Miss Peregrine’s Home For Peculiar Children Review

July 13, 2012

I said I’d be giving you reviews, and I’m staying true to my word. It has just taken me a bit longer than intended to get everything in gear, so sorry about that!

First up: Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs.

While reading this book I was in love. The whole idea of this place with these peculiar children living apart from the world had an almost fairytale-like quality to it that I really enjoyed. As a someone who was told myriad stories growing up, I love that Riggs took the familiar “grow up-stop believing” chain of events and gave it a twist, making Jacob (our protagonist) question everything once it appears that his grandfather Abe’s “stories” may have been based in fact.

I enjoyed the interweaving of vintage photographs into the story as well, but I think it could have been done more successfully. Also — and I must admit that I didn’t notice this until after finishing the book and ruminating on it for some time — there are pictures in the book of peculiars who are never introduced or explained. The photos were a great opportunity for Riggs, and may have been a jumping off point for him, but I think they should have been better integrated into the story.

The characters are interesting enough. I think I may just have personal issues that invariably lead me to at least somewhat dislike any character in a YA novel. It’s something I’ll work on if I ever find a therapist. Jacob has “rich white boy” problems until his grandfather dies (this happens pretty early on, so I don’t think that’s giving away too much), and then he has “my grandfather died horrifically and I was right there” problems, which I imagine are a bit more difficult to deal with, so I guess he’s allowed to be a bit of a brat. The other characters are likeable, though are somewhat one-dimensional. It seems like a good bet that this will turn into a series, and I think that with time those other characters will develop well.

My main issues with this book come mostly out of thinking about it for too long because as I said, I really did enjoy it as I was reading. There is (for me, anyway) an undeniable “ick factor” in the relationship that blossoms (quite quickly, I might add) between two of the characters, but fine, whatever, I can get past that (almost). In hindsight I start to think about how the pictures throughout the book don’t connect, how the home for peculiar children bears a striking resemblance to another home/academy that houses and teaches children with extraordinary abilities that have caused them to be cast out of society, and how the plot wears very thin in quite a few places.

In the end, I’m left with mixed feelings because I was on such a high when I finished this book, but as I’ve had time to think about it and read other reviews, I’ve started to see what pieces are missing. I would still enthusiastically recommend this book to most people who ask about it. After all, I have to think about my experience reading it, and I had a lot of fun. It wasn’t really creepy or scary, so if that’s something you’re looking for, this isn’t the book for you, but if you want a fantasy/other-world type book with a few creepy aspects, then I suggest you give this a try.

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