Kristilyn's Reviews > Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children

Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs
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Jan 23, 2012

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bookshelves: physical-book, read-in-2012
Read from January 23 to 26, 2012

Obviously, I’m not a stickler for detail, because it wasn’t until I started reading Ransom Riggs’s book Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children that I realized the little girl pictured on the cover is actually floating. Even though I didn’t notice this small detail, I was still immediately intrigued by this book because of the spooky looking cover. Everything — from the picture, to it being printed in black and white, to the fonts and design — drew me in.

It was cover-love at first sight.

That being said, this wasn’t my favourite book. I don’t want to knock it down or anything, but my favourite thing about this book was the cover design and the layout and design of the innards of the book — the pages devoted to the beginning of each chapter, the almost vintage quality of the entire book, and — most of all — the inclusion of the creepy photos throughout the novel.

Miss Peregrines Home for Peculiar Children is a book about Jacob, a 15-year-old boy who’s best friend is his grandpa. He doesn’t lead the best life — his parents are wealthy, owning a chain of pharmacies across Florida, and one day Jacob will own it. But he’s not thrilled about it. His life seems to be lacking excitement, except for when he sits with his grandpa, who tells him stories of his past. These stories revolve around an orphanage on a mysterious island; an orphanage where he had quite the variety of friends, from a girl who could float, to one who can conjure up fire, to another who is invisible.

When Jacob’s grandpa dies, Jacob convinces his dad to take him to the island where his grandfather grew up, in the hopes that he can find the orphanage and learn more about his grandpa — and the mysterious way he died.

For me, when I think about the story itself, I think the first half of it was the strongest. I loved the stories from Jacob’s grandpa, and the descriptions of the kids at the orphanage. I was creeped out by the inclusion of the photos, but thought they were incorporated well for the most part. Riggs’s writing isn’t too difficult, it was almost like reading a Percy Jackson novel — I liked the main character and the adventures he was undertaking. The story itself wasn’t creepy, which is what I expected from the cover and from the synopsis on the front flap. I felt like this book could have been extremely creepy, had Riggs went that route.

The photos were one of my favourite parts of the book — some were quite tame, others spine-tingling creepy and weird — but I really think they could have done more for the story. Photos of kids at the orphanage were mentioned by Jacob’s grandpa, but then these kids weren’t anywhere else in the novel. It’s almost like Riggs chose the safer kids to actually incorporate into the bones of the novel — rather than some of the creepier ones introduced earlier in the book. There were also some inconsistencies with the photographs — certain characters were meant to be the same person in multiple photos, but didn’t look anything like they did in a previous photo.

There’s romance in this book, but I felt it was unnecessary. I don’t want to spoil anything for future readers, but my thought was that the romance was both unnecessary and just a little morbid. It’s a romance that could’ve just been a good friendship — I think it may have worked a little better that way.

The end of the book is set up for a sequel, which I have mixed feelings about. I felt that the book was almost too long and went in the complete opposite direction from where I was expecting it to go. I also felt it could have been a solitary book, rather than one with more sequels. Especially if Riggs wants to incorporate more photos — I’m just not sure how he’ll do that because with this first instalment, the great thing about the photos was that they were in the past.

Of course, I am intrigued, somewhat, by where Riggs is going with this story, so I do look forward to reading the next one. I hope the next book is just as lovely designed as the first.
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01/24/2012 page 179
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