A mysterious island. An abandoned orphanage. A strange collection of peculiar 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 decaying bedrooms and hallways, it becomes clear that Miss Peregrine’s children were more than just peculiar. They may have been dangerous. They may have been quarantined on a deserted island for good reason. And somehow-impossible though it seems-they may still be alive.
(Story synopsis from book cover.)
Once again I must give credit to one of my students when it comes to me reading good books. One of my students had been reading Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs and while she was, I mentioned to her that she should let me know how the book is because it had been one that I’d been wanting to read. On Friday in class I happened to mention that when she finished the book, I might have to borrow it from her. It was during my lunch hour that this student walked in and handed me the book…she had already finished it!
I must admit that I wasn’t too sure what to expect from reading Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children because while I had seen it reviewed and mentioned in many places, not too much has been revealed about the story itself. As I flipped through Ransom Riggs‘ book, I was immediately drawn in by the photographs that have been included throughout the pages. The “peculiar” nature of the pictures made the story that much more intriguing.
I’m typically not a person who reads science fiction or “supernatural’ types of stories, but this one is a great exception to my typical reading list. Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children is a wonderful mix of mystery and supernatural…enough that at some points you start wondering if some of “talents” displayed by the children couldn’t just be based on truth. (Think X-Men in a much younger and mysterious group.) Our main character, Jacob, is suddenly pulled into this “world” of peculiars that he at one time thought were simply stories made up by his grandfather. After seeing what it was that killed his grandfather, everyone around Jacob begins to believe that he has gone crazy…including his parents and his best friend who was with him the night his grandfather died.
It is on the advice of Jacob’s therapist that Jacob and his father travel to the island off of Wales where Jacob’s grandfather spent part of his youth. It is on this island that Jacob begins to believe for himself that he is not crazy. In fact, he begins to find proof that his grandfather’s remarkable stories are in some ways more real than the life Jacob has been leading himself. And Jacob is able to discover the home where his grandfather spent his childhood learning who he truly was…Miss Peregrine’s.
Ransom Riggs has been able to create a remarkable world through Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children and the photographs that accompany the rich world and stories of each of the characters. This book is an amazing blend of storytelling and photography that transports the reader into a world where the unbelievable suddenly becomes believable.