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Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children

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The #1 New York Times Best Seller is now a major motion picture from visionary director Tim Burton, starring Eva Green, Asa Butterfield, Ella Purnell, Samuel L. Jackson, and Judi Dench.

Bonus features
• Q&A with author Ransom Riggs
• Eight pages of color stills from the film
• Sneak preview of Hollow City, the next novel in the series

A mysterious island. An abandoned orphanage. A strange collection of peculiar 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 decaying bedrooms and hallways, it becomes clear that Miss Peregrine’s 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.

382 pages, Paperback

First published June 7, 2011

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About the author

Ransom Riggs

62 books22.5k followers
Hi, I'm Ransom, and I like to tell stories. Sometimes I tell them with words, sometimes with pictures, often with both. I grew up on a farm on the Eastern shore of Maryland and also in a little house by the beach in Englewood, Florida where I got very tan and swam every day until I became half fish. I started writing stories when I was young, on an old typewriter that jammed and longhand on legal pads. When I was a little older I got a camera for Christmas and became obsessed with photography, and when I was a little older still my friends and I came into possession of a half-broken video camera and began to make our own movies, starring ourselves, using our bedrooms and backyards for sets. I have loved writing stories and taking photographs and making movies ever since, and have endeavored to do all three.

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 65,964 reviews
Profile Image for Crystal Starr Light.
1,357 reviews831 followers
March 9, 2021
Hi! I'm tired of defending myself for the egregious crime of not liking a book and writing about it. So I thought I would do a favor and just hide it with spoiler tags. So now, if Goodreads hasn't goofed, you can just see I rated this 2-stars and move on.

If you love this book, great! Skip this review and focus on reading books that you like instead of hunting down negative reviews for your favorite book or maybe writing a review why you liked this book.

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Profile Image for Emily May.
1,993 reviews298k followers
April 17, 2016
When I was a child, one of my favourite things to do was to look through pictures in books - children's picture books, colouring books, etc. - and tell stories in my mind with them.

For example, a picture of two children holding hands would start this story of friendship, which would then grow with every picture, introducing grander stories and dragons, unicorns, whatever the pictures gave me.

Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children reminds me of that.

This story, for me, feels completely disjointed and messy. It is evidently framed around this marvelous collection of creepy, vintage photographs, but the story is not smoothly incorporated. It reads like you can imagine the author viewing each image and trying to find a way to fit it into the plot of the book.

Here's a weird image of a girl smoking a pipe and peeling potatoes, how can I make that part of the story? Here's a creepy picture of some twins in clown outfits, how do I add that to the book?

And if you're thinking of reading this as a creepy book for Halloween - it is not scary at all. The narrative never delivers an atmosphere deserving of the photography. It's all a bit bland and never becomes anything more than a standard paranormal tale about teens/children with special powers.

Additionally, the narrator - Jacob - is simply not a character I like to read about. I hate it when rich, privileged narrators constantly wallow in their own self-pity for no good reason. Here, he says:
If I never went home, what exactly would I be missing? I pictured my cold cavernous house, my friendless town full of bad memories, the utterly unremarkable life that had been mapped out for me.

What??? He is from a ridiculously wealthy family and has two loving parents and lives in a huge house. He did have a part time job, but he took it for granted and spent his time showing up late and deliberately shelving things wrong because he wanted to be fired. He also did have a best friend, but his friend not surprisingly walked out after this exchange:
“What are you, my mom?”
“Do I look like I blow truckers for food stamps?”

I did not like him at all. Some unlikable characters are unlikable in a complex and interesting way, but Jacob is just a spoiled, entitled and selfish brat.

Add that to the simplistic, yet messy, storytelling and this book was completely disappointing. I'm also tempted to say it "reads like a middle grade" book, but that would be an insult to some of the fantastic middle grade books I've read recently. It just reads like a not very good book.

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Profile Image for Tatiana.
1,406 reviews11.7k followers
December 4, 2013
Let me tell you a secret, Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children is actually:

(I don't think what follows is a spoiler, but am marking it as such anyway as some people think it is.)



Rarely do I come across a book that is as far from what it aspires to be as this one. You might expect Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children to be a mysterious, deranged, quirky, horror-filled tale, but it just isn't. The novel was clearly written around a collection of peculiar and unsettling photos, but the narrative never reaches the level of creepy of the visual materials it relies on.

Instead, it is a mediocre at best book that should have had 10-year old as its characters instead of teens. And instead of artsy, angst-filled photographs, it should have had more appropriate pencil illustrations



to go with its Monster-is-going-to EAT-you! BOO! plot.

You don't believe me it's bad? Try reading the book or, better yet, listen to the audio version of it without the visual aid of the photos. See what you think of the writing then.

The photos are worth looking at though.
Profile Image for Rick Riordan.
Author 259 books409k followers
November 8, 2013
This book has been getting a lot of well-deserved attention for the way it incorporates unusual antique photographs into the narrative. The premise: Jacob grew up on his grandfather’s stories about his own childhood during World War II. Supposedly his grandfather escaped the Holocaust by taking refuge on a Welsh island, at an orphanage that catered to children with strange powers. The grandfather even has photos to prove it. As Jacob grows up, he loses faith in his grandfather, and assumes the stories were fantasies, the photos faked. But when a horrible, inexplicable tragedy occurs, Jacob has to reevaluate. Could those stories have been real? Could this island refuge still exist so many years later? And is it possible his grandfather’s paranoia about ‘monsters’ wasn’t just paranoia? Even without the photos, this would be a gripping story, but the photos add an irresistible element of mystery. The first-person narration is authentic, funny, and poignant. I’m looking forward to the next volume in the series!
Profile Image for Zoë.
328 reviews65.8k followers
January 9, 2016
Edit on January 9th, 2016: I haven't thought about this book since I read it in July and I really have no interest anymore in reading the rest of the series.
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It definitely was a slow moving book, but the plot really held my attention and I loved the use of the pictures. Sometimes I felt like he tried a little too hard to make the pictures perfectly fit into the story which made it a little awkward to read, but they still made the reading experience more interesting. The book really read like a movie and I can't wait to see how Tim Burton's interpretation is going to turn out!
Profile Image for Wigs.
80 reviews1,234 followers
March 27, 2012
I can't even.



The poor execution of a good idea is just so upsetting to me.

The main problem with this book is that the entire time I was reading I felt like a high school English teacher grading a student's paper, when in fact I am not a teacher or anyone who majored in English or writing. If I am simply a normal reader thinking this, then who the hell was working as the editor?? Did they not bring up these issues? Clearly the several people the author listed in his acknowledgements couldn't have been reading closely enough. The text was just screaming "amateur writer, please help."

What surprises me is that the author's background is in film. Being that I myself have a background in film, I can tell you that the one thing that is stressed is making conclusive ideas. Do not bring up something that has no relevance to the rest of the story (because obviously in film, every second is costly, whereas of course in Microsoft Word there is so consequence to typing more characters.) What bothered me most was that the author seemed unaware about how to properly use the gimmick of his entire book: the old photographs, some photoshopped, some vintage original, to illustrate the world. He used several of these pictures simply to use them, and I find out later that they in fact contribute nothing to the story.

That's right. There's no reason at all for them to be there.



Often it seems the author was thinking "oh that's a cool picture, let's throw it in," when in fact there's no connection that it's in there, besides the narrator finding the picture. Here I'm speaking of the several pictures of Peculiars that we never meet, the clown twins (who we have TWO different photographs of at different times in the book, as if they have significance), the dog headed boy, the girl in the jar, the girl with the reflection....I could go on. Why include these photographs if they are not involved in your story? You may think they look cool, author, but it weakens your story when you make no mention of them in your story after you show their pictures. At least make up some sort of subplot about how they've been disappearing or leaving, as to why you've brought up characters simply for putting in pictures. The author states at the end of the book there are only ten children, so it's not like they're there and just not talking. So if there are only ten children, then the fact that all these pictures in there of much more than ten children makes it confusing and annoying. The lack of cohesion was just destroying my brain.



Another thing that weakened the picture gimmick is that the multiple pictures of Emma were clearly different people and it bothered me that the author pretended that wasn't noticeable. The first picture of Emma was more about age 10/11 looking, and the fact that her age, or a description to indicate she's more mature, isn't stated til two chapters after we see that picture completely derailed me and what the mental picture of her was supposed to be. Then the comparison of the picture of potato peeling Emma with the last picture of Emma were not possibly believable as being the same person. I may sound picky, but if your book is centered around this idea, then make your concept strong! Horace as well, the two pictures we have of Horace aren't possibly the same person, and again, an issue with using about a 9 year old kid for his first picture and then a 17 year old boy's picture for the next. Consistency is important, and if he cared I felt he would have dug deeper into finding better photos for his characters instead of just saying "oh this might work." (And I'm not sure which ones were photoshopped and which ones weren't, but the perspective of Victor's bed in the mirror of that one picture is absolutely impossible, and it bothered me to no end looking at it)

Aside from the fact that the entire book felt like it was created simply to show some 'cool vintage photos,' I felt that the author didn't have a full grip on his own ideas. He had good ideas, as complicated as they are. Nice settings, I enjoyed some of the scenes, like the glowfish, and Enoch's big moment, but the writing itself was rather weak. The thing that bothered me quite a lot for the first 2/3 of the book is that the reader is too smart for the book. This book is clearly meant for older teens, due to the language I couldn't say it's for anybody younger, and I know older teens are clearly capable of putting together the information presented and figuring out what's going on. However the narrator does not, and the reader ends up waiting several more pages each time for the narrator to figure it out and then state importantly that he's figured out what's going on as if it's a revelation when we've been waiting for the obvious for a while. Luckily though, at the end there were at least some things I did not see coming, which felt a bit better. However writing-wise I also found some general writing 'don'ts' that screamed out at me, like lack of pronoun clarification, use of cliche phrases ("face the music"), and using the same phrase over and over in only a few pages time ("torn to pieces").

Additionally, the side story about Marcie (the one with the photo of the girl crouching waiting for the school bus) clearly showed me that the author didn't have a good idea of his own concept. I don't want to spoil the basic premise of how the world works, but if you think about it there's no way she could have been that age waiting for a school bus if you applied the rules of the world to her.

And lastly, the way the book ended....is there supposed to be a followup book? I didn't believe so, but it's so unfinished I'm not sure. Perhaps he was going for a bit of both, like 'if this book does well I'll write another, but if not it doesn't matter.' I understand the reasoning of why it ended how it does: because of the way things turned out, the narrator is now in charge and has plenty of things to do with his life. But there's no conclusion whatsoever. The questions that such openness leaves hanging in the air just adds to the already mounting stack of issues with weak writing.

Overall, the book had some good ideas, and the gimmick with the photos would have been nice, however the ideas aren't fully formed. With lots of editing and reinforcement of concept, this could have been a good book. Unfortunately, due to the fact that the people working with him on this book didn't bring up or didn't force the author to take a longer look at his numerous weak points, we end up with a book that feels flattened by the author's inability to form and communicate ideas effectively.



This book is, sadly, a mess.
Profile Image for NickReads.
461 reviews1,194 followers
June 6, 2020
yo I came for the horror, got the fluffy stuff
March 31, 2016
This is just one of those books whose hype I don't really "get." I read this years ago when it was newly released, and was thoroughly unimpressed. Upon my second reading of this book, my opinion remains unchanged.

A few creepy pictures and some weird people do not a horror tale make, and honestly, that's all the story is. It's a book about stories, and too much attention is focused on the telling of those stories instead of developing the actual plot. As a result, the tale fell flat for me. It was too distracting, and it was nowhere as creepy or weird as it touts itself to be.

There is a severe lack of character development. The children within the book are presented to us in a way one would display a circus freak. They are defined by their eccentricities, and they are without much personality of their own. In that sense, they really are no better than a circus freak, the way they are shown to us; there is little empathy within the reader for them, they are sidelined.

Furthermore, it is slow. The book focuses too much on its own little meta-ness that it just lost me. I had grown bored by the middle of the book, and the latter was truly a pain to suffer through.

I just don't get it. It wasn't scary. It was slow and boring. There's some interesting pictures, but come on, we have Google Image Search for a reason, as well as Reddit (/r/creepypasta!). For me, this book was a waste of my time and effort.
Profile Image for Giselle.
990 reviews6,356 followers
July 27, 2011
This book started with a bang. It was very creepy, exciting and really intriguing, but it all went downhill from there. Once the mystery around the house was explained - which was fairly early and without any nuance - it became a very boring and almost childish story, which I didn't expect at all.

One thing I can say I enjoyed was the photographs- they're scattered throughout the book, all black and white and remarkably creepy. They add a nice eery touch to the story and gives it a really unique flair.

The plot is what I didn't like. After its strong beginning, it fizzles into this bland and predictably dull tale. Don't get me wrong. It's very unique and unconventional so I can see it's appeal. It's also well written and does stem from great creativity, but I found it lacked too much detail and sophistication. The characters, too, fell flat and as a few things went unexplained we were left with scattered holes in the plot.

This book is marketed for young adults but definitely feels more juvenile, like a child's fairy tale, which is not what I expected hence leaving me feeling a bit underwhelmed.
Profile Image for Felicia.
Author 46 books128k followers
May 12, 2015
This is kinda like uh...a hipster Harry Potter. Not a bad thing! I liked it a lot. There are tons of cool vintage photographs that lend the air of a turn of the century freak show. I loved the world and the vibe though.
Profile Image for Mohammed Arabey.
709 reviews5,735 followers
January 14, 2018
هل تستهويك تلك الصور الغريبة..الرهيبة..الأبيض والأسود ذات الطابع المقبض؟

بالأخص التي بها أطفال؟؟ تلك التي صورت وقت كان الأمر مكلفا بحق مما يجعلك تفكر، لماذا؟



هل تعجبك تيمة روايات المدارس التي تضم أولئك الذين ولدوا بقدرات خارقة..او سحرية؟


حسنا، تعال معي وأهلا بك في عالم بيت الأنسة بيرجريني للأطفال الغرباء

Read it before Tim Burton Multi-color edition of it..

If you're into creepy old photos, specially those with children, you know..when Taking pictures was really too expensive to just take a creepy ones..


And If you're into the theme of Schools for Extraordinary talents youth..

Well, so you're Welcome here... Welcome to Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children...
1
Oh and I can't wait to see it with Tim Burton amazing vision. But I feel it's too colorful to the tune of the novel -at least when I saw the trailer and the posters.
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جاكوب فتي في السادسة عشر من عمره, يشهد مصرع جده في حادث غامض يسبب له هلاووس
ولأن جده كان يروي لجاكوب الصغير حكايات غريبة بصور أغرب عندما كان طفلا, فيخاف عليه والده ان يكون مصيره مخرفا كجده...فيذهب لدكتور نفسي

ويقنعه الدكتور بمواجهة تخيلاته فيسافر وأبيه الي جزيرة ما بانجلترا كي يتحقق من ان بيت الايتام الذي عاش به جده بعد الحرب وهو صغير مجرد خيالات وان المكان طبيعيا لاخيال به

وهناك يكتشف حقيقة هولاء الاطفال الذين كانوا اصدقاء لجده يوما ما...كما رأهم في الصور, وذلك بين اطلال ما تبقي من بيت الانسه برجريني منذ غارات الحرب العالمية في الخمسينات
03
لن أحرق لك باقي المفاجأت التي ستكتشفها مع جاكوب حول ماضي جده وحقيقة تلك الصور الغريبة التي كانت بحوزته والبقية التي وجدها جاكوب بعد اكثر من 60 عاما منذ ان غادر جده البيت...منذ ان تم ضرب البيت بقذائف الغارات في الحرب

A sixteen years old Jacob Portman witness the death of his beloved grandfather..which cause for him nightmares, and delusions..
May be it's just because his grandfather's weird stories and creepy photos of his childhood..

Fearing end up bit loony as people said about his grandfather, he goes to a Psychiatrist..
He convince him to face his fantasies and goes to the place where his grandfather grow up, his old Home/School, just to prove that's all imagination and everything is just normal..

And so, Jacob goes to some Island in UK with his father to explore the place .... but he explore more about those childhood friends of his grandfather, more about the house that destroyed in the WW II....

I won't spoil how he find out everything...just will give you a hint...He'll meet his grandfather old friends....The Children themselves......
03

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هي قصة عن الصداقة والعجائب ، نبذ المجتمع للغريب عنه
قصة عن تقبل الاخر...وعن الصراع للبقاء

كحبكة وقصة أعتقد أن تقييمي لها 3 نجوم او 3 ونص بغض النظر عن تتابعات النهاية والتي كنت انتظر منها المزيد
مايشفع للنهاية فعلا هو انها بداية للجزء الثاني..اما ما زاد من تقييمي فهو أمران
أولا الاسلوب السينمائي السهل للمؤلف في الوصف بسهولة وبدون ملل سواء للشخصيات, الاماكن, الاحداث وحتي الاكشن كان افضل بكثير من روايات اخري قد تكون اقوي ولكن وصف الاكشن فيها ممل بالنسبه لي
اذا ما راجعت اغلب الريفيوهات ستجد ان لدي دائما مشكلة في روايات قوية ولكن الاكشن بها لم يعجبني
فمشاهد الصراع قبل النهاية كانت وصفها سينمائي قليل جدا ما يرضيني بحق
وان كانت كما قل..احتجت المزيد من الحبكة بجزء النهاية
03

الامر الثاني والاهم هو كيف تم اخراج هذا الكتاب هو بالتأكيد ما زاد تقييمي لربما 4 ونصف "تم حجب النصف لمعرفة ما اذا كانت السلسله نفسها تستحق ام لا

اولا قبل الحديث عن اخراج الفني للرواية يجب ذم واستحقار ما يحدث في دور النشر المصرية الذي لا يتناسب مع اسعارهما بخصوص الاوان الطباعة..كدار الشروق في استخصار وضع بروتريهات اروايات نجيب محفوظ ضمن الكتاب كما كان يحدث في مكتبة مصر ودور اخري في رداءة الوان الغلاف او الطباعة الداخلية
في هذه الرواية كالصورة السابقة تزدان 15% من صفحاتها بصور غريبة التي تعبر عن احداث الرواية نفسها, علي ورق فاخر جدا لم اجده حتي الان في رواية مصرية ..وبالمناسبة...سعر هذا الكتاب النسخة الورقية منه نفس سعر رواية نادي السيارات التابعة لدار الشروق

عاما نسخةالورقية للاسف ليس بها هذه الصفحتين في الصورة السابقة " مختصر اسماء الابطال مع صورهم" والموجودة فقط في النسخة الهاردكفر
ولكن النسخة الورقية عامابها جميع الصور الأخري وحتي تلك صور الابطال نفسهم ولكن متفرقة ضمن الاحداث, هذا جعلني في بعض الاحيان يختلط علي بعض الاسماء

كما ان بها اضافة حوار مع المؤلف يفجر فيه مفاجأة حقيقة تلك الصور الموجودة بالكتاب....انه بالرغم من انه قد يأتي وقت تشعر ان الصور قام بتصويرها محترف الا ان الصور فعلا هي صور قديمة غير معروف اصحابها وقام ببراعه المؤلف في نسجها في تلك الرواية

ولهذا المجهود, مع الطباعة والأخراج الفني الذي يحترم القارئ..مع قصة جيدة فعلا
تم منحها هذا التقييم..واتمني ان يكون الجزء القادم افضل ايضا في الحبكة من ذلك
خاصا ان النهاية لم ترق لي حبكتها وغير مشجعة كثيرا للبدء في الجزء الثاني

The Story, the plot worth 3, 3.5 of 5 Stars...Just if I skip rating the last chapters..which I expected to be stronger..
What may make these last ones okay that it's consider a "new beginning" to the next novel...which I hope it'd be even stronger.

Two points made me appreciate the novel more :
First the Cinematic way of the story telling, and the ease of describing the action made it a good fun read....although I'm not big fan of long action describing but it was easy here..

The Second is the AMAZING photos and the overall design of the book - I notice that the Hardcover edition even more better with the character photo table too- it was really elegant and creepy..

I suspect first that the pictures were made for the novel but it gave me the creep when I know that it was real photos..
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Great work been done, that why I appreciate the novel more ,and gave it another 0.5 points to Gryffindor to the rating...
I didn't like the ending chapters much... it's not huge encourage to try book two...
But still, sure I will try part 2 soon..
~~~~~~~~~~

After watching the movie thoughts:
It's Great, not all multi color...on the contrary, The shifting in the atmosphere and colors of the scenes was AMAZING.. exactly just how I imagine it.

Have mixed feelings about the ending though. just as the book though it's still very different.


محمد العربي
من 21 مايو 2014
الي 27 مايو 2014

الريفيو في 24 يونيو 2014
Profile Image for Will Byrnes.
1,310 reviews120k followers
October 8, 2020
My grandfather had described it a hundred times, but in his stories the house was always a bright, happy place—big and rambling, yes, but full of light and laughter. What stood before me now was no refuge from monsters, but a monster itself, staring down from its perch on the hill with vacant hunger. Trees burst forth from broken windows and skins of scabrous vine gnawed at the walls like antibodies attacking a virus—as if nature itself had waged war against it—but the house seemed unkillable, resolutely upright despite the wrongness of its angles and the jagged teeth of sky visible through sections of collapsed roof.
Jacob Porter (I leave out his middle name, which you can enjoy discovering on your own) had been enthralled by his grandfather Abe’s magical, if frightening, tales of his past, horrifying monsters in pursuit and a safe haven of a special school in Wales for those fortunate enough to escape. When being the brunt of derision at school was too much, Jacob cast aside his faith in his grandfather’s stories, and assumed the consensus view that Gramps had been speaking metaphorically, about having been chased out of Poland by the Nazis. But when Jacob is a teen, and his grandfather is brutally murdered, he has cause to reconsider.

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Ransom Riggs - from The Columbus Dispatch

There is something both appealing and frightening about old photographs. In our apartment when I was a kid we had a book with photos from the Civil War. The pages were in less than pristine shape, but there were occasional pages that were well preserved, and on which the images were clear. It seemed impossible that people who had lived almost a hundred years before could seem so real, even in black and white, as if they might step out of the pages into our living room. It was similar in seeing photographs of my parents and their seldom, if ever, seen relations. I only knew my parents as middle-aged or elderly. Photos of them as young seemed, somehow, unreal. Nah, they never looked like that. I often wondered who the imposter was in a photo that was supposed to be my father, in full work gear, in front of a locomotive, sans moustache. Was he really my father, and if he was, who was that guy falling asleep in the recliner in the living room?

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Emma Bloom from The Peculiar Children Wikia

The offbeat collection of fascinating photographs included in the book, are one of the things that makes this book stand out. Ransom Riggs, the author of Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children, has a peculiar affinity for old photographs. He had originally intended to collect them into a picture book, but was encouraged to expand on what he had and make a novel out of them. He did, amassing quite the collection, trolling estate and yard sales broadening his scope and finding unexpected notions and plot direction from the new collections. He particularly enjoyed spotting photos that were odd. One appears to show a girl floating above the ground, another an invisible person in a suit, another a young man covered in bees. The book contains about fifty of these images. They lend both a sense of antiquity and strangeness. Many are downright creepy. And that is a good, sometimes a wonderful thing, particularly when the images relate to the darker elements in the story. Riggs selected a lineup of these oddities and from them constructed a tale, an explanation for what the photos purport to show. The result is magical, a triumph of imagination, and a rip-roaring read.
It was just a casual hobby, nothing serious, but I noticed that among the photos I found, the strangest and most intriguing ones were always of children. I began to wonder who some of these strange-looking children had been—what their stories were—but the photos were old and anonymous and there was no way to know. So I thought: If I can’t know their real stories, I’ll make them up…Sometimes I’d find a new photo that just demanded to be included in the story, and I’d find a way to work it in; other times I’d look for a certain type of photo to fit a story idea.
When he begins to dig into the meaning behind a letter his grandfather had left him, Jacob begins on the road to discovery. He must figure out what the words in grandfather’s letter mean. His quest leads him, accompanied by his amateur ornithologist father, to an island off the coast of Wales. I am not giving anything away by letting you know that on this island he finds a very special place and some very special people.

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Miss Peregrine from The Peculiar Children Wikia

I had inconsistent reactions to the book. At first, I was smitten. What a great idea! How beautifully realized! It offered the same sort of tingle I had when reading the first Harry Potter. Later, I felt that the story-telling relied on too many tropes. Oddities-thrown-together-to-cope-in-a-hostile-world, for example. It is no stretch to see close links to, say, X-men, or The Harry Potter series, or even, in a more adult realm, the sideshow performers of Geek Love. There is the portal to another place. Think the wardrobe of Narnia fame or John Carter finding a magical route to Barsoom. Stargates and wormholes are rampant in sci-fi, as are parallel dimension tales, (The Matrix series pops to mind) and there is always the familiar story of one Dorothy Gale to show the way as well. So, a well-worn path.

On the other hand, writers use tropes because they serve a story-telling purpose. What matters more is whether they use well the familiar tools at hand. And they are handled pretty well here. Jacob is a sympathetic lead. Peregrine is a familiar person in charge, the type who is courageous and caring, despite what can seem a severe façade. The crew of peculiars is perfectly fine. And Riggs has come up with a particularly nifty explanation and form for his other world.

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What Jacob finds

Stepping from one world into another, particularly for teens, is usually about leaving the nest and seeing the real world for the first time, whether this is about sexuality, fairness, conflict, truth, or all of the above. Growing up, coming of age. Jacob’s hormones are stretched a bit here, so we can check that box. Also he gets to see some of the reality of what his life pre-Peregrine featured. What were the adults in his life really like when seen through his newly acquired perspective? Can our character grow sufficiently to take on adult responsibilities, make adult decisions? You betcha.

In A Conversation with Ransom Riggs, an extra section at the back of my Peregrine volume, Riggs says
One of the themes of Miss Peregrine, and I think of any novel that involves the discovery of a secret world, is awakening—the protagonist’s awakening to an awesome and wonderful and, in some ways, terrible reality he scarcely could have imagined before, but that was right under his nose all along. At the end of Miss Peregrine, Jacob writes that his life was never ordinary, but he “had simply failed to notice how extraordinary it was.” Noticing the extraordinariness of the world is one of Emerson’s major themes. Again, from Nature: “If the stars should appear one night in a thousand years, how would men believe and adore, and preserve for many generations the remembrance of the city of God which had been shown.
Emerson (Ralph Waldo, not Keith) is referenced several times here. In fact Emerson was much more in the book in earlier versions, according to the afterward in the volume I read. Riggs says
Emerson often speaks of the possibility of fantastic things that exist just out of view, and many of his most famous quotes almost seem to refer directly to the peculiar children.
He offers a mystery, and the clues that Jacob and the reader are challenged to interpret in order to figure out what is going on. And there is magic. The powers of the peculiar children are certainly fun, but not spectacular, overall. A bit of fire control, levitation, super strength, invisibility. A few stand out. One boy has a close relationship with the apian world. Another has a gift for animating the inanimate. A girl can make plants grow very, very fast. One girl has an unexpected way of eating. And, of course, Peregrine has a few nifty tricks up her wing.

The underlying conflict, mirroring the war in the world when the school was founded, (WW II) offers some pretty scary baddies, wights and hollowgasts, the origin story of which called to mind Tolkien’s Gollum. The ongoing fear, chase, and battle loop is fun, generating the needed tension and keeping things moving along.

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Peculiars - from the film

I did not like that dad was portrayed as a dimwit. Not that he needed to be heroic, but he seemed far too lacking in strength and perception for my taste. And then, there are the changes made for the film. This review was posted before the film was released, so I can refer only to what I have read, and not to what I have actually seen. I reserve the right to modify once I have seen the movie. I am not thrilled that the film conflates two girls into one. I do understand that changes are typically made when translating a book to the medium of film. My objection is a small one. And while I expect to quite enjoy the otherworldly looking and compelling Eva Green as Peregrine, I imagined an older bird in the role. Getting Tim Burton as director is an amazing coup. Whatever changes have been made, I expect the film to be enchanting and wonderfully entertaining.

The author writes that this book, like the first Harry Potter, is meant to introduce his characters and his world to readers. It is in the second book in the series, Hollow City, that we can expect to enter that world and experience it more fully. I cannot speak to that one, as I have not yet read it. But I very much want to be kept in the loop for how this series unfolds. Peculiar may not have quite the rich dazzle of the Harry Potter books, but that is a pretty high bar by which to measure any YA series. It is enough that the first one had a particularly fun hook, and was a very enjoyable read, with engaging characters, a good bit action, some mystery, some surpises and a lot of human, and maybe not-so-human connection. I suppose the only thing that would really be peculiar would be if anyone was not interested in checking this out.

Review first posted - 9/30/16

Publication date – 6/7/11

=============================EXTRA STUFF

Links to the author’s personal, Twitter, Instagram, and FB pages

Riggs made the trailer for this, his first novel, after traveling to Belgium and Luxembourg looking for the ruined house of his imagination. The house he selected (shown in the review) is in Belgium.

The Peculiar Children Wikia offers a cornucopia of information about the book and the series

‘Miss Peregrine’ and Tim Burton: The Making of a Film Fable - By Mekado Murphy - SEPT. 23, 2016

The Facebook Page for the movie

A fun fan-site

A fake travel agency site for Cairnholm Island

Check out the Calmgrove site for a nifty take on where the real Cairnholm might be , and its significance
Profile Image for Val ⚓️ Shameless Handmaiden ⚓️.
1,862 reviews30.1k followers
October 5, 2018
This was amazing and I enjoyed it immensely.

I actually grabbed this book because I loved the movie.

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And I watched this movie because, yes, I love anything fantastical and magical...

...but mostly, I watched it because I adore Eva Green…

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God, I love her.

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...and I will literally watch any movie she’s in.
Because, as I said…obsessed.

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Isn't she fierce?

Anystalker, after watching the movie – which I don’t even know why I loved so much, I just did – I really wanted to read the book.

Ya’ll know how that goes.

I’ll be honest though, I didn’t expect to like it as much as the movie. So color me surprised when I did. It’s always dicey with movies and books, no?

Most people ALWAYS like the book better; and I usually do too – when I have read the book BEFORE seeing the movie. But, for whatever reason, for me it’s usually a simple matter of which one I ingested first.

If I read the book first, I typically always like the book more. Full stop.

…However, full transparency, I must admit: most of the time, if I saw the movie first, I have no desire to pick up the book so I never manage to read the book, anyway.

In those cases where I HAVE actually grabbed the book post-movie…I typically liked the movie better. Examples of this are The Notebook and A Walk to Remember…so, apparently if it’s a Nicholas Sparks book, I will like the movie better. LOL. Just realizing that now.

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Le sigh.

Anyway, in the case of this movie, I just knew the book would have details the movie didn’t (as is always the case, I know) and I really wanted to know what those details were. Again, full transparency, I actually think seeing the movie first made this book better for me. As I said, I love Eva Green. And I really enjoyed all the other characters and actors from this movie too. So, of course, I was visualizing them as I was reading. Which I really enjoyed.

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The book was very different than the movie in many ways.
The characters Emma and Olive had their peculiarity traded for the movie, apparently. In the book, Emma is the walking furnace and Olive is the floater.

As such, the book was obviously missing one of my favorite scenes from the movie:

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There were some other major differences too, one of the most obvious being the appearance of Miss Peregrine herself.

Obviously, she was portrayed differently in the movie than she was in the book:

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But, I don't care. Right or wrong, I was picturing my Eva throughout my reading adventure.

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Now, even though it may seem like it's becoming one, I'm not here to do a compare/contrast essay on the book vs the movie, so I will move on from that.

I really, really enjoyed Ransom Rigg's writing style.
Also, even though this is billed as a "children's book," there was a grittiness to it that sets it apart from most books of its kind.

Kind of like Grimm's Red Riding Hood vs Disney's Red Riding Hood.

Creepier, bloodier, and more visceral all around.

I also really enjoyed the pictures that were strategically placed throughout the book.

What a treat to be able to read about characters and then have mysterious pictures of them pop up several pages later.

The coolest part is, in the back of the book, Riggs explains how all the pictures are authentic, vintage photographs (that were only mildly retouched in certain cases to depict a peculiarity) which were part of large vintage collections. Be-YOND cool.

Also, he talks about how the pictures influenced the story and how his background in film influenced his writing.

Pretty MADE to be a movie, no?

Thus, super excited about my next read - before I tackle Hollow City - because I just can't wait:

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Profile Image for Annalisa.
547 reviews1,379 followers
August 10, 2016
2.5 stars

Have you ever played that game where one person starts a story and stops mid-sentence and the next person in the circle has to pick up the story? That's how reading this book felt, only instead of jumping from disjointed person to person, it jumps from disjointed photograph to photograph.

Too bad because it started off fantastic. I loved the writing, the humorous way Riggs has with descriptions, and the old-fashion carny photos were a nice touch. I especially loved the analogy of an orphaned Jewish boy hiding, not from Nazis, but from monsters because he was peculiar. Fantastic.

But then Jacob set off in search of these peculiar children and the story became weak explanations of these old, neglected photos. I didn't believe them. With the whole backdrop of WWII, I couldn't help but think about all the lost Jewish artifacts gone to people whom they didn't belong to and who didn't deserve them and I couldn't help make correlations. What about the real story behind these photographs? What would these people and their lost relatives think of the way Riggs used snapshots that were never meant to be public? Maybe if Riggs had told a fantastic story I couldn't help but believe and love I wouldn't have thought about the lost real lives associated with the pictures, but as it is, I didn't think his story justified them.

Some of my other issues: sometimes Riggs relies too heavily on the photographs and fails to give adequate verbal pictures. Like with Emma, whose photographs, one too old and one too young, don't look anything like each other. There isn't any written description of her other than she was hot, but with one of the photographs in in shadow and the other her head turned (neither of which were "hot"), I couldn't visualize her.

I also don't think the loop was explained very well. I didn't quite follow how and when the loop restarted each day and what exactly was happening with the fighter jet fireworks night. I wondered for too long whether time inside the loop affected time outside it and I questioned how one was supposed to jump from loop to loop if loops stuck to a 24-hour period. I could have used more explanation about the wights and hollows too.

I think I would have liked the story better without the photographs as excuses for it. Riggs has some talent as a writer and I wouldn't be opposed to reading him again, but if he follows this up with a sequel, I probably won't check it out.
Profile Image for Nilufer Ozmekik.
2,310 reviews44.1k followers
February 2, 2023
This is kind of book, you want to throw it against the wall, scream and run to the opposite direction or put it on a freezer like Joe Tribbiani did to Shining and be scared to defrost it for years!

That soul freezing, earth shattering story, those haunted photos force you to wear big girl pants before deciding to get your ticket for this one of the most disturbing, crazy wild ride!

When I first read it when I was dumb and teenager, I suffered from very unpleasant ( oh boy, is there any pleasant nightmare? See I’m still dumb!) suffocating nightmares! So I chose this bloody blue full moon, Mercury retrograde ( thankfully it moved from Scorpio to Libra) and Halloween day to face my fears!

But I made a quick change and I decided to listen audiobook this time! And I’m telling you my friends, if you haven’t listened this audiobook, you’re truly missing something extraordinary! Jesse Bernstein did a marvelous job! He gives you chills, he makes you laugh, he pushes you out of your comfort zone and help you have so much fun! What a best way to face your fears and spend your Halloween weekend!

Most of you know the eerie, blood freezing, highly dark and bleak concept of the book: little Jacob Portman was addicted to his grandpa’s stories who has survived during the Second World War by running away from man eating monsters and living in a house for peculiar children protected by wise old bird.

When Jacob grows older the stories his grandfather told lost its touch. He becomes more logical and doubtful to believe them. And his grandfather is found at the outskirts of Florida Woods with blood stains, fainted, telling his last mysterious words about finding that old wise bird which protects the house of peculiar children! Then he dies!

After losing his grandfather, Jacob starts suffering from nightmares and his psychiatrist advised him to go Cairnholm, Wales; the very same location where peculiar children lived in his grandfather’s story. His doctor thinks facing his fears will help him to heal his invisible scars of his soul but he couldn’t be so wrong!!

Overall: as for me facing my fears turned into an entertaining experiment! Thanks to the amazing narrator, this audiobook definitely made my weekend!
Profile Image for Ahmad Sharabiani.
9,564 reviews37 followers
November 5, 2021
Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children (Miss Peregrine's Peculiar Children #1), Ransom Riggs

Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children is a contemporary fantasy debut novel by American author Ransom Riggs. The story is told through a combination of narrative and vernacular photographs from the personal archives of collectors listed by the author.

As a child, Jacob Magellan Portman has been fascinated with his grandfather Abraham's stories about surviving as a Jew during World War II, running from man-eating monsters, and living with peculiar children in a secret home guarded by "a wise old bird".

As Jacob grows older, he begins to doubt the stories until the arrival of his grandfather's death. Blood-strewn, exhausted, and lying in his back garden on the outskirts of Florida Woods, Abraham's last words are a mystery: "...find the bird in the loop on the other side of the old man's grave on September 3, 1940, and tell them what happened."

As his grandfather dies, Jacob catches sight of a horrific monster just like the ones described in Abraham's stories. Soon, he starts experiencing trauma and being plagued with nightmares relating to those monsters.

Believing their son to be going crazy, Jacob's parents take him to Dr. Golan, a psychiatrist, who suggests that Jacob go to Cairnholm, Wales, the location of his grandfather's children's home to confront the place of his trauma.

Accompanied by his father, Jacob locates and explores the old house only to find it empty and everything caked in dust. According to the local people, the place is haunted and a bomb had killed all its inhabitants many years ago, on September 3, 1940. ...

عنوانها: «کودکان عجیب و غریب خانم پرگرین»؛ «بچه‌های خاص خانه‌ی خانم پریگرین»؛ «بچه‌های عجیب و غریب یتیم‌خانه‌ ی خانم پرگرین»؛ «خانه‌ ی خانم پرگرین برای بچه‌ های خاص»؛ «بچه‌ های عجیب و غریب خانه‌ ی خانم پرگرین»؛ نویسنده: رانسوم ریگز؛ تاریخ نخستین خوانش روز روز بیست و ششم ماه آگوست سال2017میلادی

عنوان: کودکان عجیب و غریب خانم پرگرین؛ نویسنده: رنسام (رانسوم) ریگز؛ مترجم: بهنام حاجی زاده؛ تهران: نشر بهداد‏‫،1394؛ در سه جلد؛ کتاب نخست در359ص: اقامتگاه خانم پرگرین برای بچه‌ های خاس؛ شابک جلد یک9786009554621؛ موضوع داستانهای نویسندگان ایالات متحده آمریکا - سده 21م

عنوان: بچه‌های خاص خانه‌ی خانم پریگرین؛ نویسنده: رنسام (رانسوم) ريگز؛ مترجم: پيمان اسماعيليان؛ تهران: پیدایش‏‫‬، سال1395؛ در569ص، مصور؛ شابک9786002964304؛‬

عنوان: بچه‌های عجیب و غریب یتیم‌خانه‌ ی خانم پرگرین؛ نویسنده: رنسام (رانسوم) ریگز؛ مترجم: شبنم سعادت؛ تهران انتشارات پریان‏‫‬، سال1395؛ در357ص؛ مصور، فروست سه گانه ی بچه های عجیب و غریب خانم پرگرین، یک؛ شابک9786007058367؛ چاپ سوم سال1397؛ عنوان کتاب دوم تهی شهر؛ عنوان کتاب سوم: کتابخانه ارواح (کتابخانه اشباح)؛

عنوان: خانه‌ ی خانم پرگرین برای بچه‌ های خاص؛ نویسنده: رنسوم (رانسوم) ریگز؛ مترجم بیتا ابراهیمی؛ ویراستار عذرا جوزدانی؛ تهران: انتشارات چکه، سال‏‫1397؛ در416ص؛ ‬شابک9786003770157؛

عنوان: بچه‌های عجیب و غریب خانه‌ ی خانم پرگرین؛ نویسنده: رنسام (رانسوم) ریگز؛ مترجم: سحر شموسی؛ ویراستار سیما قویدل؛ قزوین سایه‌‌‌‌‌‌‌‌‌‌گستر، سال1397؛ در392ص؛ شابک9786003745339؛‬

جزیره ای اسرارآمیز، و یتیمخانه ای متروکه، و ویرانه، مجموعه ای غیرعادی، از عکسهای بسیار عجیب و غریب، همگی منتظر هستند تا در «بچه های عجیب و غریب یتیم خانه خانم پرگرین» کشف شوند، رمانی که داستان و عکاسی را، در تجربه ی هیجان انگیزی از کتابخوانی در هم میآمیزد؛ داستان از جایی آغاز میشود که مصیبت خانوادگی هولناکی، «جیکوب» شانزده ساله را، راهی سفر به جزیره ای دورافتاده، در سواحل «ولز» میکند، جاییکه ویرانه ی فروریخته ی «یتیمخانه ی خانم پرگرین»، برای بچه های عجیب و غریب را، مییابد؛ همانطور که «جیکوب» در اتاقها و راهروهای متروکه ی خانه میگردد، درمییابد که بچه های «خانم پرگرین» تنها عجیب و غریب نیستند؛ شاید خطرناک هم باشند؛ شاید به دلیلی منطقی و موجه، در جزیره ای دورافتاده، قرنطینه شده اند؛ و شاید به طریقی _هرچند به ظاهر ناممکن_ هنوز هم زنده باشند؛ «بچه های عجیب و غریب یتیمخانه خانم پرگرین» عنوان رمان نخست در سبک فانتزی تاریک، به قلم نویسندهٔ آمریکایی «رانسوم ریگز»، است؛ داستان این رمان بوسیلهٔ ترکیبی از روایت و عکاسی عامیانه از بایگانی‌های شخصی لیست شده توسط نویسنده، بیان شده است؛ این کتاب برای بزرگسالان جوان، در ابتدا قرار بود به صورت یک کتاب تصویری، شامل عکس‌های گردآوری شده، توسط «رانسوم ریگز» باشد، اما با مشاوره ی یک ویراستار، در انتشارات «کوئرک بوکس (بوکز)»، ایشان از عکس‌ها تنها به عنوان یک راهنما برای ترکیب با روایت داستان استفاده کردند

تاریخ بهنگام رسانی 29/09/1399هجری خورشیدی؛ 13/08/1400هجری خورشیدی؛ ا. شربیانی
Profile Image for Alejandro.
1,142 reviews3,565 followers
October 2, 2016
A peculiar reading indeed!


This is the first book in the trilogy of the same name than the title of this very book.


THE PECULIAR X-MENISH

We cling to our fairy tales until the price for believing them becomes too high.

This was a book hard to rate, since it provoked some contradictory feelings.

I enjoyed a lot the concept of creating a new “world to be discovered” in an era where it’s supposed that everywhere was already explored, along with such unique (for not saying “particulars”) characters.

However, it was kinda bummer that the story lacks of action, until the very final climax, where even there, you are left in a huge cliffhanger, so not having a real closure in the book was disappointing too.

I can understand that this is a trilogy, so we won’t have a definitive closure in the first book, BUT, leaving the book in a cliffhanger, always got you unbalanced.

Also, as I commented, the book lacks of action, and while you have it at the final climax of the book, it’s what you can tell as something that intense, that you may expected with such “peculiar” characters, in both sides of good and evil.

However, I still am amazed of the level of imagination, developing character totally “peculiar” breaking the boundaries of logic or common sense, that I enjoy a lot, since your real life is limited by logic and common sense without any remedy, but if you’re reading fantasy, you want to be mindblowed, and certainly you find some character with “peculiar” features, so wacky, so astonishing that you have to thank the brain of this author to go beyond.

Along with breaking that awful reality of our time that with orbital satélites, there isn’t any place in the world unexplored, so finding again “new places” to explore, it’s such a wonderful treat.

And of course…

…you have the photographs!

Peculiar, odd, spooky, you never know what you’ll find in the next photo!

…what an unchallenging life it would be if we always got things right in the first go.

So, while I expected a higher overall reading experience in this first book…

…the series already proved me that it’s indeed “peculiar”, different than other book series, and yes, I want to continue the journey.

So, we’ll see you in the second book in the very near future!

P.S.

UPDATE (October, 10th, 2016)

I already watched the movie adaptation and I liked it a lot. I think the movie has better rhythm and a climax more satisfactory in the sense of action. Also, besides some changes in characters interactions, the movie was designed to work as a stand-alone story, must likely in the chance that it wouldn't be able to adapt the other two books in the series.





Profile Image for Elyse Walters.
4,010 reviews616 followers
August 11, 2017
Audiobook......and Physical Book!!! BOTH!!!

Wow...I had no idea what I was missing!!!! I think it's wonderful!!! The AUDIOBOOK made the difference for 'me'. I've had the hard copy for a couple of years--but kept putting it off. The print is small in the book - and jumping around looking at the pictures without having read the story didn't mean anything 'yet'. NOW THEY DO!

So, I started with the AUDIOBOOK. I can't imagine anybody not being drawn into the story immediately. I was almost in tears before the first hour of listening.

I loved Jacob right off the bat - loved his voice ( the narrator was ADORABLE & WHOLESOME).

I was laughing. I was INTERESTED! I was intrigued. I was moved. I was sad. I was hopeful. I WAS IN STORYLAND HEAVEN! I couldn't wait to see what would come next!

With the vintage photographs in the book - the wild stories that grandpa Abe told Jacobs- Jacob's silly job - his best friend - his mom & dad - and ALL THE PECULIARS.....
This book was Perfectly Peculiar for me!!!!! I'm going to continue with the series.

Note: something might be happening to my brain (brain loss too?) ....in a good way..... but I am enjoying this whimsical crazy nutty storytelling more NOW at age 65 than I ever remember as a child. Then again, I don't remember anyone ever introducing or reading fantasy type stories to me as a child.
I have never read a HARRY POTTER BOOK or SEEN the movies - sure they were not for me.... BUT.... ARE THEY on AUDIOBOOK? - because if they are as enjoyable as this one was - WITH HEART & LOVE FEELINGS TOO.... I just might be a sucker for them after all!
Profile Image for Hazel (Stay Bookish).
635 reviews1,608 followers
December 29, 2015
Seeing this book when I entered the bookstore one time, the peculiar cover truly piqued my curiosity. I didn't buy it that instant though or the time after that and the time after that. Although it was on my "to-read list", I wasn't a big fan of supernatural stories (this is what I assumed the story to be about) and so reading this wasn't one of my top priorities. I knew I had to read it some point in time to finally cross it off the list and when I heard about the Ransom's book signing, I knew it was the perfect timing.

Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children centers on Jacob, a young boy who ever so loved his grandfather, the man who filled his head with endless mysterious yet wondrous and terrible tales of people with amazing power and monsters too. Growing up though, his faith in his grandfather's stories grew into doubt. As an unfortunate tragedy befalls Jacob, he thinks he's lost his mind- his head full of darkness. He thinks the only way to solve his problems would be to go back to where it all started- to where his grandfather started. He finds himself in a bleak island and stumbles into the broken old house where his grandfather used to live, the place that he will find the truth about himself and everything else.

From the very start, I was at ease with the way the book was written and was in love with how the author conveyed words. I never knew that such simple sentences could be so haunting and beautiful. The way Jacob's character was portrayed was really good. Even though I usually have a hard time relating to a boy's point of view, I found it easy to relate with Jacob's. I grew to understand his relationship with his grandfather. I grew to understand his curiosity and restlessness, his peculiarity. I even understood his attraction to Emma.

Although I enjoyed reading Jacob (I really did, despite the darkness that I feel lurks inside him), my favorite character would be Millard. How awesome is it that he's invisible? And aside that, I found him totally hilarious!! I really did love all the peculiar children. Each were just so unique, not just with their skills but also their persona.

Miss Peregrine's is a really amazing book.The setting, the characters, the plot, the photos were weaved together beautifully to create a wonderful, one-of-a-kind story that surely leaves a great impression upon the reader. I wouldn't consider the ending as a cliff-hanger but it was open ended. It does have a sense of moving forward, making you anticipate the next book.
Profile Image for Wendy Darling.
1,636 reviews34k followers
Want to read
September 16, 2016
I did a fun thing last week! I was invited to the Tim Burton handprint ceremony in Hollywood and a screening of the MISS PEREGRINE movie.



More photos and event recap on the blog. http://www.themidnightgarden.net/2016... Winona Ryder was there, and it was kind of strange to see her again after seeing STRANGER THINGS so recently, heh.

I really enjoyed the film, btw! And now I must acquire a copy of the book to read.
Profile Image for Madeline.
781 reviews47.2k followers
July 8, 2016
It was...fine?

I liked the inclusion of old, weird photographs throughout the book, especially the way they were placed - you would read an offhand description of something odd, turn the page, and there was the photo showing exactly that. I liked that part, and the photos were always a pleasant surprise, even though I spent way too much time trying to figure out how they had been faked.

But there were just too many stumbling blocks for me to really enjoy this book. The biggest and most obvious issue is the whole concept of "time loops", which enable the peculiar children of the novel to remain hidden from the larger world. Time travel as a narrative device is extremely tricky to pull off, because of all the potential plot holes that spring up - it's expert-level, black diamond stuff, and Riggs isn't at the level where he can successfully navigate it.

And Jacob, our hero, was a problem. He had almost no discernible personality (probably because he's intended to be a stand-in for the reader, so we can project our own personalities onto him) and had wildly inconsistent characterization. It starts out really well, because in the early chapters, we see Jacob dealing with the fact that he witnessed his grandfather's violent death. Riggs shows us how damaging that can be, and doesn't spare us the details of Jacob's PTSD (one detail I especially loved: for a few months, Jacob can only sleep in a pile of blankets in the laundry room, because it's the only room in his house "with no windows and also a door that locked from the inside"). I was really excited that Riggs was doing this, because it's very rare for YA supernatural adventure lit like this to acknowledge that, hey, regular exposure to stuff like this is actually really really traumatizing. But then Jacob's anxiety and PTSD just kind of...go away. Throughout the story, we see him in confined spaces, witnessing violence, and encountering the same kind of terrifying situations that sent him into intensive therapy at the beginning of the book, and he just brushes them off like it's no big deal. It was like Riggs started out thinking he was going to realistically depict the traumatic aftermath of violent, scary situations, but then got bored and decided to just ignore all of Jacob's previously-established mental issues.

But honestly, the biggest problem I had was this: I wanted to read this same story, but from another character's perspective and written by another author.

Okay, so because Jacob is a minor, his father accompanies him to the island and then just hangs around in the background, quietly having a total mental breakdown that Jacob can't be bothered to notice. Because here's what's so interesting to me: while Jacob has mostly positive memories of his grandfather, the dad remembers him as an emotionally distant father who was never around and may have been having an affair. Then Jacob learns that, no, his grandpa was always traveling because he was busy hunting demons.

Fine, but imagine this story from the dad's perspective: an adult man, dealing with the death of his father, learns that he had an entire separate life as a hunter of monsters, and the man has to resume the work his father started while also working through their complicated relationship. Forget the precocious Harry Potter-lite teenage hero; I wanted to read an emotionally complex story of a man reconciling his relationship with his complicated father while also learning to hunt demons.

Long story short: this is the first book in a trilogy, but I have no interest in continuing the series.
Profile Image for Kai Spellmeier.
Author 6 books13.7k followers
Read
April 25, 2021
“We cling to our fairy tales until the price for believing in them becomes too high.”

A boy, a death, a monster in the shadows. Everything leads to a far-away island with an abandoned orphanage. Here it is for the boy to uncover secrets and threats he couldn't have possibly imagined.

What took me so long to read this? Probably the fact that someone else snatched this book away from me whenever I was at the library.
Rigg's first novel was fascinating and had an intriguing dark twist to it.
Many of the added photographs were haunting and unsettling, making me dread that I was reading this so late at night.

On the other hand, this novel had its fair share of flaws. Many of the characters are not as exciting and real as I would have liked them to be. Especially Miss Peregrine lost her charm after a few pages. There's just a lack of character depth, especially when it comes to the main character and Emma.
Exactly the same criteria go for the atmosphere of the whole novel. Title, cover and pictures promise an old, weird, even sinister mood, something like Shutter Island or AHS: Asylum. At least that's what I expected.

Here we go again: Insta-love. This book is a perfect and probably also the weirdest example.
Miss Peregrines Home for Peculiar Children also had a lot of predictability to it. Nevertheless, it's the first in what seems to be a promising series and I'll make sure to read the sequels.

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Profile Image for J.L.   Sutton.
666 reviews926 followers
March 8, 2023
“I used to dream about escaping my ordinary life, but my life was never ordinary. I had simply failed to notice how extraordinary it was."

Ransom Riggs Is Inspired by Vintage Snapshots - The New York Times

Mystery begets mystery as the world of Miss Peregrine and her orphanage for peculiar children takes shadowy shape. I was immediately intrigued by how the story unfolds (through vintage photographs) in Ransom Riggs' Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children #1. The atmosphere works nicely with our protagonist's search for answers on a remote island off the coast of Wales where most of the action takes place. After a beginning (which quickly drew me in), it took some time for me to get caught up in the story again. The ending left plenty of mystery (maybe a bit too much), but I enjoyed the story!
Profile Image for Darth J .
417 reviews1,265 followers
November 5, 2015
So I bought the trilogy in hardcover at B&N, hoping to dive into this series head first. It came with a bunch of cards:


So I'm a little disappointed that the cover of the book doesn't match up with the tone for much of it. It was written too modern and I felt like it was a mismatch to have such classic photography throughout. I kept looking back to the cover while reading like:


Second most of the characters are just plain boring. Jacob has the gift of seeing monsters... lame. He's a pretty flat character to begin with, despite having a backstory. He falls in ~like~ with his grandpa's old gf who can conjure flames in her hands, but I think that's pretty squicky. There's a boy who can make golems with animal hearts, and a girl who can animate topiarys, but all in all the kids are dry and dull.


Now, Miss Peregrine was an interesting old broad (yes, I'm using old timey slang, deal with it). She can turn into a bird and can manipulate time. Also, was I the only one who saw her as Dame Maggie Smith the whole book?


All in all, not a great book but not a bad one either. I've heard the second and third ones are better and since I already plunked down the cash for them, I'm going to go ahead and read them.
Profile Image for Ivana - Diary of Difference.
567 reviews731 followers
June 6, 2022
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#1 Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children - ★★★★
#2 Hollow City - ★★★★★



It doesn’t hurt me to say that I have watched the movie before I read the book. What hurts me to say is that even though I loved the book, I enjoyed the movie way more. But I am not here to compare the book and the movie, because I loved them both in a different way.

‘’I had just come to accept that my life would be ordinary when extraordinary things began to happen.’’

Jacob was raised by his grandfather, who told him stories about the amazing house he used to live in, and all the children that lived with him, that had amazing abilities and were different than ordinary people. Grandpa Portman would even show Jacob pictures of the children and their peculiarities - he would tell him stories about the invisible boy, the girl that could float if she didn’t have iron boots, the girl that could breath out fire and the children that could easily lift the heaviest rocks. He would also talk about the danger and the big monsters that the children were so scared of.

And Jacob believed and loved these stories - he shared an amazing bond with his grandpa. Until, of course, he grew up. Suddenly, he was old enough to know this isn’t true, and stopped believing. His grandpa would try to convince him, and warn him that the monsters are coming, but the only conclusion he had is that his grandpa lost his marbles.

But then his grandpa dies, and Jacob sees the monsters himself. Despite everyone believing that he is crazy, just like his grandpa, Jacob now has no choice but to find these strange children - and get answers to all his questions.



The book moves quite slow, and it is not until half of the book that we actually get to meet the children. As a person that watched the movie, this was extremely frustrating, as I kept waiting and waiting, and nothing special happened for 90 pages.

The author puts photographs in the book, and they're perfectly put in the book to explain how a character looks, and to describe the scene better. This was the strawberry to my cake in this book. I immensely enjoyed the beautiful photographs and how perfectly well they fitted with the book and detailed the characters. The only character that I couldn’t imagine was Miss Peregrine - her picture is not at all what I expected. At first, I thought about sharing some of those pictures here - but then, I assumed you might enjoy them more if you explore them yourself while reading the book, as they come - as I could never be able to do that as well as Ransom Riggs did.

For the ones you watched the movie first - the movie is not at all the same as the book. So lower your expectations, otherwise you will be disappointed. The movie seemed to have put three books into one, and swapped people’s abilities, and made up some scenes and places.

The book, however, had parts that you wouldn’t see in the movie, and its own magic of detailed descriptions to your favorite stories and characters.

I hated Jacob. Not just at the beginning, but all the way through. Mister ‘’I-am-too-good-for-everything’’ , Mister ‘’My-family-is-so-rich-I-will-try-my-best-to-get-fired-from-work-because-my-uncle-owns-the-shop’’. No - Just no. As much as I enjoyed his story, his character is very egocentric and unlikeable. I actually liked Grandpa Abe so much more, even though he was only partially and ghostly present in the book.

Miss Peregrine didn’t reveal much of her character as she does in the movie. We don’t get to read a lot about her to be honest, and she was the one person I expected to see more of.

We get to hang around with the children a lot though, and meet Emma, the girl that has fire powers, and that used to be Grandpa Abe’s lover and now Jacob - which is more than weird, but oh well…

‘’She moved to pinch me again but I blocked her hand. I’m no expert on girls, but when one tries to pinch you four times, I’m pretty sure that’s flirting.’’

We get to meet Millard, the invisible boy, Olive, the girl that can float without her iron boots, Fiona, who can make plants and trees grow in seconds and many other lovely children with even lovelier abilities.

This is an amazing story about extraordinary people, children who will amuse you with how cute they can be, a bit of (well, a lot of) time travel and a great valuable lesson that everyone in this world is peculiar and extraordinary in their own way! A must-read to all of you that love some fantasy stories and different worlds.

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Profile Image for Charlotte May.
720 reviews1,117 followers
August 9, 2019
“If all the suns but ours collapsed tonight, how many lifetimes would it take us to realise that we were alone? I had always known the sky was full of mysteries – but not until now had I realised how full of them the earth was.”

I thoroughly enjoyed this mysterious fantasy!
Jacob’s grandfather always used to tell him stories about his childhood. About a children’s home filled with kids who all had wonderful and strange capabilities; from invisibility and super strength to having two mouths or a constant swarm of bees following them. Jacob would take his grandfather’s tales with a pinch of salt, he was after all a Jew during WW2 – the horrors he witnessed, the family he lost, it’s no wonder his grandfather had a bit of a wild imagination.
Even when he showed Jacob the photographs Jacob thought surely they had been doctored – they weren’t real…. Right?

When Abraham dies suddenly leaving Jacob with his dying words, Jacob makes a trip to Wales – to find this children’s home from his grandfather’s past once and for all. His parents think Jacob is cracking up, but maybe this trip will help him return to sanity.

Whilst there Jacob discovers a new world. One where Peculiar children live in hiding, in a permanent time loop. Where their carer Miss Peregrine does everything within her power to protect the children from the monsters that hunt them.

This was a great story, with action and magic but also death and war. The time loop the children are in is during WW2 so it’s a bit of historical fiction corresponding with the present time that Jacob is in. And the photographs made this story even more remarkable! They were truly outstanding. I can’t wait to continue this series.
Profile Image for Fabian.
957 reviews1,623 followers
October 8, 2019
Booo...! The dude's a photography collector not a novelist.

Very disappointed not only in reading this nicely-packaged "novel", but to learn that Tim Burton is directing its celluloid equivalent. GAG. Will someone use good novel material already!

After my time with it--in which the reader silently prays that more photos will be included, less prose--I am left like a kitten rolled around in thorns. Too many to pick at, I guess I find the biggest fault (a biggie) in the inconsistency of voice. The narrator... is he modern? youthful? He goes to the library because although he lives in modern times he has no internet, and he says stuff like "unreasonably expensive Adirondack", & "Ricky, whose car cost less than my monthly allowance at age 12" (what a fucking jackass, this douche!). Also, describes something as a "David Lynch nightmare", says his father gets an "ornithology boner" when he figures that he can con the parental to follow him in some insipid self-appointed voyage to an English isle, cuz, you know, the guy is rich and the father is a scientist. One last one: "Sisyphean suicide cult." Puh-lease. This is the main problem, the trunk of the narrative structure, & its faulty as fuck.

Suddenly, a lighthouse appears for the action to take place in. Suddenly, the X-men seem less fantastical than these group of misfits (none of them with original powers, mind you). The titular character is a Hitchcock figure-meets-Nanny McPhee concoction which possesses zero personality. It is super inconsistent, super lame, and what's up with the old children talking with modern lingo?

Just bad. But the pictures, yeah. Scan through those.

Lastly, "Miss Peregrine's" has that uncomfortably modern attribute, an a-ha moment very early on when the reader realizes that he's been had: for he's treated not like a reader here, but as a book CONSUMER. A CONSUMER of books. Thanks you tons, marketing!
Profile Image for Jo.
268 reviews945 followers
June 27, 2011
WARNING: This review may contain excessive (and possibly incorrect) use of the Welsh language. Diolch.


Initial Final Page Thoughts.
Woaaah. Also, the sequel is going to be bendigedig!

High Points.
TERRIFYING. Originality. Kick-ass taids! Creepy but adorable children. Fairy tales… or are they? WW11. Cymru. Culture and heritage. Time-travel. Crumbling old houses. League of Gentlemen-esque locals. Ghosts, spooks and fire-throwers, OH MY. And, my favourite part of this book, the beautiful photos. Looking at them reminded me of the time where my grandma and I spent a rainy day in summer going through old snapshots. Everything looks better in sepia, right?

Low points.
I don’t mean to belittle Jacob (the MC) or challenge his intelligence, or any other sixteen year old's intelligence for that matter, but I have never met a sixteen year old boy who would use the word “torpor” in a sentence. Unless of course it was 'Um... what does 'torpor' mean?!' I’m supposed to be educated (pahaha)and there were some moments where I had to balance an Oxford Dictionary on my knee!
There were quite big chunks of descriptive paragraphs that, although beautifully written, I found it difficult to believe that Jake would really say things like that.
And speaking of outrageous horror that filled my being with cringe…. The love story? WHAT THE HECK. Just no… but more on this later.

Hero.
Besides his flowery language and horrifying taste in women, I liked Jacob. He was adventurous (because even though I would’ve thought it was cool, there is no way on earth I would have gone into that house. If I was the MC in this story, it would have been a very short book that would have ended with me sulking in the airport while my dad yelled “And you couldn’t have realised you were a wimp before we travelled a million miles to an island in the middle of NOWHERE?”), he is funny and he has the right amount of “Um, OK this is bizarre” moments that a lot of YA heroes seem to forgo in order to be all macho.
But, there were times that I didn’t really like him and didn’t agree with the decisions that he made throughout the novel. And also, he’s a pretty crappy son/grandson. Just sayin’.
BUT, I still love love loved this book and I think that Jake will be a much better hero in the inevitable sequel and I will be more inclined to root for him and be ready with fist-pumps and pom poms and the occasional high kick.

Love Interest.
I.. I just can’t deal with this. I honestly can’t think of any situation where this love affair would be acceptable. Even the gooiest of romantics would find this stomach-churning. It’s just weird. I’ll let you make up your own decision.

Baddie.
Holy guacamole. This book is soooo creepy and the baddie(s) do NOT disappoint. It was only in the final few chapters that we really got to meet them and find out about what they were after but argh, they were scary. I know I keep mentioning the sequel… but I really think with a little more detail and development these guys are going to make themselves known…. In my nightmares.

Theme Tune.

See My Friends- The Kinks.

I would like to see Jake’s friends. They are the coolest kids ever. Kind of like if the lost boys (the originals… not the mulletted vamps) joined forces with the X-Men. YEAH. It’s that cool.


Angst.
7/10. It would probably be a 15 if I included the angst I felt every time the love sauntered on the page, but this isn’t about me. This is about Jake and peculiar children who deal with angst in different and better ways than I. There are a lot of sadness and bitter-sweet ‘what ifs?’ in this book that made my heart hurt, especially concerning Abe, the sweetest grandpa ever.
One of the things I loved most was the subtlety of Riggs’ writing… the true horrors of the book are only alluded to and allowing you to fill in the blanks. There is definitely a melancholic feel to this book and I felt like I was watching an old movie where you know that there isn’t going to be a happy ending.
That may sound like a bad thing…. But it’s not at all, because the old movies are the best ones, right?

Recommended For.
People who are fascinated by old photos and could spend full days just looking through them. People who don’t mind being completely creeped out by their reading material. People who love the 1940s. People who love time travel in books. People who don’t really care for time-travel because it hurts their head to try and figure it all out (like moi), it’s really easy to understand and it’s exciting! People who have always wondered what happens behind the doors of the shambling mansions that loom on stormy Welsh mountains. People who don’t mind love stories that would be perfectly at home in the pages of a book written by Virginia Andrews. People who don’t experience involuntary muscle spasms whenever the words ‘bog’ and ‘man’ are mentioned in the same sentence….cheers for that Seamus Heaney *twitch*. People who are patiently waiting for their own peculiar powers to kick in… any day now, Jo. Any day.


I hear that Fox has bought the film rights to this and people are screaming for Tim Burton to direct.
But..I'm putting my foot down.
Guillermo del Toro is the ONLY person who could do this film justice. That man knows how to deal with creepy orphans who are also adorable.... but mostly terrifying.
I might write a letter to Mr Riggs suggesting this while I slurp a panad and eat rarebit and wonder what the heck happened to Gavin Henson's skin tone/career/life while listening to Aled Jones.


You can also read the review for this book and others along with a whole lot of other exciting stuff on my blog here.
Profile Image for megs_bookrack.
1,616 reviews10.7k followers
July 14, 2022
I picked this book up as part of my Unread Shelf Project 2018.

I have no reason for not getting to it before now, except to say that sometimes I end up avoiding hyped-up books subconsciously.



I did attempt to watch the movie adaptation but didn't make it through. I thought it was terrible actually.



I was pleasantly surprised by the novel in comparison. I listened to the audio, in conjuncture with reading a hard copy, so I moved through it really, really quickly.

I enjoyed the unique story and characters. Jacob, the protagonist, is so funny. I laughed out loud several times in regards to his dialogue or observations.



Another aspect of this I really enjoyed were the creepy photos peppered throughout. I have never seen that done in quite this way and it was refreshing.

I am sure I am probably one of the very few Middle Grade readers left on the planet to get to this so I am beyond the moon to be crossing it off my list.



I'm not sure if I will continue on with the series even though I enjoyed this one.

I just feel like I am okay with the story ending here for me. If someone wants to convince me otherwise, leave a comment below!
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