July 25, 2013

Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs

Grandpa Portman tells fantastic stories of unusual children, and even has pictures to prove that his stories are real. Sixteen year old Jacob had been hearing them, and believing them for years, but now that he is older he is convinced that they are all fake... convinced until he goes to visit grandpa, discovers him half dead in the woods behind his house, sees an unusual creature, and then is given a cryptic message by grandpa just before he dies. Jacob spirals into a deep depression, haunted by grandpa's message. After therapy, and family pressure, Jacob decides that he must go to a small island off the coast of England to visit the orphanage where his grandfather was placed during World War II. What follows is a haunting, fantastic adventure into a world that no one knows exists....or do they?

The refreshing thing about this book is that it is original...not another fantasy that uses Harry Potter as its template. What is not so refreshing is the writing. The writing is a bit stilted, lacking the lyrical, haunting tone that would have served this story well. The original, vintage photographs do provide some of the atmosphere missing in the writing, but it wasn't enough for me. That said, this will be popular in the library. The fantastical story of peculiar children with unusual powers will draw the reader in, as well as its exciting conclusion, that leaves enough open for a certain sequel.
Reed Reads Score: 3.5