Title: Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children
Author: Ransom Riggs
Series: Miss Peregrine #1
Published: June 7, 2011
Opening Sentence: “I had just come to accept that my life would be ordinary when extraordinary things began to happen.”
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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.
I was so attracted to Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children from the get-go, even before I had an inkling as to what it’s about. Vintage photos and a novel together? YA and photography as one? Yes, absolutely! I had never heard of anything like it and that made it all the more appealing. (Let me know if you know of anything similarly awesome.)
Even after I read the jacket on the book I hadn’t the faintest what to expect from this novel. I was let off thinking maybe the peculiar children were dangerous and, I don’t know, murderous or something. I was steeling myself for something much darker than what I ultimately read. Don’t get me wrong! I thoroughly enjoyed reading this novel and am absolutely planning to read the next one when it comes out.
I’ve always thought it’s probably pretty difficult to create something with both “horror” aspects and children and not make the children either extremely helpless or super evil. I guess when you have eighty-year-old children it’s a different story, because Ransom Riggs seems to have succeeded in the venture. The children in Miss Peregrine’s home have been alive for years, but look and act like children still. Even so, they were brave and mature when they needed to be and, in the case of the older kids (I’m talking teenagers as opposed to younger kids), had no problem stepping up to the plate when the events in the story became more challenging. It would have been so easy for Riggs to claim that in all the years these people have been alive they haven’t matured at all, but he didn’t and I’m so grateful for it.
The main character, Jacob, did some growing up himself and had to make rather difficult decisions along the way. His character development was wonderful. In a way this story was slightly “coming-of-age” because he started out as an irritable and scared teenager who, by the end, was stronger, wiser, and ready to face life, whatever it may throw at him… in other words: more of an adult.
Okay, so now what? The story ended on a cliffhanger that leaves just about anything open to happen in the next book. I saw somewhere Ransom Riggs said the next book will be out some time in 2013, so you’d better believe I’m going to jump on it when it surfaces. As for the first installment, I was terrifically impressed and happy that I read it (and liked it). Riggs’s writing style is unique, funny, and gripping and I’m beyond excited to read other novel by him. Until then, I hope to have this one sitting on my bookshelf sometime in the near future.