Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children
Series: Yes, #1
UK Publisher: Quirk Publishing
UK Release date: June 2011
Kindly given by the publisher for an honest review
Jacob grew up listening fondly to his grandfather's stories of monsters, and looking at his collection of strange photographs. Everyone believed them to be just fairy stories and tales of fighting Nazis during the War. But when Jacob sees a strange creature in the woods near his grandfather's dead body, he starts thinking the stories might be true. A trip to the Welsh island and abandoned children's home will help him discover the truth behind the stories and unusual pictures.
Review: Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children wasn’t what I expected. From the images on the cover I imagined it to be really creepy and sinister, and whilst there were some eerie undertones particularly at the start of the book, the story progressed into something almost enchanting. Although it wasn't as scary as I thought it might be, I certainly wasn't disappointed.
The use of old photographs throughout the book to show what the peculiar children look like and can do was brilliant and to start slightly creepy. Like Jacob I couldn't help but wonder, are they real or are they hoaxes? The way Riggs weaved the story of Jacob, his grandfather and the peculiar children around these odd collections of pictures is unique and fascinating. His blending of fiction and non-fiction was well executed to create something completely different from anything else I have read.
I could see why Jacob’s family put the grandfather’s stories down to tall tales and why the peculiar children hid away from the world. Following Jacob’s discovery of these unusual people and with the photographic ‘evidence’ I felt part of a hidden and secret world. The children themselves are intriguing and vaguely reminiscent of performers in old circus or oddity shows; one young girl can lift extraordinarily heavy things, and one young boy is invisible. The world they live in is so magical and precious, but I don't want to say more and spoil the story, as you have to discover the children for yourself!
On a few occasions Jacob’s voice didn't naturally fit his character age of 16, sometimes seeming far older and knowledgeable or in contrast over-compensating with jarring slang. As the book progressed though Jacob’s voice found its feet and felt more real. Despite this, I felt the first half of the story was much stronger because of the mystery and intriguing plot. There are still questions and an open plot left at the end to keep you guessing and wondering what might happen to the children next.
A unique and visually stunning debut novel, Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children is different to anything else out on the YA market and will have you pouring over the unusual images and photos.