Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children
A mysterious island. An abandoned orphanage. And a strange collection of very curious photographs. It all waits to be discovered in Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children, an unforgettable novel that mixes fiction and photography in a thrilling reading experience. As our story opens, a horrific family tragedy sets sixteen-year-old Jacob journeying to a remote island off the coast of Wales, where he discovers the crumbling ruins of Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children. As Jacob explores its abandoned bedrooms and hallways, it becomes clear that the children who once lived here - one of whom was his own grandfather - were more than just peculiar. They may have been dangerous. They may have been quarantined on a desolate island for good reason. And somehow - impossible though it seems - they may still be alive...
This was the book you guys chose for me to read this month and once again you picked a book that I probably wouldn’t have picked up from the TBR pile any time soon, but has turned out to be a good choice! This really is a book of two halves. The first part is spooky and atmospheric with our main character, Jacob, going through a big emotional upheaval as well as struggling to figure out what he wants from life - as opposed to what everyone else has planned for him. The mystery of his Grandfather’s past and what happened to him is intriguing and compelling and Jacob’s fragile emotional state gives a nice question over what is happening – is it real or just in his head...?
However, the second half of the book changes tracks completely and moves it to a familiar plot for many YA stories – the discovery of hidden skills and a clash of good and evil hidden from the world and should come as a startling revelation. But the discoveries on the island and what Miss Peregrine’s home really are follow a track that seems very familiar to many readers of YA. The bonus is that it is done very well here and it takes a while to realise that the haunting atmosphere has changed to the recognizable design of adolescent discovery of magic. However, there is enough skill in the characters and events that helps balance with the slight disappointment that the story isn’t as unique as you first thought.
The writing hits the right balance between modern and timeless. The haunting photos add to the atmosphere and I did find I spent a lot of time staring at them, trying to read details for the plot into them. While I preferred the first part of the story, I was never less than invested in Jacob’s journey and I’m curious about what a sequel will bring – hopefully it will be able to take the familiar and make it seem new and different.
Recommended for fans of Laini Taylor and Erin Morgenstern. 8 out of 10