SYNOPSIS: A mysterious island. An abandoned orphanage. And 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.
16-year-old Jacob no longer believes his grandfather’s stories about the strange children he knew as a boy in the refuge he fled to during the war in order to escape Nazi persecution. Jacob also believes that the old photographs his grandfather shows him to support his stories are somehow ‘photo-shopped’. Clearly, grandpa is getting old and losing it.
But then his grandfather is savagely murdered and dies in Jacob’s arms with the mystifying message to “Find the bird. In the loop. On the other side of the old man’s grave. September third, 1940.” On top of that, as his grandfather dies, Jacob sees a monster that no one else can see. In the process of unraveling the meaning of this mysterious message, Jacob not only gains a great deal of insight about his grandfather, but also about himself.
It has been a while since I’ve read a book I enjoyed so much! It was very well written. The style was wonderfully descriptive and truly pulled me into the story and its environment. The story itself was delightfully twisty and turny and kept me engaged and interested all the way through. Every time I thought I knew where it was going, the story takes another twist. The ending wraps up all the elements of this first book nicely, but left me wanting to know what happens next.
‘Miss Peregrin’s…’ is written in first-person from the perspective of a 16-year-old boy, and intermixed with dozens of quirky, vintage photographs that the story is brilliantly written around. I have to say, this perspective is not real high up in my preferences. HOWEVER, it was superbly done! I was four chapters in before I realized that I was reading first-person. Jacob read as a typical teenage boy – a bit mouthy, sometimes surly, unsure of himself and his place in the world, constantly at war with his parents – but only enough so that I felt that I was really meeting Jacob, but not being overwhelmed by him or bored with his attitude. His perspective is important to the story, but isn't the whole story, and I really enjoyed that about the book.
Now I’m dying to read the sequel, which comes out, according to the author, sometime in 2013 (YAY!). Mr. Riggs mentions on his blog that writing a second book requires a careful approach “if you want them not to suck”. I can appreciate that as a writer... my work not sucking is actually quite high up on my list of life goals. As a reader, I appreciate that because I'm really looking forward to the next chapter in Jacob's life.