Book Review: Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs

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Jacob’s grandfather was always eccentric. He was always telling his grandson tales of the extraordinary children he knew back when he was a young boy. He also suffered from paranoia, expressing fear of the “monsters” out to get him. No one believed the stories he would tell, not even Jacob. But when his grandfather is found dead in the woods and Jacob believes he sees the “monster” who committed the murder, Jacob starts to realize that his grandfathers stories may have been more than just fairy tales.

The family tragedy and discovery that his grandfather may have been right all along, sends Jacob to a remote Island off Wales so he can try to better understand who is grandfather was. While on the Island Jacob discovers a group of children who may be able to help Jacob not only better understand his grandfather but also help him figure out who he really is.

What I Was Thinking Before I Started Reading: OK, I know you aren’t supposed to judge a book by it’s cover but the cover of this book is so cool. And there are a ton of creepy black and white photos throughout the book.
What I Was Thinking in the Middle of Reading: I am pretty sure I’m reading about an alternate universe of the X-Men.
What I Was Thinking When I Was Finished Reading: I kind of liked this book. It was a little all over the place at times, but it was intriguing. I’ll definitely catch up with the second book in the series soon.

I wasn’t kidding when I said this book is all over the place. Generally, I enjoyed this book. There was a lot to like about it. However, there was also a lot to dislike.

Let’s start by going over what I did like. I really did like the premise of the book. It did remind me a lot of X-Men, with Miss Peregrine playing the role of Professor X, but the book still came across as new and refreshing. There were interesting characters and the imagery was amazing. The main character, Jacob, at times came across as a whiney teenager (but he is a whiney teenager so mission accomplished) but overall he was an entertaining protaganist. As far as first-person novels go, he was one of the better narrators I’ve come across.

I also really enjoyed the vintage photographs scattered throughout the pages of the book. The author used them wonderfully to move the story along and bring life to the characters. The coolest part is that many of the photos were bought throughout the years at different yard sales. The approach definitely could have come across as gimmicky but Riggs never overdoes it.

While I did like a lot of the book, there were a few things that made me go, “huh?” Because this is a book for young adults, Riggs must have felt it necessary to throw in a relationship just for the sake of having one. Jacob and one of the girls who live with Miss Peregrine, Emma, immediately fall for one another. The love story was not needed and finding out about Emma’s past relationship makes it more awkward and less believable.

I also had a hard time believing in the monsters who killed Jacob’s grandfather. I do not want to give away details of the novel but I feel as though Riggs had the beginnings of a great idea but was not sure how to follow through. He seemed to take the Stephanie Meyer approach to the supernatural: Sure a lot of this doesn’t make sense or add up, but let’s just use some technical wording, blame it on science, and move on. I also kept thinking, “You are mini versions of the X-Men! Why are you scared of monsters? Get out of your house and fight them!”

Final Verdict: Sure I may have given the book some slack for being X-Men 2.0, but I like the X-Men. So I won’t hold that against it. I found it enjoyable and will eventually check out the second book. I gave it a 3-star rating on Goodreads.

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