Monday, October 10, 2011

Book Review: Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggins

Title: Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children
Author: Ransom Riggins
Genre: YA, fantasy
Published: 2011

I had this buzzed-about book on my list to read from the minute I heard of it. The background is so insanely cool, I couldn't help get excited. The author collects old photographs as a hobby. If you've ever been to a flea market or antique store and saw a box of unsorted vintage photos, this is what he collects. In particular, he became fascinated by strange photos (think "circus freaks" and camera tricks) and wrote stories about the people in them. Eventually, this morphed into the basis for his book, which includes vintage photos within the pages. It's a unique way of storytelling as some of the photos directly relate to the plot and even assist in the continuation of the story.

The story itself is about 16-year-old Jacob, who when he was younger, adored his grandfather's tall tales of living in a home with refugee children during the second world war. He showed Jacob pictures of the fantastically gifted children, which are the vintage photos the author found or borrowed from a collector. Jacob believed all of it until he was a teenager.

When Jacob's grandfather is mysteriously killed in the woods, he thinks he sees a monster lurking in the shadows. Left with his grandfather's cryptic last words, Jacob travels with his father to an island in Wales where the refugee children's home still stands. He finds the abandoned home and uncovers the mystery of the childhood stories.

The photos set you up for a creepy and dark tale, but it's not so much creepy or dark. It depends on what type of story you're looking for whether this is a plus or minus. I wanted the threat to be bigger and the sense of danger to feel more urgent. The writing is clever, and the photos take the storytelling to a visual level, but I was hoping the story would be a little more inventive. A few of the photos felt out of place, like aspects of the plot were written in to accomodate them rather than it being a natural inspiration. It's defnitely an interesting concept which stands out among other urban fantasy young adult fiction.


  1. I've had this on my tbr list for what seems like forever :-)

  2. It wasn't quite what I expected but still worth reading. The photos are really cool.


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