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.
Design – Doogie Horner Photo – courtesy of Yefim Tovbis Rating – 5/5
This cover. Yes. I love this cover. It’s interesting, unique, and compelling. The black and white photo is full of texture and it looks aged but not too aged. It’s creepy and it might take you a second to realize that the girl is hovering over the ground, not just standing there. The title is beautifully laid out and the hand-done lettering for ‘Peculiar Children’ is perfect. The inside is awesome too. The chapter pages are on ornate patterns that look old-fashioned, and the photos are noticeably aged – wrinkled, torn, etc. – and on pages with nice borders.
Miss Peregrine starts out pretty slow, but once it gets going it’s really interesting. I certainly didn’t see the twists and turns coming before they happened. I absolutely LOVE the creepy vintage photos in the book, and the fact that Ransom Riggs wrote the book based on these photos.
- photos/concept – The eerie, creepy photographs that are the backbone of the story are so interesting. They are real vintage found photos that Ransom Riggs has woven the story around and I think that’s such a cool concept. Some of the pictures have been edited, but they are all super strange. I just find each of them to be deeply interesting because they make me want to know the actual story behind each one, behind the people in them.
- Olive – I really like Olive. She’s funny, playful, and she brings levity (literally) to the book. Olive levitates constantly and must wear weighted shoes and be tied down to chairs. While many of the other children either have gloomy outlooks or dark powers (or both), Olive seems the most childlike and joyful.
- loops – The whole idea the Miss Peregrine had to freeze the children in time in order to save their lives is really cool. Anyone is this ‘time loop’ is reliving a single day for decades. They’re alive but they’re stuck – in their child-sized bodies, with the same old books and toys and technology, not able to leave to fulfill any dreams or have any adventures. I just found the whole concept fascinating and kind of wish it was explored more in-depth: brain development-wise are they the age of their bodies or the days they’ve lived?
- twists – A few things are unexpected in the sense that there’s so much else going on that you aren’t thinking about it. These are the things that don’t have much impact, like Jacob also being Peculiar – it just makes sense so it’s not surprising…it feels like something you’re being reminded of instead of told for the first time. There were some things that blew my mind though – the kind of twists that makes you gasp, and I love being surprised like that – in a way that makes you wonder how the heck the characters are going to deal with it.
- slow pace – Miss Peregrine starts off slowly. The beginning is full of Jacob listening to his grandfather’s stories, then pondering whether or not they’re true, and telling us the whole saga of when he stopped believing them. It takes 100 pages for the actual story to get underway. Everything before that is like being told about something that’s already happened, which left me wondering why this book is raved about and wondering when it was going to get interesting.
- the cairn – Jacob and the children are often described as crawling through the cairn in order to time travel. This phrasing is really confusing because the cairn is described as being some kind of burial cave, which only has one entrance. So if Jacob is crawling through the cairn to get to the Home for Peculiar Children, he’s not going through some kind of tunnel to the Home. He’s actually going to the cairn, crawling in it, crawling out of it, and then walking to the Home. It was confusing mainly because the book never mentions Jacob walking to the Home after being in the cairn. It’s Jacob crawling in the cairn, then he’s at the Home instantly.
- Emma + Jacob – Emma is Jacob’s grandfather Abe’s childhood sweetheart. She’s a child who has been living the same day for 80 years, carefully preserving her memories of Abe. Emma reacts like a child when she realizes Abe is dead – she runs away in tears even though surely she must have realized sometime over the past near-century that he was never coming back. I don’t mean to criticize the poor girl for how she handles her grief, but I just don’t see any genuine connection or relationship between Emma and Jacob. They just met and to me it seems like their relationship is randomly thrown in for a romance factor that really isn’t needed. It just doesn’t fit with the tone of the story. Plus it’s vaguely creepy to me. Emma’s upset because Abe isn’t coming back to be with her, yet she takes up with Jacob, who is living proof that her former love moved on with his life without her.
There were wooden toys moldering in a box; crayons on a windowsill, their colors dulled by the light of ten thousand afternoons; a dollhouse with dolls inside, lifers in an ornate prison. In a modest library, the creep of moisture had bowed the shelves into crooked smiles. – pg. 103
Then I heard a single airplane engine cut through the rest. It was close, and getting closer. Panic flooded me. ‘This is the night they were killed. Not just the night, but the moment.’ Could it be, I wondered, that these children died every evening only to be resurrected by the loop, like some Sisyphean suicide cult, condemned to be blown up and stitched back together for eternity? – Jacob pg. 170-171