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Miss Peregrine's Home For Peculiar Children

by Ransom Riggs

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: Miss Peregrine's Peculiar Children (1)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
16,0381088278 (3.7)618
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.
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    The Monstrumologist by Rick Yancey (cammykitty)
    cammykitty: This is a much darker book than Miss Peregrine's, but it has a similar mystery/suspense/fantastical feel to it.
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    Anna Dressed in Blood by Kendare Blake (MyriadBooks)
  5. 10
    Paper Towns by John Green (mrskatieparker)
    mrskatieparker: The styles of these books are similar, as is the heightened sense of adventure and exploration infused with mystery.
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    Passenger by Alexandra Bracken (debbiereads)
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    mrskatieparker: The Gothic institutional settings of these two books have a similar feeling.
  9. 00
    I Am Princess X by Cherie Priest (PghDragonMan)
    PghDragonMan: Two exceptional YA books, that may be enjoyed by adults as well, wherein graphics play an integral role in telling the story. These are not graphic novels per se, but images are important!
  10. 00
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  14. 03
    Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter by Seth Grahame-Smith (MyriadBooks)
    MyriadBooks: For the photographs.

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» See also 618 mentions

English (1,067)  German (6)  Italian (3)  Dutch (3)  Swedish (2)  Spanish (2)  Hungarian (2)  Portuguese (Brazil) (2)  Danish (2)  Finnish (1)  French (1)  Catalan (1)  All languages (1,092)
Showing 1-5 of 1067 (next | show all)
I hate time shenanigans. ( )
  bonchcronch | Aug 17, 2022 |
The advantage to being in a book club with a group of friends that have widely eclectic reading tastes is that you find yourself exposed to books that you probably would never have heard of otherwise, to say nothing of actually reading. This is the case with "Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children," a book that I didn't know existed until it became my book club's reading choice for September. I feared it was a children's book at first blush, and it is, in fact, a young adult novel. A close inspection of the cover told me this would be a suspense story, and a scan of the synopsis told me it would a mystery. So, we have a mysterious suspense story. Or so I thought.

This novel was absolutely nothing like I expected. And I loved every page of it.

We're introduced to our protagonist, Jake, the son of a wealthy family in Florida who really has no friends to speak of. His uncle is a Jewish survivor of the Holocaust, and tells Jake stories about his time in a home for peculiar children, where his companions held mysterious and altogether odd abilities, and were chased by monsters. Jake spends his childhood looking at old photos that his uncle shows him, photos that are too strange and mysterious to believe. He grows up knowing, as does his family, that his uncle is senile. Until one afternoon when his uncle makes a frantic phone call that "they" have found him, and Jake goes to see what is wrong, only find his uncle brutally murdered. Then, Jake sees the monster. From there, we're propelled into a search for a home for peculiar children as Jake realizes that the fantastic stories were true, exploring themes of acceptance and heroism along the way, along with love interests and a good dose of time travel thrown in, as well.

What Riggs does that is ingenious is that he takes authentic photographs, black and white images from collectors that he has painstakingly researched, and compiles them here as central to the narrative. These are the sorts of old photos that we've seen, and at which we've laughed: a teenage boy lifting a huge stone with one hand, a young girl levitating above the ground, a girl standing over a pool with two girls reflected below her. These are the sorts of photos that make the hair on the back of your neck stand up when you first see them. They make you question, "that can't be real, can it? They didn't have the means to alter photos back then...did they?" Then Riggs builds a story around the photos (which are reproduced strategically throughout the book, and credited in the end, if you're interested), asking "what if?" What if those images were real, and weren't altered? What sorts of events...what sorts of people...would make up the story behind that? That story, as Riggs sees it, is the novel. While none of his ideas here are particularly new or groundbreaking, combining them under this premise is one of the most creative exercises I've seen in recent memory.

To make the novel more fascinating, Celtic mysticism lies hidden throughout, with veiled references to "thin places," as well as a Celtic holistic view of Creation that runs as an understated through-line to the time travel plot device that Riggs uses so adeptly. In fact, the portal between realms lies inside of a cairn...and, while this felt a bit like he might have taken the idea from Stephen Lawhead, the fact remains that you can't get much more Celtic than that.

Riggs has done his research, not only with the photographs, but also with the species of birds that develop into character types (no more on that lest I leave you with spoilers). While his writing is not astounding in its complexity, keep in mind that this is a YA novel, and he's writing to that demographic. Still, his prose is punctuated with a dry wit that will leave you laughing, and occasional flashes of descriptive brilliance that made me stop to re-read the sentence.

As much as I've read critiquing how the plot devices are not overly original, the book still moves the reader through an unpredictable arc, and what I particularly love is that it doesn't tie up all of the loose ends. In fact, the journey is only truly beginning for these characters by the final chapter, leaving me wondering if another novel might follow. Fans of the superhero genre will appreciate the exploration of duty to others and responsibility that comes with power, and fans of the suspense genre won't be disappointed with scenes that are outright creepy if you're reading late at night with only a single light in your apartment.

Whether or not YA generally suits your palate, "Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children" is a book that I would recommend to anyone. A delicious read that just leaves you smiling in the end...and perhaps wanting more...it is not a book that pretends to be more than it is. But it does what it sets out to do well, and is a refreshingly original way to construct a novel. Add this book to your shelf...and please let me know what you think. ( )
  David_Brown | Aug 15, 2022 |
Not doing it for me.

Picked this up at the St Mark's bookstore, finding it in the usual fiction/literature section and assuming it was a horror novel illustrated with a few creepy (and many laughably awful) old photographs.

The narrative style started to bother me within the first two chapters. This is written in first-person, where the narrator is even less fleshed-out than any of the secondary characters -- who exist purely to advance the plot.

I've seen a lot of this sort of thing recently: a narrator of no substance, who is acted upon rather than being an agent of action, and whose adventures seem informed more by Hollywood than by actual experience. Busy Monsters, Arsonist's Guide to New England, Booty Nomad come to mind as (more successful) examples of the same awful style. There must be some writing or MFA program out there that's teaching young male novelists to write like this. They should stop.

Go back to writing third person, or at least develop an interesting character if you're going to write in first person. Don't write about a loner who likes to sit in his room and read. It ends up sounding like you just dusted off your old journals and added a bit of fantastical embellishment to take the bore off.

Anyways, 150 pages in, this sort of gives up and becomes a children's book. It just gets awfully silly. This might be due to the writer struggling to connect the found-photos into a coherent story. It's hard to say.

Not sure if I'm going to bother finishing it -- I might just chuck it on the shelf in the laundry room. ( )
  mkfs | Aug 13, 2022 |
Loved the photographs and the way he was able to incorporate them into the story so seamlessly. I must admit to being caught up in the story beginning to end and hated when it was over. A very fun read. ( )
  mattorsara | Aug 11, 2022 |
I am hooked on this series from book one! It is one that for me, I could not put down. I loved the use of photography to enhance the story. I was starting to look forward to seeing the photos, and to learn that these were actual photos that Ransom Riggs found is something I started to be very drawn to. The fact that he was able to craft a full series of books off antique/thrift store photographs points to his great imagination. Following Jacob's journey into a world, he only thought was imaginary gives a sort of wonder to us all that perhaps those stories we grew up with could be real. One thing I am not a fan of, however, is how the story just sort of abruptly ends until the next book. It feels as though you are being halted in the middle of a narrative. It speaks to Ransom's writing that I was so enthralled that I went to turn the page only to be greeted with the end. I promptly grabbed the second book to continue the adventure. ( )
  BuffyCharp | Aug 4, 2022 |
Showing 1-5 of 1067 (next | show all)
Boken är knappast ett stilistiskt mästerverk. Dialogerna krystas stundom fram och vissa figurer är lika blodfattiga som de spöken som förföljer dem. Det som gör verket unikt är bilderna
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+

» Add other authors (19 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Ransom Riggsprimary authorall editionscalculated
Bernstein, JesseNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Horner, DoogieDesignersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Ralph Waldo Emerson
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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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Wikipedia in English (2)

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.

No library descriptions found.

Book description
Haiku summary
Look! Creepy photos
winding into a story.
Sequel sure to come.
"But those monsters are
Only a story, granddad!"
"Oh, are you so sure?"
Wildly inventive
tale based on peculiar
vintage photographs.

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