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.
Why I Chose It: I have been intrigued by this book ever since I saw it on a friend’s reading list. What hooked me was the line from the book blurb: “They may have been quarantined on a deserted island for good reason.”
It was the history aspect of this book that definitely drew me in. I love old ruins, and as an abandoned orphanage, the setting for this book was awesome. I ate up every little detail about the house, and the atmosphere that Riggs creates when Jacob first enters the house is extraordinary. The house has so many artifacts in it, and I absolutely loved the attention that Riggs gives to the smallest details, and how he really creates an experience as Jacob explores the rooms. I also really appreciate Jacob as a character because he is really curious, and he’s driven to discover the story of the house and its occupants.
An interesting part of this book for me was the pictures that are included throughout the novel. All of these are real photographs that the author gathered, and I love that Riggs creates characters directly linked to each picture. The pictures were so interesting to look at, and really added something a little different to the story. I also personally find them slightly creepy, and I enjoyed that they raised the creep factor in the book.
The one thing I can say about this book is that it is a solid story. There was always something happening, and it remained interesting from beginning to end. I think Riggs took all the right elements and put them in the right order and came out with a good story. What held me back from loving this book is that nothing really wowed me about it. It was all familiar territory, all elements I’ve heard before. So while there was nothing really wrong with it, I can’t say I particularly liked it. It is also worth pointing out that if the pictures were not part of this book, I would have liked it less.
There are some good elements to this story. Old abandoned haunted houses are always a good setting, and tying in such a colourful history keeps the book interesting. If you’re a fan of old photographs, or of paranormal stories entwined with a local history, then you might like this one.
Rating: 3.5 / 5
“And I really did believe him – for a few years, at least – though mostly because I wanted to, like other kids my age wanted to believe in Santa Claus. We cling to our fairy tales until the price for believing them becomes too high, which for me was the day in second grade when Robbie Jensen pantsed me at lunch in front of a table of girls and announced that I believed in fairies.” (OverDrive, 2011)
“It was my grandfather’s island. Looming and bleak, folded in mist, guarded by a million screeching birds, it looked like some ancient fortress constructed by giants. As I gazed up at its sheer cliffs, tops disappearing in a reef of ghostly clouds, the idea that this was a magical place didn’t seem so ridiculous.” (OverDrive, 2011)
“I went from room to room, examining their contents like an archaeologist. There were wooden toys moldering in a box; crayons on a windowsill, their colors dulled by the light of ten thousand afternoons; a dollhouse with dolls inside, lifers in an ornate prison. In a modest library, the creep of moisture had bowed the shelves into crooked smiles. I ran my finger along the balding spines, as if considering pulling one out to read. There were classics like Peter Pan and The Secret Garden, histories written by authors forgotten by history, textbooks of Latin and Greek. In the corner were corralled a few old desks. This had been their classroom, I realized, and Miss Peregrine, their teacher.” (OverDrive, 2011)