Debut novelist Ransom Riggs liberally sprinkles his book with a series of vintage photos around which he has constructed his plot. Depending on your taste, you will find the photos either totally cool or kind of creepy, but either way they feed the book’s atmospherics and help to convincingly set much of it in a time loop—an odd chasm in the space-time continuum in which the day Sept. 3, 1940, plays over and over again/
Marjorie Kehe - Christian Science Monitor
"Peculiar" doesn’t even begin to cover it. Riggs’ chilling, wondrous novel is already headed to the movies.
Riggs deftly moves between fantasy and reality, prose and photography to create an enchanting and at times positively terrifying story.
Though technically a children's book, Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children is more Grimm's than Disney, and Riggs images, dropped like bread crumbs, could lead audiences of any age happily down the path of its spellbinding tale.
Riggs's atmospheric first novel concerns 16-year-old Jacob, a tightly wound but otherwise ordinary teenager who is "unusually susceptible to nightmares, night terrors, the Creeps, the Willies, and Seeing Things That Aren't Really There." When Jacob's grandfather, Abe, a WWII veteran, is savagely murdered, Jacob has a nervous breakdown, in part because he believes that his grandfather was killed by a monster that only they could see. On his psychiatrist's advice, Jacob and his father travel from their home in Florida to Cairnholm Island off the coast of Wales, which, during the war, housed Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children. Abe, a Jewish refugee from the Nazis, lived there before enlisting, and the mysteries of his life and death lead Jacob back to that institution. Nearly 50 unsettling vintage photographs appear throughout, forming the framework of this dark but empowering tale, as Riggs creates supernatural backstories and identities for those pictured in them (a boy crawling with bees, a girl with untamed hair carrying a chicken). It's an enjoyable, eccentric read, distinguished by well-developed characters, a believable Welsh setting, and some very creepy monsters. (Ages 12 up.)
Sixteen-year-old Jacob Portman no longer believes the stories his grandfather told him when he was a little boy. These are obviously fairy tales about children with mysterious abilities, such as a girl who could levitate and a boy with bees inside him, and not real memories from his grandfather's childhood. Grandpa's sepia-toned photographs of his strange friends also seem fake to Jacob. However, when he gets a chance to visit the island where the stories took place, he can't resist delving into his grandfather's past. Could these odd children really have existed? Verdict: An original work that defies categorization, this first novel should appeal to readers who like quirky fantasies. Suitable for both adults and a YA audience. Riggs includes many vintage photographs that add a critical touch of the peculiar to his unusual tale. —Laurel Bliss, San Diego State Univ. Lib
A haunting and out-of-the-ordinary read, debut author Ransom Rigg’s first-person narration is convincing and absorbing, and every detail he draws our eye to is deftly woven into an unforgettable whole. Interspersed with photos throughout, Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children is a truly atmospheric novel with plot twists, turns, and surprises that will delight readers of any age
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