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Friday, November 18, 2011

Book Review: Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children

Author: Ransom Riggs
Publisher: Quirk Publishing
Release Date: June 7, 2011
Pages: 352
Read it in: 3 days
Source: The library

Summary: A mysterious island.

An abandoned orphanage.

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 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.

A spine-tingling fantasy illustrated with haunting vintage photography, Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children will delight adults, teens, and anyone who relishes an adventure in the shadows.

LC's Take:

I absolutely HAD to read this book. As a sucker for anything creepy, bizarre, or otherwise strange and phantasmagoric, I had this one on my TBR list from the moment I saw that disturbingly odd little girl levitating on the cover. Add to the fact that the story centers around an abandoned orphanage on a mysterious island?? Yup, I was all about it.

Jacob has just lost his grandfather. At 16 years old, all Jacob has left are memories of the fantastical, sometimes horrifying, stories that his grandfather used to tell him as a child, and the last words his grandfather uttered-- clues to the real story Jacob never knew. Now Jacob wonders if the nightmarish monsters his grandfather spoke of were not just metaphors for the Nazi soldiers that killed his family, but real monsters that still exist somewhere...  and whether they are out to get him like they got his grandfather.

I'm actually not really sure what to say about this one. It's not that I didn't like it, but I had pretty much the same reaction to it as everyone else: it just was not at all what I had been expecting. I think the main problem is that people going into this book are like me-- they saw that extremely creepy cover and flipped through to see some equally creepy old photos and thought that this book was going to be scare-your-pants-off terrific, but then when you get into the actual story it just... wasn't. Definitely no scary-pants-action going on here.

And honestly, it's not that the story was bad-- there was a lot of suspense, some romance, some folklore, some mild creepiness with the villains. But I went into this book expecting something totally different. The kids were not creepy. And I was looking for creepy ghost children. I was looking for a story that gave me chills and shivers and made me jump every time I heard a noise while reading. What I got instead was a good story, but it fell a little flat next to what I had worked myself up to experience.

The concept was really great, and I loved how the pictures were incorporated into the story. That was such an incredibly unique and awesome idea, and it definitely kept me interested throughout the book. The story told through Jacob's voice was very real, incredible funny, and I loved all the uncensored snark and raw emotion that came through from his perspective. Jacob's point of view really made this story come alive for me.

In the end, I was a bit disappointed with this book, despite some great characters and an interesting premise. I really needed this story to amp-up the creepiness factor because I had been expecting a bone-chilling ghost story and got something very different instead. Not bad, just not totally living up to my expectations.

~Cover Talk~

Seriously one of the most intriguing covers I have ever seen. If I was walking past this book, I would stop dead in my tracks to pick it up and see what it was about, even if I was running late to be somewhere. It would be like an involuntary reflex, that's how awesome this cover is. That picture of the levitating girl with the creepy face is so haunting, and the pics on the back of the book are even more nightmarish-- like, super scary! I wish that the story had the same creep-out factor as some of the photos did.

LC's Rating:
A good story with a good premise that unfortunately fell slightly flat for me. I was expecting a very scary, creepy story with freaky ghost children, and got something totally different. It wasn't bad, just unexpected. I did really like the mix of old photos with the story! Altogether, still a unique and intriguing book.



  1. Sooo I have to admit I have no interest in reading this book, and because your review is so unenthusiastic about the book, I'm definitely not reading it hahaha. So thanks for the honesty!

    Anna @ Literary Exploration

  2. I was really underwhelmed with this one! It was not what I expected either - like everyone else. I did love the pictures though it did give the books really creepy flair. Awesome review as usual :)

    Xpresso Reads

  3. OOOh I have this on my list but good think that I havent bought it yet. Since ive seen alot of reviews about it and now yours, I dont think I would waste my time to read this, though Id have to agree with you with that cover, kids kind of scares me when they are on a creepy look esp in the movies. This cover is creepy alright.

    Thanks for the review.


  4. I've been reading a lot of similar reactions to this book. I'm afraid I'll most likely have the same feelings as you. My expectations were so high and since I have a great 'scare tolerance' I just don't think this book will do it for me. As always, love your honesty!

    Kristan @ Lost Amongst the Shelves

  5. I have to read this one soon for a bookclub, but this is what I've been hearing - it just doesn't deliver what the cover promises. Sigh. It doesn't sound like a bad read, but with so many awesome books out there, I'm not sure I can be bothered with this one.

  6. Hmm, I wonder if I will enjoy it more now that I know not to expect a super-creepy read? Time will tell!

    Awesome review - to be honest, I didn't even notice the girl was levitating! I haven't seen this book in person, so until you pointed it out and I looked closer, I thought she was just standing in light.

    Kelly @ Radiant Shadows

  7. Not sure if you stopped by the YA Group but there we discuss the fact that this book has a sequel! WHY? ?? ? ? ? I wish it would just stay a stand alone book.


  8. Yeah I didn't love this book either. I thought it was SO slow. I think at least 100+ pages could have been cut from it. The only thing I did like about it was the incorporation of the photos into the story. This has a sequel, but I honestly don't think I can bring myself to read it.


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