Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children

Written By: Ransom Riggs

Published By:
Quirk Books

Reviewed by Melissa Minners


                Last week, I walked into my local Barnes & Noble iconand discovered that they were celebrating popular entertainment with a special event: Get Pop-Cultured with Barnes & Noble.  Our website's name is - Global Pop Culture is what we do.  I couldn't wait to see what Barnes & Noble had to offer on the Pop Culture front.  I was pleasantly surprised by all the freebies, including an excerpt of Ransom Riggs' Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children, the first novel in the Peculiar Children series. 

                Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children is a young adult dark fantasy/horror tale centered on Jacob Portman, a teenager whose only worry in life is how to tell his parents that he doesn't want to be part of the lucrative family business.  That is, until the day that his grandfather is murdered.

                You see, all through his childhood, Jacob had been told all sorts of tales by his Grandfather Abe, fantastical tales about an island housing children with strange abilities such as levitation, super strength, invisibility and more and a monster with rotting skin, black eyes and tentacles coming from its mouth.  As a child, Jacob was fascinated with the tales and the photographs that his grandfather would show him of the island children and their feats of wonder.  As he grew older, however, Jacob realized that these tales just couldn't be real and that the photos were doctored in  some way.

                At least, he believed that until the day his grandfather called him at work begging for the key to his gun cabinet so he could stop the monsters.  Believing his grandfather was suffering from dementia, the family had hidden the key to the gun cabinet.  Jacob heads over to his grandfather's house to check on him only to discover that his grandfather had been telling the truth all along - the monsters do exist!  Jacob sees one just after he finds his grandfather dying in the woods outside his home.

                Now, Jacob is determined to discover if everything his grandfather told him was true.  Traveling to the island of Abe Portman's childhood and looking for Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children, Jacob hopes to find out more about his grandfather's upbringing and the monsters he feared would come after the rest of his family.

                The excerpt of Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children that I received from Barnes & Nobles was a little over sixty pages in length.  Despite the fact that the excerpt only contained a prologue and the first two chapters of the novel, I have to say that I have found myself hooked on this book.  The story flows extremely well and I found myself intrigued by Jacob and his grandfather. 

                As I read the prologue, I found myself thinking that the book sounded a lot like Big Fish, but that was until I reached the death of Abe Portman and realized that this was definitely going to be a different tale.  I loved the photographs that accompanied the story, helping to confirm the images I already had in my head about the various children discussed by Abe and various other items described in the book.  The use of black and white photos added something special to the story that could not have been achieved with simple illustrations.  The photos lent some sort of credence to the if this wasn't a fictional story after all, but an actual event.

                I find myself wanting to know more about Miss Peregrine and the children who lived with her on the island in Wales.  I believe I will check out the complete version of Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children very soon.  And then, I suppose, I will have to read the sequel, Hollow City...and then, I hear tell of an upcoming sequel to that...


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