Jacob, who grew up with his grandfather’s stories of the old orphanage he used to live in as a child, and all the strange children that lived there, hiding from the “monsters” in the world. As Jacob grows older, he believes less and less in his grandfather’s stories, that is, until his grandfather dies under mysterious circumstances, his dying words being somewhat of a riddle for Jacob to solve. As Jacob tries to get over his grandfather’s death and solve the puzzle left behind, he finds himself being drawn to his grandfather’s old stories, and eventually, to the Welsh island that started them all. Jacob is looking for closure as he goes to this small island that once housed the orphanage his grandfather grew up in, but when he gets there, he finds so much more than he bargained for. And more than anything, Jacob learns that all those stories he was told as a child may in fact have been true.
Before writing this novel, Ransom Riggs has begun collecting old vintage photographs from flea markets and other collectors. Throughout the book, you see these images being tied into the story seamlessly, giving it an old and eerie feeling. The photographs themselves appear to have lives and stories to be told of them on their own, and Ransom Riggs really uses this to his advantage in Miss Peregrine’s. The story itself if straightforward enough, and full of mystery and wonder. I did, however, find it to drag in the middle, only to be stuffed with action right at the end, which made the pace seem a little uneven at times. The action is also very… I don’t know how to describe it exactly, but, typical in a way? Though I must say, leaving the ending open as it did was a very successful choice, yet I know a sequel will be coming soon which may change the overall uncertain but hopeful mood that is left at the end of this novel. In any case, Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children is a reasonably fast and enjoyable read, though in my opinion, not exactly one for the ages.
[Be sure to check out more reviews on the Cannonball Read group blog]