It’s that time! Time to discuss Miss Peregrine’s Home For Peculiar Children, a 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!