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The Peculiars

3.31  ·  Rating details ·  1,981 ratings  ·  427 reviews
On her 18th birthday, Lena Mattacascar decides to search for her father, who disappeared into the northern wilderness of Scree when Lena was young. Scree is inhabited by Peculiars, people whose unusual characteristics make them unacceptable to modern society. Lena wonders if her father is the source of her own extraordinary characteristics and if she, too, is Peculiar.

Hardcover, 354 pages
Published May 1st 2012 by Harry N. Abrams
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Rachel In what way? Its a clean read if thats what you mean. Next to no romance.

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Average rating 3.31  · 
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 ·  1,981 ratings  ·  427 reviews

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Mar 26, 2012 rated it it was ok
Recommends it for: I don't know if I'd recommend it
*Warning: there will be spoilers in this review, but most are minor. I will mark the major spoiler in a spoiler tag*

Hmm… So this is what steampunk is…. It doesn’t seem any different than any other genres, other than the fact that it’s set in the late 1800’s (which I found out a little too late in the book, I believe at around 40%), and it’s time period is at the dawn of inventions, such as the “aerocopter”. It’s upsetting that this book has gotten such a low rating of two stars from me, beca
Apr 17, 2012 rated it did not like it
Original review posted on The Book Smugglers

Lena Mattacascar is a deeply troubled young woman whose father disappeared when she was young. Born with elongated hands and feet, she OFTEN (often!) wonders: are these signs of Goblinism? Is she then one of those Peculiar people? Do they even exist? Was her father really a Goblin as her grandmother likes to say? If so, is she destined to be a wicked, wicked girl since Peculiars are said to have no soul?

On her 18th Birthday, she is given a letter writt
Mar 06, 2012 rated it it was ok
Review on Linny's Literature

The moment that I saw The Peculiars' beautiful cover, I knew I would have to read it regardless of my general aversion to steam punk and a few reviews I saw that were far from raving. Well, guess what, the cover has virtually nothing to do with the book. That lovely character with the wings? Pretty sure that's the daughter of the maid of the man that the main character ends up working for.

Just.. what? So right off the bat The Peculiars lost my trust. It never redeemed
Feb 27, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: netgalley
Actual rating four and a half stars.

The peculiars is the story of a young woman named Lena who is more or less flawed both physically and mentally. Lena sets out on a journey to discover the truth of who and what she is despite the knowledge that finding out may prove both difficult and heartbreaking. When she turns eighteen her mother gives her a letter and a small inharitence that her father left for her before he left his family many years before. Lena has grown up hearing from her Grandmothe
I’m a big fan of the steampunk genre. I love all the cool gadgets and contraptions. It was with great anticipation that I picked up this book. Set in the late 1880’s, the Peculiars had that quirky, Victorian feel. As for the steampunk elements, aside from a horseless carriage, they really didn’t make much of an appearance until about Chapter 9.

The Peculiars is the story of Lena Matascar, a young woman with strange hands and feet. Lena is leaving her home to travel north in search of her estrange
Jan 03, 2012 rated it really liked it
3.5/5 stars

In The Peculiars, McQuerry has created a fascinating steampunk, alternate history of the American western frontier. In this new time line, some people are born with genetic abnormalities like wings or elongated hands and feet. Rumors abound about a strange land to the north – a land filled with vast natural resources, beasts, criminals and such peculiar people. These stories are often dismissed by law-abiding, non-peculiar citizens as fantastical tales and the superstitions of gullibl
Cassi aka Snow White Haggard
2/5 stars

The Peculiars is what I would call "prematurely published". It's always very unfortunate when someone allows this to happen. It's an interesting idea for a world but the author seems to lack an actual interesting story to put in the world.

Instead what you get is a book that spends nearly half of it's time preforming chores, another half repeating itself (how many times must it be re-iterated that the letter is pinned in her chemise????) and tries to throws together a flight and camping
Dec 18, 2011 rated it liked it
Well, the Steampunk genre seems to be the next trend in YA fiction. I find the concept of a lot of these books fascinating but I'm not sure if they're really going to be my kind of thing. I was very intrigued by The Peculiars. I loved the awesome cover and the premise sounded different and interesting. I definitely haven't read many books like this so have nothing to compare it with. But really, I didn't find this one all that impressive. It wasn't bad but was missing that extra spark for me.

Aug 10, 2012 rated it did not like it
I had to force myself to finish this. There just wasn't enough oomph in the story to keep me interested.
The premise sounds good, but the reality of the plot wasn't my cuppa.

Lena thinks she may be a Peculiar, because she has really loooong hands and feet. Her feet have soft squishy soles, and her fingers have an extra knuckle.
Sorry, but that sounds gross.
Evidently, people are just starting to find out about the existence of Peculiars, and the backlash is not good.
She meets another family of Pec
Jun 03, 2012 rated it it was ok

This dark and thrilling adventure, with an unforgettable heroine, will captivate fans of steampunk, fantasy, and romance. On her 18th birthday, Lena Mattacascar decides to search for her father, who disappeared into the northern wilderness of Scree when Lena was young. Scree is inhabited by Peculiars, people whose unusual characteristics make them unacceptable to modern society. Lena wonders if her father is the source of her own extraordinary characteristics and if she, too, is Peculiar. On the
Abria Mattina
Apr 16, 2012 rated it liked it
Shelves: arc, review-2012
I was looking forward to The Peculiars because I enjoy a good steampunk novel. The book begins with Lena, a self-deprecating oddball who has just turned eighteen and inherited money from her absent father. She decides to go into Scree, his home country, to find him and research her roots. The early chapters of the book contain a lot of action as Lena’s journey to Knob Knoster, the nearest border town, doesn’t go as smoothly as planned. It looked like it was going to be an exciting ride, but as s ...more
Feb 24, 2012 rated it it was ok
*Genre* Steampunk, Alt-Historical Reality
*Rating* 2.5


On the day of her eighteenth birthday, Lena Mattacascar receives a letter from her father Saul who went missing when she was five years old. In it, Lena receives a small inheritance along with a deed to a mine in Scree. Soon thereafter, Lena leaves home and travels north in search of answers about her heritage.

Lena was born with large hands and feet, and thus everyone believed she was a goblin, or a Peculiar including her own grandmot
Jan 15, 2012 rated it liked it
It took me a very, very long time to get into this book. I think my biggest issue was with the main character. She seemed to be making rather dubious decisions that, really, were just…stupid. I understand that she was looking for some kindness and the man in question pushed the right buttons but come on now. Her choices made me question her intelligence and that’s never a good thing. However, she was redeemed at the end which is not exactly a very good thing since it’s the end of the book but si ...more
Jill Williamson
May 11, 2012 rated it it was amazing
This is a fun book. Totally clean. Lena is shy and naive, self-conscious of how she looks, especially in regards to her hands and feet. Jimson is loyal to Mr. Beasley and enthralled with invention and progress. He doesn't care much for Lena's faith, which adds some interesting discussions here and there. And Mr. Beasley is the enigmatic inventor, who reminded me somewhat of Doc Brown in the Back to the Future movies.

I enjoyed the premise of what makes one human. The Peculiars with their strange
Erica (storybookend)
This book was rather boring. And I’m sad to say that, because it did sound interesting. But it failed to interest me, or excite me, or make me eager to keep reading. Most of my disinterest was because of the characters. They were flat and boring. They didn’t feel real to me. And Lena was the worst. (which is really bad, because if the MC doesn’t generate enough interest in the reader, her involvement in the plot will seem pointless, and her relationships with the other characters will be stupid ...more
Jan 30, 2012 rated it it was ok
I was so excited to get this book the premise sounded interesting. I thought a story of Goblins with possibly a new approach enjoyable. However that is about as far as it went, this story was painfully slow for me. The plot looked to have potential and then stalled out after the first quarter of the book. It did pick up a bit toward the end or last quarter, but by this point I didn't much care what happened. I think this book might have good potential if marketed for a younger age group eight to ...more
Feb 12, 2012 rated it it was ok
Egalley thanks to Abrams

Well, I'll keep my review short on this one as I don't have much to say.

First of all, I understand now why they needed to change the cover, because this book needs all the sellable points it could get. However don't be misled, - Lena is not blond and she doesn't have chicken wings. Her Pecular trait is goblinism - long hands and long feet.

I really struggled with The Peculiars and was tempted to DNF it a few times. It was excruciatingly slow to the point of boredom, and di
Mar 08, 2012 rated it it was ok
Meh, this one just didn't do it for me. My favorite character was Ms.Mumbles(the cat). This book is called 'The Peculiars' but it lacked peculiars, I wanted to know more about them. The different gadgets that were in this book only left me confused, and the main character only served to get on my nerves with her idiotic choices.
I received an ARC from
Colleen Houck
This one doesn't feel like it should be a stand alone. The worldbuilding was so well done, I think it warranted a second or even a third book. I love the idea of Peculiars living among the human population and a doctor who helps them. I loved the house and the journey across the land via a primitive version of a helicopter. If you like steampunk, check out this book.
DNF. It was too slow and by the looks at the reviews, not worth trying to finish it.
Emily Elizabeth
As seen on Ed and Em's Reviews!

Warning: This review contains girlish squeals, rambling and quite a few capitals. It probably won't make much sense.

I LOVE THIS WRITING. Sorry for the all-caps, but I cannot stress that point enough. Here, let me give you a tidbit:

"Her hands spidered out like daddy-longlegs."

I love creepy bug references.

"It belched great sighs of steam in satisfaction."

And a little alliteration.

This book has the strangest names for people and places. It's so creative and really in
Sarah Elizabeth
Apr 09, 2012 rated it really liked it
(I was given this book for free on a read-to-review basis. Thanks to NetGalley and ABRAMS)
18-year-old Lena has always been different. Born with strangely narrow, long hands and feet, and fingers and toes with extra joints, she has always worn gloves to try to hide her problem. Her Nana says that Lena was born this way because her father was a goblin(!) and Lena lives in fear of being labelled ‘Peculiar’.

Living in an alternate world in the late 1800’s, criminals, and people who are ‘Peculiar’ are
Originally posted at The Wandering Fangirl.

The Peculiars is a novel that seems like tons of fun and could be host to a thrilling adventure and a journey of self-discovery, but it simply falls flat.

The story starts off strong as we’re introduced to Lena Mattacascar, who has extra knuckles in her hands and feet, something she believes to be a sign of goblinism, which might make her a Peculiar and thus unacceptable to society and herself. Most of the novel centers on Lena’s growing struggle with he
Jan 13, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Thank you, Maureen Doyle McQuerry, for the three gifts you have given a reader of The Peculiars: an interesting story well told; new, fun words to look up or words used in ways I’m not used to using them; and characters for whom I developed such affection that it made me a little wistful to reach the end of the story.

First, I was drawn into Lena’s adventure right off and was eager to return to see it through whenever I would have to set aside the book. The storyline skirted artfully through what
Dani ❤️ Perspective of a Writer
Read to page 201 and skipped around the end.

Lena has resolved herself to be one of those seriously stupid protagonists who make the wrong choice no matter what others she trusts tells her or even what she commits to in lieu of what is polite (who gives a flying leap) or to do the thing she is TOLD is the right thing (and decidedly NOT the right thing to do if she'd given it a thought!) It's like she has no conscience or thoughts of her own - she just merrily does what a creepy sheriff tells her
Dec 29, 2012 rated it liked it
Shelves: supernatural
Okay, so when I think of a Goblin, I think of something along the lines of THIS , not a pretty girl with abnormaly long fingers and feet. But, Lena is not sure if she is actually a Goblin or not. He Father might have been, he left when she was a little girl, and now, on her 18th birthday he has left her some money and a map to her inheritance in Scree (the place where felons and "Peculiars" go). So, naturally against her Mother's and Grandmothers wishes, she is determined to go. She has to know ...more
Mlpmom (Book Reviewer)
I was pretty interested in this book from the first time that I saw the cover and read the synopsis. It sounded like it would be something different and fun to read. Something unique than what is out there right now in the world of YA.

With those high hopes in mind, I was a little sad when this book started out so slow. I admit, I had to put this book down a few times and come back to it after reading something else for awhile.

Thankfully it did pick up a little and while it was still sort of slow
Jessie  (Ageless Pages Reviews)
Though this ended up less steampunk and more proto-steampunk than I had hoped, The Peculiars is well, a peculiar but utterly delightful novel. Lena the main character is interestingly flawed - both personality-wise and appearance-wise - and her exploits to find her father and herself in the bargain are never less than entertaining to read. The ending is left somewhat open for a possible (please!) sequel in the hopefully not too distant future; you can be certain that if/when it appears, I'll be ...more
Oct 26, 2017 rated it really liked it
I've only just started, but I can say after two pages, I put it down and said, "Wow, this is interesting!" I got sucked into it immediately.
Actual rating 3.5

After reading the description of McQuerry's The Peculiars, I could not wait to read it. I love alternative histories and I love quests, and, in many ways, The Peculiars did not disappoint. McQuerry's writing style is engaging, drawing the reader quickly into the story. After years of feeling alienated and different from everyone around her, Lena sets of to the wilds of Scree (ostensibly Canada) in search of her father. The plot starts out a little slow, but quickly picks up. On
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What's the Name o...: SOLVED. Orphan girl on a train. [s] 3 35 Sep 12, 2017 09:01AM  
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All of my books have an element of mystery and magic, even the realistic stories. And as a friend pointed out, there is a library in every one of them. It must be because libraries have always been magical places for me.

Maureen McQuerry is an award winning poet, novelist and teacher. Her YA novel, The Peculiars (Abrams/Amulet 2012) is an ALA Best Book for Young Adult Readers 2013, Bank Street and

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