It’s that time! Time to discuss Miss Peregrine’s Home For Peculiar Childrena debut novel by Ransom Riggs. Miss Peregrine was the first book selected for Fall Book Club, brainchild of the lovely Tracey Neithercott.

From Goodreads: 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.

First, can I just say: This is a beautiful book. The cover is intriguingly spooky, the pages are smooth and thick and creamy-white, the photography is mysterious and thought-provoking, and the chapter pages are burgundy and patterned. Miss Peregrine even has that crisp, expensive-paper scent… such a delight to read.

Overall, I enjoyed this book, mostly because of main character Jacob. He was exactly the type of protagonist I love: sharp, witty, analytical, and intensely aware of his short-comings, which gave a dose of dry humor to an otherwise serious story. And I’ll add: Ransom Riggs is a master of the adverb. I love nothing more, style-wise, than a well placed, brilliantly executed adverb. There were so many in Miss Peregrine, and they totally added to the coolness of Jacob’s personality and voice.

(An interesting side-note: Jacob’s voice reminded me a lot of Miles from John Green’s Looking For Alaska, which is funny because I after I finished Miss Peregrine, I noticed the complimentary blurb by John Green printed on the back of the book’s jacket!)

Now, while I loved Jacob’s narration, I found it to be almost too reflective to be considered YA. That’s not a bad thing, necessarily, but I’m just not sure why the book is marketed to a YA audience. It seems more as if Jacob is looking back on the events from an adult perspective, relaying them to us with a wisdom gained through time and experience, much like Lee from Curtis Sittenfeld’s Prep, an (awesome) adult novel about a teen in boarding school.

Miss Peregrine is a… peculiar story. Hard to define. It’s got a bit of everything: horror, fantasy, history, time travel, romance, and those eerie photographs that gave me the shivers on more than one occasion. The book was so fanciful, in fact, that a plausible conclusion was hard to fathom. I kept wondering if it would  end with Jacob waking up safe and sound in bed, remembering an incredible dream. (It didn’t, just so you know. That would have been so lame!)

Still, the ending, in my opinion, was the tiniest bit unsatisfying. To me, it read as sort of muddled, and it was open-ending (though with a beautiful accompanying photograph). The lack of a hard and fast conclusion bothered me until I read that Ransom Riggs is writing a sequel. I’m quite curious to see where he’ll take Jacob’s story in the next installment.

Miss Peregrine’s Home For Peculiar Children is definitely a book I’d recommend. It’s beautifully written, full of deep, layered characters, and while it deals with themes that are common (finding one’s self, death, overcoming depression), it’s just so different. Worth the read!

Have you read Miss Peregrine? What did you think? And don’t forget to visit Tracey’s blog for links to the other reviews!


16 thoughts on “Fall Book Club – MISS PEREGRINE

  1. Tracey Neithercott says:

    You’re so right about the adverbs. Usually they bother me in a book, but I agree that they’re used brilliantly. It definitely adds a strangeness to the writing that works with the tone of the story.

    And I’m so glad there’s a sequel. The ending was fun and quick but, yeah, total cliffhanger!

    Thanks for participating! I think I’ll do this again. It was fun. 🙂

    • katyupperman says:

      Yes, definitely do it again, Tracey! It’s been such fun to blog hop and read everyone’s thoughts about the book. Thanks again for organizing… can’t wait to see what next month’s pick will be. 🙂

  2. Rebecca B says:

    Now that you mention it–he was pretty masterful with the adverbs. I should take some notes on that!
    I agree that something was a little off with the YA voice. Maybe if it had been more clearly defined where (in time) the narrator was speaking from, that would have helped.

    • katyupperman says:

      You’re right about the place in time, Rebecca. It had a very Stand By Me feel, in my opinion… a man looking back on a crazy adventure from his childhood. Not that that’s a bad thing, but it makes me wonder about the whole YA marketing plan.

  3. lindy says:

    Nice review! I must admit to being a tad bit jealous. I’d suspected this was one of those books that would be awesome in person, but alas, I waited too long to order it in, so ended up purchasing it through Nook and reading it on my iPad. The pictures were crystal clear and what not, but it’s not quite the same thing. Also, I agree with your comments on the ending. I flipped the page expecting more and was surprised to find it was over.

    • katyupperman says:

      Yeah, I definitely thought the ending was a bit too abrupt. I’m curious about what’ll happen in the next book. You should definitely go for the book-version next time… it really was beautiful.

  4. Kathy Coleman (@Katallina) says:

    I had a hard time staying interested in the beginning. It improved once Jacob met the other children and continued to get better as the story went on. I’m glad that I read it for this, as it ensured that I finished it. I wish that the other children, aside from Emma and Jacob, had been given more characterization. I will say that Enoch was memorable. Also, the “romance” between Emma and Jacob was probably the creepiest thing in the entire book, and I *like* romance…

    • katyupperman says:

      Yes, the more I think about the romance, the weirder it seems. It’s one of those things I have to kind of gloss over because if I think to hard about it, it distracts me from the book’s merits. And you’re right, I would have liked to have learned more about the other Peculiars… I wonder if they’ll be fleshed out more in the sequel?

  5. Alison Miller says:

    I really liked this one too, and like you, the writing fascinated me almost as much as the story. I had the same comparisons running through my head with John Green characters and actually thought it was rather Harry Potter-esque at times.

    I would recommend this to others too; in fact, my twelve year old’s reading it right now. 🙂

    • katyupperman says:

      Ooh, I hope your twelve-year-old enjoys it! Seems like a novel that really spans the ages; I think middle-graders all the way through adults can find something to like about MISS PEREGRINE, especially because it’s such a genre bender.

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