When I checked out Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs, I didn’t know what to expect. In fact, I was so excited about the book (which came highly recommended) that I didn’t read anything about it—not even the book jacket—because I wanted to be completely surprised.
Generally I try not to judge a book by its cover, but this one evokes the sort of atmosphere that Riggs creates so well in the story within: unsettling and slightly chilling. When I opened the book, I became completely immersed in a tale as creepy as the cover itself.
Jacob’s grandfather has always told him strange stories; then again, Jacob’s grandfather has experienced great tragedy in his life which he doesn’t much like to talk about. The two are close, and although Jacob wants to believe that his grandfather’s tales are true, he isn’t sure if he should. After all, is it possible that a boy with bees living inside of him actually exists? What about a girl who can create fire from thin air? When Jacob experiences his own tragedy, he decides to visit the strange island in Wales where his grandfather claims to have spent his youth. Jacob’s parents agree–anything to make the nightmares stop–and Jacob and his father travel to the island together. While his father is working on his novel, Jacob sneaks away to try to find the orphanage which supposedly housed these supernatural-sounding characters: Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children. What he finds only makes him ask more questions…
I won’t tell you what Jacob does find, but suffice it to say that this book is part mystery, part fantasy, and part sci-fi. As strange as this mix sounds, the book is effortlessly intriguing: Riggs creates a page-turning mixture of past and present. Like most books that deal with parallel time (I’ll only say that this one does), I had a lot of questions when I was done, and wanted to read it again. As a debut novel, this one was quite impressive; I’ll look forward to the sequel.
The book is interspersed with photographs which make the story even more vivid. One of the most interesting details about the photographs is that they’re real. The author’s seamless blending of real and imaginary made this book one that I would recommend.