Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs

peculiar-childrenSynopsis: A mysterious island. An abandoned orphanage. A strange collection of curious photographs.

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.

My thoughts: I’d say this book was a slight disappointment, but even that would be stretching it too far. For me, Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children represents a case of somewhat false advertising. Because those pictures are dang creepy! Holy scary. Like, I get goosebumps and chills just from looking at the back cover of my book. I was expecting something eerie and scary, more of a horror genre than anything, and something, honestly, that would blow me away.

It was definitely eerie, a tad creepy more than actually scary, and an adventure story rather than anything close to horror. The children, while peculiar, were actually pretty funny and likable instead of terrifying. And the plot, while full of monsters, feels more like a black and white Percy Jackson story than anything actually scary. The disappointment came for me because Miss Peregrine’s Peculiar Children told me it was something and then ended up being something else. That something else wasn’t bad–it was very entertaining, actually–but I guess I was just a little sad it wasn’t what I thought. I think I would’ve like it more had I been expecting what it actually was rather than taking half the book to get used to it.

The writing was great–I love Ransom Riggs’ style–and I thought his use of the pictures in the book was awesome (again, the tone and story didn’t quite match the photos, for me, but that’s okay). Our main character here, Jacob, completely stole the show for me. I loved him. I thought he was very relatable and very wonderfully average, which made his place in a peculiar story so much fun. He had a great voice, I understood his struggle, and I loved reading about him. Millard was another favorite, and I eventually learned to like Emma. The cast of peculiar children was plentiful and diverse, and I appreciated that each had their own distinct character when it would be so easy for them to get lost in each other.

The plot kept up a nice pace that didn’t make me feel rushed or the story super intense, but still pulled me back to find out what happened next. The climax took an interesting turn of events (I thought the battle scenes were awesome) but I didn’t quite understand the problem with Miss Peregrine and her friends, and why everyone was after them. They explained it a few times, but it never quite clicked for me, so I never quite completely cared about her or what happened to her. I really only cared about the kids, and thankfully they were the stars of the show in their little hidden loop where their peculiarities shone.

Rated 4/5 for a strong and likable protagonist, eerie pictures, and very peculiar children