Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs
Built around real vintage photographs, this book is itself a lovely oddity. Jacob’s grandfather has been telling him stories his entire life. Stories that are filled with monsters, death and magic. But when Jacob becomes a teen, he knows better than to believe his grandfather’s stories any more. In fact, his grandfather is losing touch with reality, babbling about needing weapons and being in danger. When Jacob goes to check on him, he discovers his grandfather mauled and dying in the forest. It is his grandfather’s last words that take Jacob on a journey to a remote island in Wales. There he finds a deserted orphanage where his grandfather had once stayed as a teen during World War II. There are still signs of the children who once lived there, but they point to children who were peculiar and strange. And even stranger, they may still be alive.
The story is slow moving at first, but picks up into a whirlwind pace by the end. In between, the reader will delight in solving the mystery of the orphanage and what is to be found there. Riggs has created two very vivid settings in the remote island and the orphanage. They are beautifully rendered in his prose, creating worlds within worlds like a nesting doll.
This fantasy has the added delight of the vintage photographs, which bring a strange sense of altered reality to the book that works particularly well. Riggs has created a strong but human protagonist in Jacob, who struggles with fears but turns out to be very brave and driven. The mystery of the book entwines itself around the story, always nudging to be noticed and wondered at.
Riggs has written a peculiar book in the best sense of the word. This unique read will have both teens and adults entering a suspenseful world of monsters, children and magic. Appropriate for ages 14-adult.
Reviewed from library copy.