I just finished Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs the other night. I would have finished it a lot sooner if I didn’t have all that pesky work and sleep getting in the way. This book is thoroughly enjoyable – creepy, thrilling, touching. It’s technically considered YA fiction but I feel like anything that’s even slightly fantasy adjacent – that doesn’t have any swearing or graphic sex – is considered YA nowadays. Do not let the labels sway you! There’s some very original and imaginative writing happening in books supposedly meant only for teenagers.
Jacob is a bored, lonely 16 year old who seems destined to work for his mother’s family drugstore business in Florida. He worships his grandfather, an eccentric Polish Jew who fought in WWII, who has a stack of amazing vintage photographs and fantastical stories for each one. Jacob stops believing his grandfather’s stories, but when tragedy strikes he learns not everything is as it seems – and his life may never be the same again.
This book hooked me from the get go and never lost my interest. Even better, the photographs – all real, vintage, unretouched photographs curated by the author – are interspersed throughout the book, giving you an actual glimpse at the characters throughout the story. The characters, even the fantastical ones, are believable – they are flawed and they don’t always do the right thing, but you root for them. Even Miss Peregrine – a character who could have easily gone the McGonagall route by always being an on-point badass – has her secrets and her missteps. For his part, Jacob – the narrator of the story – is a remarkably self-aware teenager, but not in an annoying precocious way. More like a smart, quiet kid with few friends, who has had the time to observe human behavior and figure it out. Not long after I finished it I ended up getting the follow up, Hollow City, because I have to know how the story ends!
If you like mysteries, if you like stories that keep you perched on the edge of your seat, than definitely check this book out. You will not be disappointed!