Book Review: Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children

Series: Miss Peregrine, #1
Publication Date: June 7th 2011 by Quirk Publishing
Rating: |

Summary: A mysterious island.

An abandoned orphanage.

A strange collection of very curious 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 were more than just peculiar. They may have been dangerous. They may have been quarantined on a deserted 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.

Review Overview:

  • SAT writing – Riggs uses a lot of big words
  • A bit creepy but did not give me nightmares
  • Reminds me of X-Men in book form

I knew I had to read this book the moment I watched the book trailer for MISS PEREGRINE’S HOME FOR PECULIAR CHILDREN. I heard about this book waaaay back. I’m pretty sure I saw Quirk Books promoting the novel during BEA, and I’m kicking myself for not getting a copy way back then. I finally had a chance to pick it up from my library because I just couldn’t wait until I got a copy of my own.

First of all, let me just say that I read this on e-book format (hangs head in shame). I don’t usually have a problem with e-books, but I think that this is the kind of book that’s just better to have in print. Mostly because of the photographs. I think that the photographs do still come out nicely in e-ink, but I do think that they lose quality. With that said, the pictures were the perfect complement to the novel. I love how the photographs were found at a flea market and used to help tell a story. The photographs made up a majority of the creep factor of the novel, especially because I know that they are actually real pictures.

I thought this book would give me nightmares. I thought it would be the kind that would prevent me from turning the lights off at night. On one hand, because I am such a scaredy cat, I am glad that it wasn’t that scary. Just a little bit creepy. But on the other hand, I’m a bit disappointed. At least the title of the book has it right. The novel isn’t about Jacob meeting scary children. It’s about peculiar children – and they are indeed peculiar with their unusual talents.

So these peculiar children with special talents are whisked away to live in a house with Miss Peregrine. The concept reminds me a bit of X-Men and the Xavier Institute for Higher Learning, but these kids are not superheroes. So yeah, similarities are pretty minimal (not to mention the fact that my X-Men knowledge is extremely limited to the movies) but I thought that it was an interesting comparison. You may agree or disagree.

I do need to comment on Riggs’s writing. Let me just say it flat out: he likes to use big words. I don’t have a problem with big words per se, but it did make me question the audience for MISS PEREGRINE’S. Is this an adult novel in the guise of YA? Or is this a YA novel that just uses really big words? (Did that even make any sense?) In the end, I decided that I was clearly underestimating the YA genre. Why can’t an author use big words? We take SATs! It’s great to see these vocab words actually in use. I’m not going to insult the intelligence of YA readers. But on the chance that you do stumble upon a word that you don’t recognize, it only takes 2 seconds to google the definition.

For the most part, I thought the novel was so-so. The plot moved a bit slow as Jacob runs around the island trying to uncover secrets about Miss Peregrine and the children. It was interesting, but not compelling as I thought it would be. However, at the climax of the novel, there was  a part that made me go, OMG WHAT JUST HAPPENED?! I did not see it coming. The shock factor is what pushed my rating of MISS PEREGRINE’S from a 3-star book to a 4-star book. I’m not going to go deep into it because I’d hate to spoil it for you. Just be warned.

I was satisfied with the ending of MISS PEREGRINE’S. It does leave off with some questions as to what will happen next, but it wasn’t so much of a cliffhanger that makes me want to read the sequel right at this second. I will probably pick up the sequel when it comes out in 2013, but I can be quite patient about it.

I would recommend it to those who want a moderately spooky read. Just don’t look at the pictures for too long, or you’ll definitely get creeped out.

Why I’m Biased: Have you seen the book trailer? It was so creepy. Surprisingly, the book wasn’t as scary as the trailer made it out to be.

Other Reviews:
Book Rat
Novel Thoughts
Small Review

About the Author

Ransom Riggs grew up in Florida, went to Kenyon College in Ohio, then film school at USC in LA, where he still lives. He writes books and screenplays, blogs daily for, and makes short films.

Find the Author

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  1. “The novel isn’t about Jacob meeting scary children. It’s about peculiar children”

    Good point! I’m not really sure if I’m going to continue with this series, especially if we have to wait all the way until 2013 for it.

    Thank you for including my link!

    1. I agree. 2013 is really far away. I think that the novel tied up nicely enough for me and I don’t know if I’d still be interested in continuing the series 2 years from now…

  2. I saw this book in my local bookstore way back and I’m now kicking myself too for not picking it up (well, I browsed it and I really found it interesting). Maybe I was just worried it’d give me nightmares or whatever. The photos creeped me out actually.

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