Title: Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children
Author: Ransom Riggs
Publisher: Quirk Books
Publication Date: 7 Jun 2011
Synopsis: From Amazon
A mysterious island. An abandoned orphanage. And 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 who once lived here - one of whom was his own grandfather - were more than just peculiar. They may have been dangerous. They may have been quarantined on a desolate 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.
REVIEW BY BETHAN
When I first got hold of a copy of Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children, I must say I was intrigued...which is a rare thing for someone who spends most of their days surrounded by books! The phrase ‘don’t judge a book by its cover’ is, of course, very true, but it’s hard not to when a book has such a distinctive cover and premise as this one!
Anyway, down to the main business of the actual content of the book. The character of Jacob is very easy to empathise with, especially with his lack of friends and blatant ‘outsider’ status. His childlike belief in his grandfather’s tales and then dismissal of them as he ages is a feeling we can all identify with. When he loses his grandfather, the turmoil and emotion that Jacob goes through is stark and real, and nobody can seemingly reach him, and it is decided that a visit to the refugee home of his grandfather will be the only way of helping him to escape his grief and his lack of understanding about the death. Because Jacob’s grandfather hasn’t just left a trail of grief; he has also left a cryptic message that Jacob feels can only be solved with a visit to this tiny Welsh island.
The photographs are strange, eerie and beautiful. They are real vintage photographs taken from real collections, and they really add to the tale, without completely hindering the reader’s imagination of the tale. The fact that the only picture we see of Jacob is a silhouette is especially poignant, as he is only now discovering who he truly is. The photographs of the ‘peculiar’ children are very enigmatic and wonderful in their own way. The picture of the levitating girl that features on the cover shows her full of vulnerability which describes these children more powerfully than a whole descriptive paragraph could.
The plot begins slowly and sparingly, and draws you unconsciously in. It draws on WWII and the ideas of the persecution of the Jews, which makes you think at first that this could be a very different story. The visit to the island off the coast of Wales is full of description and here the plot slows; I felt the pace could have been more maintained. The story rattles on, and the ending does feel slightly rushed, though it is full of drama and does end on a cliff-hanger.
All in all, a good tale that twisted and turned; a few unseen reveals peppered the story and I did really enjoy it. There are flaws, but this is a very good debut novel from Ransom Riggs, and I am looking forward to the sequel that I am sure will be winging its way into stores before too long.