Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children (Miss Peregrine's Peculiar Children - volume 1) (ANGLAIS)

by Ransom Riggs (Auteur)

Other, 2013





Quirk Books (2013), Edition: Reprint, 384 pages


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.


Locus Award (Finalist — Young Adult Novel — 2012)
Sequoyah Book Award (Nominee — High School — 2014)
Commonwealth Club of California Book Awards (Finalist — Young Adult — 2011)
Kentucky Bluegrass Award (Nominee — Grades 9-12 — 2013)
Pennsylvania Young Reader's Choice Award (Nominee — Young Adult — 2014)
Iowa Teen Award (Nominee — 2015)
Benjamin Franklin Award (Silver — 2012)
Green Mountain Book Award (Nominee — 2014)
Grand Canyon Reader Award (Recommended — 2014)
BILBY: Books I Love Best Yearly (Older Readers — 2017)
The Kitschies (Nominee — 2012)
Volunteer State Book Award (Nominee — High School — 2014)
Grand Prix de l'Imaginaire (Winner — 2015)


Original publication date


Physical description

384 p.; 8.5 x 0.91 inches

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
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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,
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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.
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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
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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
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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 London_StJ
Abe Portman is a man filled with secrets and stories, and he carries with him all the love and admiration that his young grandson Jacob could possibly lavish. Even when Grandpa Portman seems to suffer from dementia in his later years Jacob remains his faithful companion, and the teenage Jacob does
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what he can to keep his old hero as happy as possible.

When a violent tragedy shakes Jacob's world he finds himself seeking out the world that could have produced such a man - and such stories. Armed with another's memories and the lingering faces of a few photographs, Jacob searches for his grandfather's past, and discovers a reality far more fantastic than even Grandpa Portman's stories could have let on.

Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children is a fascinating first novel by Ransom Riggs. Inspired by the scavenged photographs of oddities shared by a group of photography enthusiasts (included for the reader's full pleasure), Riggs spins a tale that is part fantasy, part historical fiction, and all adventure. Though I at times found myself more drawn to the haunting photographs than the narrative itself, the combination of the two creates a captivating narrative.
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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
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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
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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
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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.
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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.
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Looking forward to the next installment.
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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
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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.
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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
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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 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
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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
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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 richardderus
Rating: 3.5 exasperated stars of five

The Book Report: Jacob Portman is a privileged little creep, living in air-conditioned splendor and social isolation with his useless ornithologist father and his rich-b*tch shallow mother. He has one friend, smokin' chawin' awkward po' folks Ricky, and other
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than that, he has his old Jewish grandfather Portman.

The elder Portman tells Jacob fascinating, magical stories about a childhood spent on an island off the coast of Wales where his parents sent him just before the Nazi death machine cranked up. The stories are illustrated by wonderful photos showing kids doing impossible things: Holding boulders on the tip of a finger, for example, or levitating flat-footed, or being invisible (that last is tough to photograph, as you can imagine). For years, Jacob completely buys into Grandfather Portman's tales.

Then he grows up. He starts listening to his own father, whose father is the storyteller. Big mistake.

Events catch up to Jacob, as his conflicted relationship with the old man ends in a spectacular death, a quest for deeper truths than are on the surface where most people are most comfortable, and the usefulness of freaks to the world is fully plumbed. This is a fearless yarn about fears so deeply implanted in most of us that we don't even know they're fears anymore: Do I fit in? Where? How? Does anybody like me, really?

Jacob adds the one question to this list that makes a boy into a man: Do I really care?

My Review: So why only 3.5 stars? Because it started out to be a 5-star read, with haunting photos and fabulous sentences and really involving ideas all schmoozling around, making me forget the narrator is a teenager! As I've said often enough to be boring about it, the presence of teens in a book affects me as garlic does Dracula.

And then the teenager starts whining. And then the story goes into multiple adolescent freaks' PoV. And then I got pissed and stopped wanting to read the really very good story. And the stars began to fall off the rating. And that, friends, makes me sad and mad. So that's where this woeful tale ends.
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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
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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.
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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 jurai2
This book is haunting and original. Riggs does an amazing job of painting pictures with his words (even without the photographs that are included in the book), and the plot line was unlike any I've ever read before. My only critique is that the story seemed to drag out in the end.
LibraryThing member PAPatrick
A great add to my collection for the students in my senior secondary creative writing class: here's another way of Making Story--collect and assemble old photographs about which you know nothing. But that's its problem as meaningful fiction: it reads like a plot thinly strung together because of
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the existence of a bunch of old photographs. Where it gets really bad is when the author actually adds a seemingly dead character (about whose death nothing much is ever made) because he happens to be in possession of a picture of a boy in bed reflected in a bedroom mirror. I cannot recommend this book as anything but an oddity.
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LibraryThing member ed.pendragon
There is a technique storytellers use whereby cues — words, phrases, scenes, characters suggested by audience members — are randomly inserted into an improvised narrative. Italo Calvino built up his novel The Castle of Crossed Destinies upon a sequence of Tarot cards, using the images to
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suggest not only a possible narrative but also to link to other classic narratives. These processes are similar to the ways in which Ransom Riggs constructs 16-year-old Jacob Portman’s journey from suburban Florida to a wet and windy island off the coast of Wales. Authentic ‘found’ vintage photographs of sometimes strange individuals placed in enigmatic positions or curious scenarios — these are the bones on which the author constructs his fantasy of children (with, shall we say, unusual talents) and the dangers they potentially face. For the reader the inclusion of these photos at appropriate points in the text is not only an added bonus but an integral and highly effective facet of the tale.

Jacob’s grandfather has regaled him with stories of his escape from wartime Poland to a place of refuge in West Wales, the titular Home for Peculiar Children run by the equally peculiar Miss Alma LeFay Peregrine. He is taken to Cairnholm Island by his amateur ornithologist father for a therapeutic holiday — this after the trauma of witnessing his grandfather’s violent demise — in part to resolve the unanswered questions that he’s left with. He finds the home in ruins, bombed during the war, but whenever he visits a prehistoric tomb beforehand he finds that the house returns to its former splendour. And he discovers that at those times it is inhabited…

Ransom Riggs’ first novel has many attractive features for a fantasy: initial mystery (exactly what did Jacob’s grandfather do on his ‘hunting trips’?), the increasing appearance of magic (the incredible powers of individuals, travel elsewhere in time and space through a portal) and menacing monsters (what exactly are wights and hollowghasts?). After a slow start the story’s pacing then starts to grip the reader and, as opposed to novels where it isn’t clear till the final few pages, here there is a clear sense of a beginning of a promising series. But is the plot driver really only a random-ish selection and sequencing of weird photos, however unexpected they may be?

I’ve generally avoided reviews and discussion of this book and so I don’t know if what I’m about to say is already known; nor do I know if my theory is, however plausible, way wide of the mark or merely coincidence. But I offer it as a chance to look aslant at the story, through half-closed eyes as it were, and that by throwing light on the novel from a different angle new aspects may be revealed.

Ten years of living in West Wales made me curious about the island of Cairnholm, site of a small fishing community and Miss Peregrine’s Home. ‘Holm’ is a common name for an offshore island around the coast of Wales, a legacy of Viking raids and settlement around a millennium or so ago; the ‘cairn’ element refers to a Neolithic burial mound which dominates one end of the island. We know from a preview of the book’s sequel included in the paperback edition that ‘Cairnholm’ is around nine kilometres — five or so miles — from the mainland. Is there a real Welsh island that could have been the model for Cairnholm?

After Anglesey and its satellite Holy Island off the coast of North Wales, the third largest Welsh island is Skomer, separated from the Pembrokeshire mainland by a deep channel. It’s a ornithological paradise, and in season includes thousands of pairs of nesting seabirds — including the Manx shearwater that Jacob’s father gets excited about when he spots it. About 2 miles by 1½ miles in size, it’s possible to conceive this as Cairnholm even if there’s no fishing village here, just a farmhouse and some holiday cottages. The problem is that it’s no real distance from the mainland.

However, about ten kilometres (six miles) to the west of Skomer is the island of Grassholm, in Welsh Ynys Gwales. Essentially this is a giant uninhabited rock largely covered in gannet guano, and doesn’t seem at first a likely contender. But Ynys Gwales has a long mythological history as the location of a mystery island. At the end of the 19th century a sea captain reported an island floating a little below the surface of the sea in the vicinity of Grassholm; earlier in that century mainland folk claimed they could on occasion see Fairy Islands a short distance off the coast, supposedly densely populated with fairies; and Victorian scholar John Rhys suggested that a phantom Pembrokeshire island inhabited by ‘the Children of Rhys Ddwfn’ (Plant Rhys Ddwfn) was really a fairy island, as these folk were properly Plant yr Is-Ddwfn, that is, ‘the Children of the Underworld’. The oldest identification of this island with Grassholm or Ynys Gwales was in the Medieval Welsh tale of Branwen the Daughter of Llyr.

In this old narrative Branwen’s brother Bran is a giant, who commands his head to be cut off and used as a talisman by a group of Welsh heroes, survivors of mighty battles with the Irish. They are to go Ynys Gwales where they will be safe for a time, perhaps a reflection of the island’s etymology (gwâl in Welsh means ‘lair’ or ‘den’, somewhere in fact to shelter). “And at Gwales in Penvro you will be fourscore years, and you may remain there … until you open the door that looks towards Aber Henvelen, and towards Cornwall. And after you have opened that door, there you may no longer tarry…”

There is a coming together of various elements here that I think is reminiscent of Riggs’ novel: the not easily accessible Welsh island, the island where time stands still — at least until a crisis arrives — and the entertaining of the select group of personages by a Head, Bran’s severed head in the medieval tale and the Head Teacher Miss Peregrine in the novel. And the Home for Peculiar Children is the counterpart of a regal hall on the island of Gwales: “And there they found a fair and regal spot overlooking the ocean; and a spacious hall was therein. And they went into the hall, and two of its doors were open, but the third door was closed, that which looked towards Cornwall … And that night they regaled themselves and were joyful. And of all they had seen of food laid before them, and of all they had heard of, they remembered nothing; neither of that, nor of any sorrow whatsoever. And there they remained fourscore years, unconscious of having ever spent a time more joyous and mirthful. And they were not more weary than when first they came, neither did they, any of them, know the time they had been there.” But when the forbidden door is opened “they were as conscious of all the evils they had ever sustained, and of all the friends and companions they had lost, and of all the misery that had befallen them, as if all had happened in that very spot … And because of their perturbation they could not rest …”

Is this the conscious template for Ransom Riggs’ story? Maybe, or maybe not; only the author knows. Either way it provides a narrative depth for the novel that I find very satisfying, in a way that a selection of odd vintage photos, however artfully incorporated, does not. Does this putative blueprint detract from the book’s originality? I don’t think so, as it is the imaginative use and combination of apparently commonplace motifs that can make a novel truly novel. And on that basis, Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children — despite a few flaws, mostly culture-specific — is a ‘novel’ novel.
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LibraryThing member ErisofDiscord
Jacob's grandfather told him stories when he was a small boy, stories of children with incredible powers, and he showed him pictures of these children - a boy who was completely invisible except when he was wearing clothes, a petulant faced girl who could levitate above the ground and a boy who
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could lift rocks the size of the Statue of Liberty's big toe. Jacob's grandfather said that he knew these children, and he lived with them at a big old house on a little Welsh island.

When Jacob was a kid he believed everything his grandfather said, but as he grew older, he stopped thinking that his grandfather was telling the truth. But when his grandfather dies tragically, it leaves more questions unanswered in Jacob's mind. So Jacob journeys to the orphanage that his grandfather lived in to find out the truth in his grandfather's past. Are the peculiar children still alive? And when Jacob's grandfather died, why did Jacob see a monster with tentacles for tongues at the scene?

Jacob was a wonderful protagonist that I identified with - he constantly tried to do the right thing throughout the book while protecting the people he cared out. The relationship he had with his grandfather and his desire to be like him was well portrayed. Most of the characters are very interesting, and their different personalities add to the richness of the novel.

The photographs that helped illustrate the novel were an excellent touch, and I didn't learn until I read the author's note on the back of the book that they are all vintage photographs! Except for a tiny bit of processing on a few of them, those classic photographs had been borrowed from collections. Riggs built his story around those photos, and the weirdness of the photos added another layer of individuality to this book.

The plot and pacing is quick, and the writing is not lazy or bland - it has the voice of an intelligent and blunt sixteen-year-old boy. I read this book in a day and a half, and it even made me forget about viral videos on YouTube. Since Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children was able to sever me from the internet and immerse me in a world of invisible boys, girls who hold fire in their hands, bogs, time changing, and monsters with tentacles coming out of their mouths, I applaud Ransom Riggs - he has a talent for ensnaring minds.

This review written as a part of my 75 Books Challenge for 2012, as posted on the LibraryThing group of the same name.
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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
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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 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
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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 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
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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 Gwendydd
Totally not worth all the hype.

This is a really typical story where mediocre boring white dude discovers that he has special powers and gets the girl. The only remotely original concept in here is that the faerie people keep themselves safe from the bad guys who are after them by creating a time
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loop and living the same day over and over and over. But that wasn't original enough to sustain the rest of the story.

My enjoyment of this book was further ruined because I listened to the audiobook, and the narrator is appallingly terrible. He has a really weird cadence that he uses for every sentence, whether it is "I had a sandwich for lunch" or "we are all going to die in an hour." Most of the story takes place in Wales, and he clearly didn't bother to listen to any Welsh accents. Like a lot of Americans, the only "British" accent he can conjure is a really weird mix of Cockney and Irish.
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LibraryThing member christina4703
I heard an awful lot about Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs even before it was published. All the librarians were buzzing about it, all my friends (who, okay, are librarians) added it to their "To-Read" lists. And I let the excitement get the better of me. I bought it. In
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hard cover. Given my lack of storage space (see previous post), this is a fairly major commitment. And yet I found myself strangely... underwhelmed.

As a kid, Jacob loved his grandfather's fantastical and somewhat terrifying stories, made all the more believable by the strange photographs that accompanied them. There's the boy who can make bees fly out of his mouth and the girl whose mouth is on the back of her head under her golden curls. But as he grows up, he stops believing the stories and stops listening to them. Then something terrible happens to his grandfather and Jacob is left trying to puzzle together just who this wonderful, secretive man really was.

To figure it out, Jacob travels with his father to the isolated island where Jacob's grandfather grew up in search of the children's home where he supposedly spent his youth. (The expense is no problem because their family is independently wealthy. Of course they are.) There Jacob discovers an entryway into a time loop. The children who were his grandfather's companions are still there on the island and have been reliving the same day for seventy years. There Jacob meets all manner of strange people, the same kids he saw in his grandpa's photographs, and one of them is a beautiful girl named Emma who Jacob finds himself increasingly drawn to.

But a dark presence is drawing ever closer to the loop, threatening the home and the very lives of the peculiar children inside of it.

So there's the basic story line. There are loads of delightfully bizarre photographs that the author and nine other collectors found at yard sales, estate sales, flea markets, and antique malls to add depth to the characters. However, it must be said that this reads more like an exercise from a college creative writing class: "Connect these ten unrelated illustrations in a coherent story." The text is very obviously meant to augment the photographs and not the other way around. Okay, I know that's exactly what this book is but it must be said that the story is what should drive a book and this one simply... doesn't.

The story line should be suspenseful and creepy and heart-pounding but it falls a little flat. It started out fast but the book did the same thing I do when I go for a jog--quickly lose steam. The danger isn't real enough and the things that are meant to be mysterious (like the identity of the villain) were a little obvious to the observant reader. I didn't even realize that it was meant to be a surprise that Jacob has special powers like the kids in the loop. Well, duh. Finally, the book ended on what was obviously meant to be a cliff hanger but I probably won't read the second one when--if?--it gets published. I certainly won't buy it.
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LibraryThing member jnwelch
"But why did the monsters want to hurt you?" I asked.
"Because we weren't like other people. We were peculiar."
"Peculiar how?"
"Oh, all sorts of ways," he said. "There was a girl who could fly, a boy who had bees living inside him, a brother and sister who could lift boulders over their heads."
It was
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hard to tell if he was being serious.

Laced with vintage photos that illustrate the story, Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs is a fun ride. Grandpa Portman fought in WWII, and it becomes clear who the monsters and the peculiars really were. But is there more to it? He urges grandson Jacob to find "the bird" and "the loop", and when Jacob eventually travels with his dad to a tiny island off the coast of Wales to try to find them, his adventures really begin. He makes new friends of a most peculiar sort, and encounters surprising enemies as well. The black and white vintage photos are remarkable, like the one of the girl on the front cover who appears to be levitating. One of my favorites is simply of a sturdy girl in a dress who looks strong and purposeful but in no mood to be in a dress. Her story matches it well, as do all the stories and photos in this book. It is a remarkable piece of puzzle construction by the author.

It also is a well-done diversion. Deeper themes can be spotted, as more monsters appear in search of dominating power, but mainly it is an involving story that will carry you along with Jacob and Emma and the others as they try to understand what is happening and how best to overcome it.
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LibraryThing member storiesandsweeties
When I first received this and rifled through the pages, looking for the first time at the collection of incredibly spine-tingling vintage photographs, I thought for sure I was in for a terrifying story. Really terrifying. I was even a little nervous! But while there were some genuinely
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hair-raising moments, and also some very gruesome scenes that turned my stomach, the story that I found here was such a great surprise. It was full of curiosities and wonderment, sentiment, and a great adventure. While the photos were certainly eerie (especially because most of them are real and unaltered), they did a wonderful job of completely immersing the reader into the story---each one was perfectly woven into the flow of the plot.

The story itself is authentic and complex. Jacob grew up listening to the wild tales his grandfather told him about an orphanage where he lived with a group of children with strange gifts and the monsters that they were hiding from. Later on, Jacob outgrows his belief in the stories and, like the rest of his family, just thinks his grandfather is crazy. After his grandfather dies in a gruesome circumstance, he begins to realize his grandfather might not have been so crazy after all,---but in doing so, makes his family doubt his own sanity. The real adventure begins when Jacob sets off to find out the truth about his grandfather's life by traveling to the tiny village of Cairnholm.

I was completely wrapped up in the strange lives and personalities of the Peculiar children! Each character was so vivid---I especially loved Olive and Millard. Emma was a firecracker, but it was her hidden pictures that brought me to tears. Despite the awkwardness that could have been in her relationship with Jacob (you'll just have to read to find out why!), I was actually quite charmed by it. :)

Absolute favorite quote in the book:

"How many times must I tell you," she called after him, "polite persons do not take their supper in the nude!"

I'll leave it at that---don't want to give too much away. Although, I don't know how anyone could resist reading it after a quote like that!
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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.
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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 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
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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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½ (4890 ratings; 3.7)
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