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By: Ransom Riggs
Published by: Quirk Books
Format of Review Copy: Hardback
Synopsis (from Amazon):
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.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.
I’m going to try to get through this without any spoilers, guys. I do realize I’m probably the last person on the planet to read this, so worrying about spoilers is silly, BUT, just in case…
This book follows Jacob Portman. At the beginning of the book, we meet Jacob and his eccentric Grandfather. Abe, the grandfather, has spent Jacob’s entire life telling Jacob fantastical stories about his youth. As Jacob gets older and starts to doubt in these stories, Abe’s Alzheimer’s disease advances and the family attributes his odd behavior to his Dementia. It is quite touching and to, me, someone who’s own grandmother has advanced Alz, very sad. A very unfortunate accident sets this story and Jacob on a quest to find out the truth about his grandfather’s past.
I loved the cast of characters we get to meet in this story. Each of them, even the bad ones, felt fleshed out. Their personalities and behaviors all felt “right” for the lives and experiences they each have endured in their lifetimes. Abe, the grandfather, reminded me so much of my Pap. Jacob and the way he almost idolized his grandfather, and his stories. Emma and Miss Peregrine, I can’t imagine them any other way than the way they were written.
This book felt so different to anything I’ve read before. Ransom Riggs used random “odd” photos he had collected, and crafted a story around them. He used the photos to reinforce the story in the readers mind. What it did was help build, somehow, a stronger connection between me (the reader) and the characters in the story. It helped make them “real”. Photos aren’t like illustrations, someone didn’t imagine them and then draw them – they are real people, not imaginary. The story fabricated around them may be a work of fiction, but the photos allow the mind to wonder, for however short of a time, “what if”. Really, WHAT IF?
In the end, this story is: a time traveling, historical fiction, action, adventure, horror, (urban) fantasy, thriller.
I absolutely LOVED this and I can NOT wait until book two comes out! The story is fantastic, and… AND… the book is actually constructed beautifully, both the cover and the end pages, the only thing missing was deckled pages!
This series is a little on the creepy side. There is a little language and some violence. I would recommend for probably ages 10+
For Parents and Students:
ATOS Book Level: 5.7
Interest Level: Upper Grades (UG 9-12)
AR Points: 13.0
Word Count: 84898
Awards and Such:
Winner-VOYA: The Perfect Tens
Winner-Benjamin Franklin Award/Nominee
YALSA Teens’ Top Ten
YALSA Readers’ Choice
YALSA Best Fiction for Young Adults
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