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Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children (original 2011; edition 2011)

by Ransom Riggs

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
5,722625742 (3.72)431
Member:jerevo
Title:Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children
Authors:Ransom Riggs
Info:Quirk Books (2011), Edition: Book Club, Hardcover, 352 pages
Collections:Your library
Rating:***1/2
Tags:None

Work details

Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs (2011)

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» See also 431 mentions

English (621)  German (4)  Hungarian (2)  Dutch (2)  Finnish (1)  Danish (1)  Swedish (1)  All languages (632)
Showing 1-5 of 621 (next | show all)
After the death of his grandfather, sixteen-year-old Jacob is devastated. He convinces his parents to let him travel to the remote island off the coast of Wales where his grandfather lived after he was orphaned as a child. Jacob hopes it will bring him closure, but he’s also haunted by stories his grandfather told him about his childhood, tales of children with special powers and sinister monsters. At the center of all the mysteries is Miss Peregrine, and Jacob is determined to track her down so that he can understand his grandfather’s fate.

The conceit of this book is interesting: take a collection of vintage found photographs and craft a story around them. It works really well. Scattered throughout the novel are reproductions of the images, so as Jacob’s grandfather describes his childhood friends and shows his grandson pictures of them, the reader sees them too. Riggs claims that for the most part, his creepy photos of children haven’t been altered (beyond whatever the original photographers might have done) and appear just as he discovered them.

The pacing of the story is really, really slow. The beginning is downright sluggish, even when events should make it exciting. Eventually, the book finds its momentum, but at that point the reader has had to slog through two-thirds of the story. I almost quit several times, but I’d heard a lot of praise for this book and its sequel, Hollow City, so I kept hoping things would pick up. Nope. Not even magic and time travel could bring energy to the narrative.

Jacob is an interesting teenager. His manner of dealing with grief and loss is very realistic, and the book is his coming of age story. His growth as a character is worth watching. Sadly, he’s the only character fleshed out enough to have something like a personality. Most of the ‘peculiar’ children that he meets at Miss Peregrine’s orphanage are flat, cardboard cutouts with no nuance or depth to their personalities. The most intriguing character, Jacob’s grandfather, is killed off in the first chapter, but the dribbles of information we’re fed about his life make me want to read a book that’s all about him.

There’s some lovely writing describing the beauty of the island and some very atmospheric moments in the orphanage. I’m happy to praise the book for that. But in the end, it just couldn’t hold my interest for long. ( )
  makaiju | Feb 22, 2015 |
RGG: A novel of adolescent self-discovery set in the horror genre. Fascinating, creepy. A great eighth-grade read! Reading Level: 14-YA.
  rgruberexcel | Feb 20, 2015 |
Taking a mixture of strange old photos you've collected over the years and creating the STORY around the PHOTOS...amazing concept!

While I felt that some of the references were dated, the voice of the main character, Jacob, shines through quite successfully. The beginning is quite slow (and a bit boring), but you find out later (much later) why much of it was necessary. The exposition was longer than I prefer, but once the ride started, it kept on going. Mr. Riggs did a bad thing, though, when he ended this book almost mid-scene in true modern "let's make this two books because I can and not because I wrapped up the first part of the story" fashion. Will no one learn from J.K. Rowling? Series aren't a problem until you fail to have an enclosed story. You should be able to read one book and see a clear beginning, middle, and end. Now, the story can continue in another book, but don't leave your reader with half a book in their hands. It's not artistic. It's bad form.

That being said, the story itself was excellent...unique and original in a very refreshing way. It was odd, creepy, and...well, peculiar. But in a good way. I'm reading this a second time as I teach it to a few small groups of high school students. Most of them really seem to be enjoying it, and several aspects have sparked lively discussions. There is just enough humor to keep them interested, and a surreal sense of wonder that grabs hold of their imaginations. I like to think this holds true for anyone who reads this book.

I'd give it 3.5 stars if I could. ( )
  AuthorLMGreen | Feb 12, 2015 |
I began this book thinking it was going to terrify me..and the first 3 chapters or so did just that. Then the rest of the book happened. It became a plodding story of somewhat ghosts but not ghosts, time travel, parental confrontations and peculiar traits in children. All in all it was a good story but I felt a little let down that it wasn't as scary as it was made out to be by the marketing. ( )
  slsmitty25 | Feb 11, 2015 |
AIt was an interesting read. It had moments of captivating my interest and others where I was not asinterested. It disappointed me though that ( )
  kelsey.hintzman | Feb 10, 2015 |
Showing 1-5 of 621 (next | show all)
The author’s ability to use the photos to play with the reader’s imagination, while still holding the tension of the plot, is extraordinary. This kind of device can feel like a self-conscious reminder of the authorial hand, but this is not the case in Miss Peregrine’s Home.
 
In Miss Peregrine’s, a teenager decides to investigate the stories his grandfather told him about an island off the coast of Wales. He finds more than he bargained for, of course, and there are adventures, involving a group of kids with remarkable abilities which are almost, but not quite, entirely similar to mutants from X-Men comics. For a story constructed to make use of a collection of vintage snapshots, it’s impressively cohesive, and there’s certainly nothing wrong with yet another recounting of the hero’s journey from callow youth to manhood. But the book never lives up to its own aesthetic, and the story refuses to get past surface level on the occasional odd idea or intriguing concept. Whatever its faults, Miss Peregrine’s only true sin is that, presentation aside, it isn’t really that peculiar.
added by jimcripps | editAV Club, Zack Handlen (Jun 29, 2011)
 
Those Creepy Pictures Explained

The idea for Miss Peregrine's Home popped into Ransom Riggs' head when he ran across some sinister-looking vintage photos, which ''suggest stories even though you don't know who the people are or exactly when they were taken.'' As he began writing, he kept searching for images, even combing swap meets and flea markets. ''I was developing the story as I was finding the photos. I'd find a particularly evocative photo and I'd say, 'I need to work this in somehow.' '' Most are reproduced in the novel ''as is,'' but a few have been digitally altered. Riggs says he ended up with more photos than he could use: ''I have a nice big fat backlog for the second book.'' — Keith Staskiewicz

added by kthomp25 | editEntertainment Weekly, Keith Staskiewicz (Jun 24, 2011)
 
With its X-Men: First Class-meets-time-travel story line, David Lynchian imagery, and rich, eerie detail, it's no wonder Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children has been snapped up by Twentieth Century Fox. This is a novel with ''movie adaptation'' written into its powerful DNA. B+
 
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Book description
A MYSTERIOUS ISLAND.

AN ABANDONED ORPHANAGE.

A STRANGE COLLECTION OF VERY PECULIAR PHOTOGRAPHS.


It all waits to be discovered in Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children, an unforgettable novel that mixes fiction and photography in a thrilling reading experience. As our story opens, 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 who once lived here — one of whom was his own grandfather — were more than just peculiar. They may have been dangerous. They may have been quarantined on a desolate island for good reason. And somehow — impossible though it seems — they may still be alive.

A spine-tingling fantasy illustrated with haunting vintage photography, Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children will delight adults, teens, and anyone who relishes an adventure in the shadows.

Haiku summary
Look! Creepy photos
winding into a story.
Sequel sure to come.
(_debbie_)
"But those monsters are
Only a story, granddad!"
"Oh, are you so sure?"
(passion4reading)

No descriptions found.

(see all 3 descriptions)

After a family tragedy, Jacob feels compelled to explore an abandoned orphanage on an island off the coast of Wales, discovering disturbing facts about the children who were kept there.

(summary from another edition)

» see all 4 descriptions

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