Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children

by Ransom Riggs

Hardcover, 2011

Status

Available

Publication

Quirk Books (2011), Edition: 1st, 352 pages

Description

After a family tragedy, Jacob feels compelled to explore an abandoned orphanage on an island off the coast of Wales, discovering disturbing facts about the children who were kept there.

Media reviews

Boken är knappast ett stilistiskt mästerverk. Dialogerna krystas stundom fram och vissa figurer är lika blodfattiga som de spöken som förföljer dem. Det som gör verket unikt är bilderna
4 more
The author’s ability to use the photos to play with the reader’s imagination, while still holding the tension of the plot, is extraordinary. This kind of device can feel like a self-conscious reminder of the authorial hand, but this is not the case in Miss Peregrine’s Home.
In Miss Peregrine’s, a teenager decides to investigate the stories his grandfather told him about an island off the coast of Wales. He finds more than he bargained for, of course, and there are adventures, involving a group of kids with remarkable abilities which are almost, but not quite, entirely similar to mutants from X-Men comics. For a story constructed to make use of a collection of vintage snapshots, it’s impressively cohesive, and there’s certainly nothing wrong with yet another recounting of the hero’s journey from callow youth to manhood. But the book never lives up to its own aesthetic, and the story refuses to get past surface level on the occasional odd idea or intriguing concept. Whatever its faults, Miss Peregrine’s only true sin is that, presentation aside, it isn’t really that peculiar.
Entertainment Weekly
Those Creepy Pictures Explained The idea for Miss Peregrine's Home popped into Ransom Riggs' head when he ran across some sinister-looking vintage photos, which ''suggest stories even though you don't know who the people are or exactly when they were taken.'' As he began writing, he kept searching for images, even combing swap meets and flea markets. ''I was developing the story as I was finding the photos. I'd find a particularly evocative photo and I'd say, 'I need to work this in somehow.' '' Most are reproduced in the novel ''as is,'' but a few have been digitally altered. Riggs says he ended up with more photos than he could use: ''I have a nice big fat backlog for the second book.'' — Keith Staskiewicz
With its X-Men: First Class-meets-time-travel story line, David Lynchian imagery, and rich, eerie detail, it's no wonder Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children has been snapped up by Twentieth Century Fox. This is a novel with ''movie adaptation'' written into its powerful DNA. B+

User reviews

LibraryThing member lkernagh
Okay, how can anyone resist at least glancing at a book with such a Gothic title and the intriguing cover photo of a levitating girl in period piece dress? Not me, that is for sure!

the YA narrator of this story is 16 year old Jacob. Like most kids, Jacob was fascinated by the strange, outlandish tales his grandfather would tell Jacob of his time spent at a home on an island off the coast of Wales during the second World War. A home filled with, according to the tales Jacob's grandfather told, peculiar children with unique abilities. As a teenager, Jacob grows to question his grandfather's tall tales as myths and lies until the day of his grandfather's unexpected death, leaving Jacob facing nightmares and countless sessions with a therapist. When Jacob discovers a mysterious letter, he decides to journey to Wales to visit the place where his grandfather grew up.

This story drew me in with the prologue and I settled in expecting a haunting, Gothic ride of creepiness and, well, peculiarity. The first couple of chapters, after the prologue, left me a little disappointed and wondering where the story I was expecting had disappeared to. I was starting to feel that a bait and switch had occurred and I wasn't overly amused at that prospect, but the odd sniff of a creepy Gothic mystery would peek out at me from time to time, along with the intriguing Victorian-like photos of unusual portraits that cropped up from time to time, so I continued reading. I am so glad I did. Yes, the story did grow into something fascinating and did finally became a page-turning adventure for me. Not quite the Gothic horror I was expecting but still enough creepiness - and monsters, lets not forget monsters! - to make this a fun, October/Halloween read for anyone that like to ramp up their creepy, suspense reading during that time of year.

Overall, a good alternate reality adventure with a bit of Gothic creepiness, Victorian weirdness (courtesy of the photos scattered throughout the book) packed in a time travel ride I think both YA and adults will enjoy. The ending left off with the potential for a sequel so, one can always hope that there is a book #2 in the works under Riggs' pen.
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LibraryThing member auntmarge64
What a treat this book is! Part suspense, part fantasy, and beguilingly unique.

A teenage boy (Jacob) finds his grandfather dying - the grandfather who used to tell fantastic stories of his childhood at a strange island orphanage in Wales and illustrate his tales with photos of odd-looking children and descriptions of monsters. The grandfather pleads with him to go to the island, where he'll be safe, whispers some enigmatic phrases and then "I should've told you a long time ago", and dies, and as Jacob copes with his grief, he determines to travel to the island and search out the truth. What he finds will forever change his life.

Magical, thrilling, and lovingly illustrated with the photos and letters described in the story. This is one of those books that will appeal to adults and older kids equally, and I'm going to pass it on to my 11- and 20-year old nieces and see what they think.
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LibraryThing member arielfl
This seems to be a very polarizing book. People seem to either love it or hate it. Sadly I was on the disappointed side. I won't rehash the plot, there was so little and it seems to be completely raked over in other reviews. The main problem for me was that the pictures were the focus and the story was an after thought. There are places where the author is really reaching to connect the pictures to the story. A secondary problem was that the main character was making out with a girl who made out with his grandfather. Too weird for me. I thought the creepy pictures would facilitate a great story but something got lost in the execution of the book. I didn't connect enough to the characters in the book to want to pursue a sequel. I think it will be enough to leaf through the pictures. By the way, I read this for the R.I.P. challenge currently being held over at Stainless Steel Droppings. You should swing by and check out some of the other reviews as this seems to be a popular challenge choice.… (more)
LibraryThing member ken1952
A fine fantasy novel, accompanied by eerie photographs, about a teen traumatized by his grandfather's death. His desire to learn the truth about his grandfather's life leads him to an island off Wales where he learns the secrets, wonders and dangers of Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children. Looking forward to the next installment.… (more)
LibraryThing member Whisper1
Highly creative and original, this was indeed a very interesting book. Shiny bright in some chapters, but lacking in patina in the later pages, much has been said about this book. There are some very positive comments, and then others could not abide the tale. I'm smack in the middle of feeling luke warm.

For most of his life, Jacob has listened to graphic tales spoken by his grandfather. Attributing the conversations to dementia, Jacob listened with interest, then boredom. When his grandfather is killed by a strange creature, Jacob begins a quest to get to the bottom of his grandfather's references.

Journeying with his father to a secluded island in Wales, Jacob finds strange children who are particularly abnormal. Among those in the care of Miss Peregrine is a girl who can float, another who has a mouth in front and in back of her face, a young man who can lift incredibly large boulders, a boy who is invisible and a charming girl who flicks fire at the end of her fingers.

Realizing that these are those mentioned by his grandfather, Jacob is able to transport into a time warp -- a loop where the date is always the same and time is frozen in place.

Augmented by various photos of the peculiars throughout the book, done in sepia duotone, the tale becomes more eerie and surreal.

Realizing that his grandfather was a peculiar and he is as well, Jacob must make a decision to stay or return home with his father.

The first chapters were wonderfully creative, but the later part of the book spun out of control and chase scenes, boogiemen and gore prevailed.

Guardedly recommended.
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LibraryThing member janeajones
I read this book because I saw an article in the local paper about the author visiting a Sarasota school from which he had graduated -- as it happened he had graduated from the school the same year my son did, and they had been classmates though not close friends. I was intrigued.

Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children is a YA gothic fantasy novel that begins in Englewood, Florida, where Jacob Portman's grandfather Abraham is killed by what the police determine must be a wild animal. But sixteen-year old Jacob was present at the attack and remembers seeing something else that he cannot describe. He hears his grandfather's dying words: "Go the island, Yacob. Here it is not safe.... Find the bird. In the loop. On the other side of the old man's grave. September third, 1940."

Thus begins Jacob's quest for the Welsh island where his orphaned grandfather was raised before WWII. It takes most of the rest of the novel for Jacob to decipher his grandfather's cryptic message and discover the mystery of the "peculiar children." While some of the plotting is predictable and some of writing reflects the efforts of a first novel, an intriguing and original aspect of the book is the incorporation of vintage "found" photos of both "freaks" and ordinary people to illustrate the book.… (more)
LibraryThing member Cailin
I loved the old pictures and enjoyed the story but somehow thought it could be better. I felt some of the characters were underdeveloped. I enjoyed the book but it kind fo fell flat for me.
LibraryThing member readingover50
I have been eager to read this book since it came out. It sounded really creepy and I had high hopes for it based on early positive reviews I had read. Unfortunately this book did not live up to my expectations. I guess I was hoping for something that had more appeal to adults as well as kids, like the Harry Potter and Twilight books. The writing in this book was definitely geared more towards a younger reader, I would think 10-12 year olds would really like it. What kid wouldn't want to find out he is special and has some type of power.

I thought the plot was interesting and different. The island in the book sounded fascinating. The ending of the book was set up for a sequel, but I don't think I will be reading it. The photos in the book were fun to look at and added to the atmosphere in the story. I would recommend this book for middle school kids looking for something fun to read.
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LibraryThing member phoebesmum
Another much-hyped but disappointing title. I was rather left feeling that the author is unfamiliar with the fantasy genre and is under the touching impression that he’s created something new and terribly clever. Poor dear. No.

A nondescript American teenager persuades his father to let him visit a remote Welsh island to track down his grandfather’s fantastic stories of children with remarkable features and abilities and the monsters who hunt them, and finds those children still alive, protected by a loop in time that resets itself every day, on a certain date in WWII. So far, so commonplace. The McGuffin here is the inclusion of a selection of weird and creepy found photographs, which are supposed to illustrate the text. Sometimes they do; sometimes they get in the way. Sometimes the text appears to have been manipulated by the author specifically to include a particular photograph, and sometimes the photos don’t seem to fit at all. Still, full marks for effort there.

Less than full marks, I’m afraid, for research: the dialogue is full of Americanisms (we don’t wear ‘slickers’, just for a kick-off), and, even where the author has tried to get it right he sometimes gets it wrong. He knows, for example, that the British nowadays use the metric system – officially, that is, I don’t know anyone who actually does. Unfortunately, he doesn’t know that it wasn’t current in the Second World War, and I’m afraid I laughed immoderately when his WWII era children talked about ‘metres’.
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LibraryThing member Kelly_Mills
Based on all the hype I thought I would love this book. It wasn't bad by any means, but I didn't find it to be anything special either. I actually liked the concept of the book more than the story. The author wrote a plot around some antique photos, which is a unique approach. However I found that I didn't particularly like any of the characters and although the book ends on a cliffhanger of sorts, I'm not inspired to read the sequel to find out what happens. Perhaps my expectations were too high, but I'm unable ro recommend this book.… (more)
LibraryThing member SpazzyDragon13
Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children was one of those books that I kept seeing reviews for everywhere. The best part? All the reviews were good and included the word 'creepy'. Those two things made me want to read it even more than I already had. So, naturally, I was ecstatic when I received it as a birthday present. (Not that I could read it right away, since a family member decided to take it and read it fist. :d)

That being said, when I finally was able to get my hot little hands on a copy of this book, I was instantly hooked. I LOVE books that grab you right from the beginning. There was no suspension that had to be built up for me to become interested. Not to mention the floating little girl on the cover...who could trun this book away and not want to know what the heck a floating girl is doing on the cover to begin with and WHY exactly she is floating!? I couldn't.

Character wise, they were brilliant. All the characters were unique and easy to distinguish. Another major thing that I liked about this book, was how the author kept the language confined - for lack of a better term - to the time area the person was from. The language also made certain situations laughable. (For instance, the scene where Millard is wounded. Bahaha.)

Plot wise...EPIC. I don't think I really need to discuss this. Its pretty obvious that the plot is going to be big, based off the prologue. Also, I don't think I SHOULD discuss it. Too many spoilery-spoils!

Lastly...the author. His name is Ransom Riggs (EPIC NAME!) and he has successfully gained a humongous new fan. Why? 1. His story is really good. Really, really good. 2. He managed to pull off the attempt of combining two of my favourite things; photography and a good book.
Photography is a passion of mine, and so is writing. So, naturally, I love books too. I don't know why its taken so long to find a book with a plot that also included pictures. I'm seriously fan-girling over here about it. Its not something that's easily explained, so you should just go read this book. Like now. Go. Buy it. Read it. Enjoy it. Squee.
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LibraryThing member ChristineEllei
Jacob Portman has been listening to his grandfather’s stories for most of his life and the older Jacob became the less he believed these tales. They just seemed too fantastical to be true. When Jacob’s grandfather suddenly dies his death seems to be somehow connected to all the stories. While helping his family dispose of his grandfather’s things, Jacob comes across a letter with an unfamiliar and mysterious signature. As Jacob begins to unravel the mystery of his grandfather’s life people begin to think he is losing his grasp on reality as much as they believed his grandfather had. Until he manages to talk his father into a trip to Ireland where everything falls into place … and all the stories he’s been told turn out to be true.

I usually do not read “fantasy” but the pictures in this book turned out to be too irresistible not to pick it up. I’ve often looked at pictures and paintings and thought to myself that it would be interesting to try and come up with a story about the image. Mr. Riggs took that thought and ran with it. The fact that he had these more than fantastic images and chose to share them in the context of the book was fascinating. Although I enjoyed the story a great deal, it did not leave me with the lingering need to pick up the sequel but I did browse through it just to see the pictures.

I have been going through some old boxes of pictures that my mother had and thought I had come to the decision to throw away any pictures of people I could not identify. Mr. Riggs’ unusual hobby of “collecting pictures of people he does not know” has led to another book called “Talking Pictures: Images and Messages Rescued from the Past” and that is a book I think I may pick up. The concept intrigues me and has made me rethink the idea of tossing those old pictures.
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LibraryThing member liveshipvivacia
This book seems to be a mix of good and bad.

Good: I appreciated the meta-text, alternating pictures with text. It helped make the book more 'real' and grounded it. Plus, it helped with imagery.
I liked Jacob and his grandfather, as well as the basic premise of trying to control time. And I liked the different powers the children had.

Bad: However...the plot meandered. It jumped from one place to another without seeming to be linked and kept going increasingly in another direction from what I'd anticipated. I was left thinking whether there'd been a sufficient build-up from beginning to end that tied everything together. It started out as a search for meaning with his grandfather's words and it ended that way, except that he wound up taking his grandfather's place. Nothing in the beginning of the book hinted at that.

The romance between Emma and Jacob was creepy. I'm sorry, but using a grandson as a surrogate for the grandfather is wrong on so many levels.

I had to admit I was more interested in why the wights and the hollowghast wanted what they did and would have preferred more exposition on them. It felt like they were thrown at us, explained far too late to tie things together adequately.

Also, ymbrynes? Who came up with that name? It doesn't look right.

Overall, I think the book probably needed a stricter focus. Or at least revision so that it worked together better. I started out really liking it...and then as it progressed I found myself less and less enamored with it.
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LibraryThing member chaostheory08
This is a Reading Good Books review.

For the past two weeks, I took a break from reading (and reviewing) and explored the beauty of San Francisco. Spending those weeks with my relatives that I haven’t seen in a long time was so much fun and a welcome break from everything. I started on some books I found on their shelves but I haven’t finished them. (I was more than halfway through Max Brooks’ The Zombie Survival Guide before I left.) On the road home, I fired up my B&N nook and started on this, Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children.

The book is about sixteen-year-old Jacob Portman going on a journey to an island in Wales to find out what happened in his grandfather’s past. Growing up, Grampa Portman told Jacob stories about an invisible boy, a floating girl, and other strange children. Peculiar, as they called themselves. These stories were so unbelievable that Jacob – and his family – thought they were simply fairy tales. But as tragedy struck, Jacob began to think… what if these peculiar children are real?

I’ve heard a lot of buzz about this book and decided to give it a go. And as you know, a long bus/train ride is my favorite place to read. As I rolled into Los Angeles, I was midway through. The reviews that I’ve read are pretty much split in the middle. Some loved it and some thought it was not that good. I loved it. In fact, I’ve placed it in my “Favorites” pile. Sure, it wasn’t perfect but I thought it was a very, VERY good read.

My favorite part of the whole book were the illustrations. According to the author, they are real found snapshots and the story was written around it. I am totally in love with that idea. The pictures the author used were haunting and creepy, and it totally added to the sheer beauty of the piece. The story has random popular culture references, either directly or indirectly. Doctor Who, rap music, Groundhog Day, Lord of the Flies, Peter Pan, even Jeffrey Dahmer…

The book really sucks you in. It does get a little tedious towards the middle but it was a necessary evil, methinks. Even though the book has referenced some previous work, it was very original. I liked the mixing of fact and fiction to create a new world.

What I did not like so much, as with the majority of the YA books that I read, was the “teen romance” aspect. Frankly, I was a bit freaked out. I understand why it had to be there but gladly, there wasn’t much of it. Also, the characters were not well developed. I can tell what makes them peculiar but almost nothing on their personalities. Even the ages of the peculiar kids were not clearly stated so it was kind of difficult for me to picture some of the scenes. Was 16-year-old Jacob talking to a small child or someone who was in the same age bracket? However, I do hope the author works on character development if there will be a sequel. The author CANNOT leave it at that!

Here and there, I can see the effort of the author to make Jacob sound like your typical YA hero – being hormonal, indecisive, jaded. In some parts, he loses that teenage angst tone. I actually like that. I believe that Jacob being 16 is the only thing tying this book to the YA genre. It can easily be a children’s book (along the lines of Harry Potter) or a contemporary adult piece. Readers across all ages will surely enjoy this.

Rating: 5/5.

Recommendation: I want all of you to read it! Read it aloud to your children. This is definitely an adventure.
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LibraryThing member knitwit2
A fun fantasy read. It seemed like the type of thing that might appeal to middle school kids. I'm surprised it is being marketed to adults. With that said I liked it.
LibraryThing member cyderry
Rarely do I do a re-read. I have so many books that are waiting I don't use my reading time to read a book again, however, I'm glad I made an exception for this book. My Book club selected it and since I "read" it more than 2 years ago, I decided I needed to refresh my mind,. I selected, however, not to re-read the graphic novel I did in 2017 but the actual full book. Now I know why it was a sensation. The graphic novel in no way, shape, or form did this book justice. I now am convinced I will never read another graphic novel.

That said , this book has a perfect title because the children depicted are peculiar. But then aren't we all in someway? The story is so well-written showing teenage years perfectly with rebellion, insecurity, flashes of sexual tension as well as the distrust of adults and authority. Interwoven is a wonderful time travel scenario and a tremendous battle of good vs. evil.

The graphic novel gave none of that, earning barely ★★½ but the full tale was great, easily earning ★★★★!

Now I might even read Book 2!
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LibraryThing member Tyllwin
Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children is an illustrated YA novel. The first thing I noticed is that this Quirk Press volume is, physically, a very nice book, right down to the attractive end papers. I wish more publishers would take this care. I would have called this book in the paranormal genre, but since that's now synonymous with "vampires," let's call this one "modern fantasy."

In the publisher's descriptions, much is made of the integration of many photographs with the text. I think that's a bit overstated. The photos are an interesting and appropriate group of illustrations, but they're far from essential. Since some of the photos are nicely creepy, I very much prefer it with the photos, but you could conceivably publish an edition without them.

The basic plot of the book is that Jacob Portman wishes to investigate the mysterious death of his grandfather, using some photographs as the first clue. Along the path of his investigation, he runs across other photos, all of which are reproduced. His search will lead him to a remote Welch Island, and involvement with the paranormal. It's clearly the first book in a series, coming to a good stopping point, not an ending, at the close of the book.

It's an enjoyable enough read, suffering from one main flaw, that being that it's almost entirely plot-driven. Only Jacob himself is drawn with any depth. The rest of the characters are only lightly sketched in, and the underlying mythology isn't a very solid one. Even the setting isn't as fully realized as it might be. That said, the plot is a fun one, with enough darker elements to keep it from being syrupy, and I'd give this book a solid "B."

(Disclosure: Review copy was provided to me free as a part of LTER)
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LibraryThing member Ellesee
This has become one of my newest favs in the YAL genre! Jacob Portman grew up hearing his grandfather's strange stories about children with "peculiar" abilities living on an island off the coast of Scotland. At first, he believed these unreal tales of a girl who floated, a boy who could lift great weights, another girl with a "backward mouth" and many others with unbelievable abilities. His grandfather, Abe, provided photos as "evidence" which fascinated the impressionable Jacob until his belief in his grandfather's stories began to collide with his familial and social realities.

As a teen, Jacob began to wonder about his grandfather's ability to discern reality, he saw the photos his grandfather so carefully preserved as "fake" and although he loved his grandfather very much, he could not allow himself to believe the old man's stories and survive in his school and family environment.

A phone call changes his life forever. His grandfather calls while Jacob is at work. He can't find the key to his gun cabinet. The monsters are after him. Jacob thinks his grandpa is having an "episode" caused by his WWII experiences, but takes off to check on him anyway. His grandfather is missing, so Jacob takes off on a trail behind the old man's house to see if he wandered off. The dark and shadows make it difficult to see, but soon the young man stumbles upon the dying body of his grandfather, who with his last breath gives him a message, "Find the bird. In the loop. On the other side of the old man's grave. September third, 1940."

At the scene Jacob swears he sees a shadowy, tentacle-mouthed creature lurking just beyond the trees, but the coroner claims Abe Portman was killed by wild dogs. What he has seen and what he's "supposed" to believe send Jacob into a mental tailspin and only when his new psychiatrist, Dr. Golan, recommends he visit the island his grandfather spoke about so fondly does Jacob begin to learn the truth--about his grandfather, himself and world that has been kept hidden for much too long.

The black-and-white photos give this story an intense, creepy quality, and remind me of Chris Van Allsburg's The mysteries of Harris Burdick. There's something slightly "off" about them, something not apparent, lurking beneath the surface, just like the tentacled-monster that lurked behind the trees as Jacob's grandfather died.

And, it's wide-open for a sequel--which I'm hopeful for. Well-written, engaging and one of the most original story-lines I've read in quite a while.
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LibraryThing member patsaintsfan
I had high hopes... The beginning was rather good, sadly, I just didn't enjoy it much.
LibraryThing member wiremonkey
If you’ve browsed the YA shelves lately, you will have probably chanced upon a thick-ish book with a black and white cover. The title is written in old-fashioned script. The photo on the cover is of a pudge-faced girl in what looks like a turn of the century shift, a sort of tiara shading her eyes. If you look closer, you will notice that she is floating. On the back are other intriguing black and white photos. Two bald headed clown children. A girl standing alone be a pond, but the pond reflects two girls. A cloaked man and a boy going towards the light through a tunnel. A boy dressed as a bunny, crumpled on the sidewalk in despair.

Intrigued? I know I was. I finally got my hands on a copy (some lovely soul donated it to my library) and had some time to read it this March break.

The story is told through the perspective of Jacob, a slacker from a wealthy family in Florida. He grew up on his grandfather’s stories, of monsters in his native Poland, of the war and how it decimated his family, and of his time as an orphan in Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children. When Jacob witnesses the violent death of his grandfather, everyone thinks he has had a nervous breakdown, including himself. It takes a trip to the small little Welsh island and to the home for peculiar children for him to find out the truth.

Through out this very creepy story are black and white pictures the author has used with permission form their collectors. And this is the part I find the most fascinating – the photos are all real. They have been collected through garage sales, bazaars by a few officianados. Riggs uses the photos as compliments to the text- they depict the peculiar children – the girl on the cover for instance turns out to be Olive the levitating girl. There is an invisible boy. A strong girl.

Another original aspect of the story is Riggs’ manipulation of time. The home lives in a time loop- where they re-live the same day over and over. This is what keeps them safe from the monsters and from the suspicious eyes of a world not ready to accept them.

I enjoyed this story quite a bit- the fantastic elements were well-thought out, imaginative and original. The character of Jacob, a typical teenage boy with not a lot of ambition or drive, is well-developed and believable as is his love interest Emma, a girl who can make fire out of her hands.

Riggs leaves the ending open for a sequel, though not so much in a bad spot that you want to kidnap the author and make them tell you the ending right now (the second Hunger Games anyone?). Still, I look forward to the next installment if only to get a glimpse at some of the fascinating photos.

But don’t take my word for it- watch his book trailer. Riggs was a filmmaker before he was a novelist, so it captures the creepy feel of the book wonderfully!
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LibraryThing member sobieckj
I'm completely baffled by how many people loved this book. If ever there was a case for more style than substance, this is it.

I'm not a "hater" or naysayer, really. I love experimental literature and writers who take risks (Barth, Eggers, Egan, et al), I love Y.A. lit too, and have loved what I've read by John Green. So I was psyched about this book, truly. But 15-year-old boys don't talk or think like Jacob.

In fact, I can't say I even "get" how Jacob thinks because I don't feel he, or any of the characters, were fully realized. Yet I was willing to forgive the inauthentic-feeling characters. I thought the idea of using kooky old photos was clever, and I've liked books for less, stylistically speaking. But many of the photos and how they were "fit" into the story felt forced.

There were times when I actually found the whole thing tedious to read. I think it is based on a clever idea, but one without much thought beyond that initial scheme. The fact that so many people loved it has me questioning my own reaction to it. But every time I revisit "the story," style, characters, I'm left scratching my head at the hoopla. Still, maybe it's me.
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LibraryThing member CarleyShea
*THERE ARE SPOILERS IN THIS REVIEW* This book got a lot of hype when it came out, so I was quick to borrow it from my local library. Without giving too much away, this book is about a boy named Jacob who returns to his grandfather's childhood home in Wales and finds way more than he bargained for. There's time travel, there's magic, there's crime and suspense. Everything you want from a young adult novel.

Miss Peregrine's is a great young adult novel. And while I thought some parts were too quickly paced, I was completely immersed in the story. The idea of the Peculiars was something I really enjoyed and it was very different from the dystopian fiction that is so prevalent right now, but still embraced some of those aspects. I will say that the love connection between one of the Peculiars and Jacob was somewhat odd to me. She may look young, but in actuality the character is much, much older than Jacob AND had a relationship with his grandfather. It was just really strange and I wondered after finishing the book what Jacob and Emma's relationship became. Was that not weird for Jacob?

All in all, I enjoyed this book. It wasn't a favourite, but I am interested in what is in store for these characters in the sequel. And the cover art is stunning, which is one of the reasons I initially decide to read a book.
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LibraryThing member WordMaven
I have to admit, I was a little disappointed that the story wasn't darker than it was. The first 1/3 really pulled me in with its atmospheric vibe and mysterious setup.

But as things progressed, I was let down.

I love a haunted house/ghost story but just a little different from this one. I think I would've enjoyed it more if I'd read it straight through in a few days. As it was, I put it aside while I read a memoir and when I went back to it, I was a little chilly on it.

Great creepy photos, though. I'm glad I read it. For those who love it, the door is open for a follow-up novel.
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LibraryThing member fyrefly98
Summary: When Jacob was little, his grandfather would always tell him stories. Stories about the mysterious house in which he grew up, a house on an island in Wales, a house that was full of children with strange powers - a boy who was immensely strong, a girl with a second mouth in the back of her head, an invisible boy, a girl whose feet never touched the ground - children who are pictured in a series of incredible photographs, children who were hiding at this house because it was the only place where they could be safe from the monsters. As Jacob grew up, he dismissed his grandfather's photographs as trickery and his stories as mere fairy tales, but when he finds his grandfather dead in the woods behind his Florida home - and sees something impossible and monstrous fleeing the scene - he begins to wonder. His parents and his therapist think that he's suffered a mental break, but he convinces them to let him travel to Wales, to hopefully find out the truth beyond his grandfather's cryptic last words once and for all. But what Jacob finds on Cairnholm Island makes him wonder if his grandfather might not have been making up his stories after all... but if that's the case, then Jacob may have just put himself in mortal danger.

Review: Saying that something is a "multimedia experience" sounds like cheeseball mid-'90s marketing copy, but in the case of Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children, I really think it might be true. The gorgeously produced book is peppered with vintage photographs, collected from estate sales and flea markets, with each photograph showing something bizarre, unnerving, or just a little off. Individually, it's easy to look at any one photograph and say "Oh, that's double exposure / a trick of the lighting / etc." However, the absolute best part about this book is how everything fits together into a whole that's greater than the sum of the parts. The photos complement and amplify the atmosphere of the story, and the story weaves itself around the photos that they stop feeling like disparate found objects, and more like interconnected pieces from a life, enough to make you stop and think "Well, what if....?"

I don't know whether the photographs inspired the story, or if the story dictated which photos to use (probably some of each), but the overall effect is not like anything I've ever come across before. The story is funny and poignant by turns, and effectively creepy throughout, enough to make me wish I'd read it on a foggy October evening. It's not just the bad guys that are creepy, either... even the good guys have a disconcerting, haunting air about them; especially so compared to Jacob, whose perspective and narration style is sufficiently modern to make it a sharp counterpoint to some of the more fantastical things he encounters. Suffice it to say, this book gave me the shivers more than once.

The ending, while it was consistent with the rest of the story, and a good resting place, didn't manage to tie up all of the threads of the book, and is rather obviously providing set-up for a sequel. On the one hand, that kind of open-endedness usually bothers me, but if Riggs's next book is anything near as fascinating as I found this one, the unresolved nature of this ending will be well-earned. 4.5 out of 5 stars.

Recommendation: Definitely recommended for fans of modern YA novels, especially those with a bit of a fantastical twist to them; anyone who appreciates a good haunted house story; and especially anyone with an interest in photography and the power of images. This is definitely a print-only story, though... I'm not usually one to dissuade people from audiobooks, but the photographs are such an integral part of the story that it would be a shame to miss them.
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LibraryThing member TheTwoDs
Ransom Riggs's debut novel combines a deliciously creepy premise, an island where "peculiar" children with strange powers may live in perpetuity, with vintage photography artfully arranged to illustrate the tale.

The story is reminiscient of John Connolly's The Book of Lost Things and fans of that fantastical tale will want to read this one. Sixteen-year-old Jacob had been told plenty of amazing tales by his grandfather when he was a child but has grown to disbelieve them as fairy tales rooted in the elder man's escape from the Nazis. The sudden death of his grandfather is the impetus for a trip with his father to the remote island off the coast of Wales where his grandfather lived at an orphanage during the war.

To give away any more would do a disservice to the novel. Suffice to say, the story contains all the hallmarks of a fantasy with magical powers, hideous creatures, disbelieving adults and cliffhangers galore. The blending of fantasy and science fiction elements with Welsh mythology works well and the form of time travel presented is unique as far this reader knows.

The photos are real images found by collectors at garage sales, flea markets, antique stores and various other places that deal in ephemera. While the usual line goes that no image can replace the image the words create in the readers head, the sheer oddness of some of the photos make the conceit work in this case. If nothing else, there will be a few more odd and vintage photo collectors rummaging through the pictures in the usual and not so usual locations for finding such things.

Riggs has promised additional novels in this series and this one ends with a perfect setup for the next. I'm looking forward to them.
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