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.
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.
The title and the cover decided things for me, and between the two of those, I was half convinced this would read like one of those YA historicals ala-Vixen or Luxe (given the cover) or one of those Series of Unfortunate Tales (given the title.) Wrong on both counts.
Pictures. Everything Jacob said when describing those portraits were accurate: creepy, formal and yeah, creepy. They remind me of my grandparent's portraits hung in the house my mother grew up in. Both those portraits are black and white, with them posed all very formal and serious. The peculiar part is how their eyes just seemed to follow everywhere I'd go, comforting and creepy all at once. Nah, just creepy. I still do my best to stay out of the third floor where those are hung. My mom's family has lived here for a little under half a century. My uncles have a number of awesome stories about that place. They'd talk about sliding down the back stairs from one floor to the next til their butts hit the entry way; the wooden stairs were so old and so used by then that they'd turned in to make shift slides, all smooth and slippery. My aunt the tomboy, collecting comic books and insects, would recount throwing fire crackers next door right smack into the bedroom of their neighborhood bully. My mom's family is big, ten siblings in all with her the youngest... so between all of them we could get almost any type of scary, funny, shameful story. My particular favorite is of my eldest brother being trapped in the third floor -with those portraits (my cousins were cruel with their practical jokes.) It is from my brother that I've learned to pay close attention to where the protraits' eyes go (or stay.) To this day, those pictures get my hair standing on end. The very same feeling I got as I looked upon the many varied, creepy pictures in this book. And to think that most of them are real, not manufactured for the sole purpose of the book! Me thought that was just cool... and creepy.
Time traveling. Now this is time travelling that I can get behind: the last one I read *cough* Hourglass*cough*was too pat, too easy. This one had loops and Ms. Peregrine types, and there were consequences that made sense. To say that its version was different, is quite true.
His devotion. Unlike his father, our MC had really close relationship with his grandfather. Sure, he'd had grown up and consequently doubted his grandfather's stories, but he cared for the old guy. The old guy really was his hero. It was this devotion that eventually got him on his adventure.
See that last sentence there? The one that says eventually? Well, "eventually" was almost half the novel. The first half had a lot of the funny parts, though: a priveleged teenage boy trying to get fired; a priveleged teenage boy who wasn't so popular with but one friend. BUT it got tedious, I tell you. The first half read like a YA contemp with some scary camp story thrown in. To be honest, the first half was so different from the second that I thought there were two novels in there. The first bit was him lost, drugged up just to cope and mourning. The second half was him and the Peculiars; you can guess which half I preferred.
(well, not ugly per se, but more along the lines of icky...)
As with most YA's, there's a requisite love. In Jacob's case it's Emma. Jacob had voiced my concern early on in their relationship. It's not the instant love connection that I frequently complain of because there was no such thing here; the icky bit (kind of) comes in if you consider Emma and her history... with someone significant!
Given all that ~ the good, the bad and the ugly icky, I'd say give this one a shot. It's got so many things going for it.