“Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children”

miss-peregrine-peculiar-childrenA couple weeks ago I was on vacation with my family, which means there was prime time for reading. Between just hanging out at our house and the flights to and from Arizona, I was able to knock a couple books off my to-read list.

One of my friends had told me that I should read “Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children.” She said I’d really like it. I added it to my to-read list and didn’t think much about it for a while.

But when in Arizona, I was looking for something new and fun to read, especially for the long flights home. And “Miss Peregrine” didn’t disappoint!

“Miss Peregrine” follows 16-year-old Jacob’s normal life – he works at a drugstore chain his family owns. He goes to school. He spends time with his family, and especially likes spending time with his grandfather Abraham.

But it’s that time with his grandfather that starts Jacob on a new trajectory. Jacob sees his grandfather’s murder – and the assailant seems to an odd creature. Jacob knows he wasn’t just seeing things, but everyone around him didn’t see anything unusual. So Jacob ends up in therapy and goes to Wales as part of his treatment.

In Wales, he’s searching for ties to his grandfather. Abraham lived there for several years after escaping from Nazi Germany, but information is scarce until Jacob meets the peculiars. When Jacob starts finding out about what his grandfather’s life was really like, everything changes.

Ransom Riggs skillfully wove old photographs throughout this story. Without them, it wouldn’t be nearly as compelling. Scattered throughout the book (most often when introducing a new character or location), these photographs make you stop and think. Some might have been taking using photographer’s tricks. But some might just be of peculiar people.

Together, these photos and story work themselves into your mind. The characters and locations seem more real. By extension, the story sounds more plausible (though, I don’t believe invisible monsters like those in “Miss Peregrine” are running around for who-knows-exactly-why). The people in the photographs existed.

“Miss Peregrine” kept me enthralled the entire time with its twists. I was swept away by Riggs’ descriptions and skillful use of the vintage photos. I couldn’t wait to see another of the photos set apart on its own page and study it, examining the subject. All too soon, I finished the book.

But there were more – “Hollow City” and “Library of Souls.” All too soon I finished those as well (thanks vacation!), but I am excited to see the movie adaptation of “Miss Peregrine” this fall!

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