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

by Ransom Riggs

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5,770631735 (3.72)433
Member:CynWetzel
Title:Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children
Authors:Ransom Riggs
Info:Quirk Books (2011), Edition: 1st, Hardcover, 352 pages
Collections:Read 2013
Rating:****
Tags:13 in 13

Work details

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

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English (623)  German (4)  Hungarian (2)  Dutch (2)  Finnish (1)  Danish (1)  Swedish (1)  All languages (634)
Showing 1-5 of 623 (next | show all)
I can understand why this is a popular book. The author came up with a clever idea--looking for vintage photographs to build his storyline around--and executed it well. But one was enough (it is now a trilogy, with no doubt more to come).

Although it was compared to the Harry Potter series, it did not hold my attention as well as that, and I felt no keen desire to continue. One reason is probably the unrelieved doom and gloom. ( )
  kaulsu | Mar 30, 2015 |
Weird. Sometimes I read a book that I feel as if I should like but for some reason that's hard to pinpoint, I just can't get into it. I didn't relate to the characters right. The plot was a little unhinged. I don't know. I just didn't like it. ( )
  Juva | Mar 28, 2015 |
This is a book as peculiar as its title. I went into it not knowing if it was historical fiction, realistic fiction, fantasy...no idea. Apparently, it's paranormal fantasy and (to some) horror. It's interesting, but it threw too much into too short a span for my comfort. I'm not entirely certain how to describe it without any spoilers, but it involves "ghosts," freak show characters with real powers, time travel, WWII, shapeshifting, monsters...it's just wonky. ( )
  benuathanasia | Mar 13, 2015 |
There were parts that were a bit trite like Jacob’s family being well-to-do and his inconsistent personality throughout the book, going from a kind of loner/wallflower to a leader/go-getter in a blink. An uber-nerdy reference and explanation of the Tunguska blast of 1908 showed up in the story and the author, stretching seeking some teen coolness points, carefully constructed an elaborate character do score him some in Jacob’s rebel/quirky, leather-jacketed best “friend” Ricky who has more depth than any of the other characters and appears almost not at all.

Some parts moved a bit too quickly and with less credibility than others. Out of the blue “I want to go to Wales!” came out of Jacob’s mouth and was promptly granted with some minuscule coaxing from a psychiatrist. The book is beautifully bound and printed with lots of old photographs that make me think the author wanted this to be macabre and creepy –on that level, it fails miserably because I found the story and prose to be anything but that. Contrast this with Gaiman’s The Graveyard book where turns of phrase and descriptions often frame the scenes in question in dark gauze and winding sheets. Besides the failed archaism, the whole thing was formulaic: troubled, misunderstood teen with lame –but affluent- parents turns out to be someone extraordinary and rushes off to find his place to belong only to have it threatened shortly thereafter- adventure ensues and teen miraculously seems to have conquered all personality hangups. Yay!

Snark and sarcasm for the storytelling tropes I noticed aside, the story is decent and intriguing. It gives us a somewhat fresh look at fairy tales and offers up something like a WWII/steampunk version of Professor Xavier’s School for Gifted Youngsters. It may not be a work of profound literature (it’s not even the bestest YA book) but it does make for fun and engaging reading. Apparently, the author cobbled the story together from the photographs he had collected, using them as a framework and guideline to create a story. I recommend it as long as you keep it light and adventuresome. ( )
  keebrook | Mar 10, 2015 |
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 |
Showing 1-5 of 623 (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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I had just come to accept that my life would be ordinary when extraordinary things began to happen.
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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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