Monday, September 12, 2011

Getting a Little Spooky

Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children

In a world where paranormal is a favorite of YA readers, I have a confession to make.  It scares me.  I have never been a fan of the scary, gruesome, ghostly, or even the slightly spooky.  I appreciate how this genre draws in readers.  I understand that books are the perfect avenue to suspend your beliefs and get lost in another world, but for me at times it’s a little too much.  Well, I decided to suspend my own feelings and try out the book Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs. This is the first novel from Riggs.  One of the things I should tell you about the book is that the front cover of the book seen here is just the beginning of the fascinating and bizarre photographs that are integrated into the novel.

In the book, Jacob is a high school student in boring Florida when a series of events sends him to his grandfather’s childhood stomping grounds to explore a small island and boarding school.   We find out, Jacob’s grandfather had told him all about his childhood with fantastical characters, often sharing photographs which as a reader we also get to see.  Now as a teenager, Jacob is trying to piece together his grandfather’s past including the spooky boarding school that was the backdrop for many of these bizarre photos.  Murder, monsters, and mayhem are all part of this paranormal adventure, as well as the beautiful and dreamlike photographs.    

Well, I read the book in one sitting.  I couldn’t put it down despite myself!  Not only were the photographs vivid and graphic, the words painted a picture that played like a black and white movie in my mind.  I felt fear when I read some of the more gruesome scenes, even groaning out loud at parts.  I have the feeling this was all the intent of the book.  I think older YA readers will eat this book up.  It’s so different from other books; did I mention that part of the story is told during WWII Wales?   One part of the book that was more than a bit odd was the main character Jacob having kind of a romance with his own grandfather’s ex-girlfriend.  Maybe YA readers don’t mind this on a paranormal level.  Overall, I would recommend this book to older teens, book clubs in particular (since there is a lot to talk about), and anyone who likes the bizarre, weird, and strange.   I can’t help but think that the author will soon be writing about more adventures about peculiar children soon.

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