Monday, October 3, 2011

Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children

By Ransom Riggs, Quirk Books, 2011

When he was young, Jacob loved his grandfather's stories about his life, especially the ones about the peculiar children. They all lived at Miss Peregrin's Home for Orphans on a tiny island in Wales, and each had different talents. They ranged from being able to lift huge boulders, to being invisible, to being able to float through the air. And there were also the monsters that were chasing Jacob's grandfather....

But as Jacob grew older, the less he listened to his grandfather's meandering tales. They were for children, and he knew his grandfather, in his old age, didn't make as much sense anymore. But one day, while Jacob was trying hard not to work in his family's business, he got a call from his grandfather. And this call changed Jacob's life.

Now, at sixteen, Jacob hears a cryptic message from his beloved grandfather, now deceased. He has a recurring dream about his grandfather telling him to "find the bird, find the loop, find the grave." His other dreams are about monsters, whose mouths are lined with dangerous teeth and tentacles. Now, he sits in Dr. Golan's office, telling him about these dreams, along with the stress of finding his grandfather's dead body and the monster he truly saw, which his doctor says is trigged by this stress.

The best curative for Jacob, under Dr. Golan's orders, is to find out about his grandfather's past, and now Jacob has a chance to find out what exactly his grandfather was talking about by going to this mysterious island in Wales. But are they truly tales or the truth?

Riggs writes a fantastical story about the modern world and those that reside beyond imagination. Not only is the story an amazing adventure, but how Riggs manages to incorporate old and unusual photographs into the story is what makes this book stand out from any other I've read. The photographs are part creepy, part intriguing, but the mash-up of both the narrative and images makes for an excellent read for adults and young adults alike. Riggs keeps the reader engaged with Jacob's discoveries about the truth behind his grandfather's stories and the possibility of leaping across time. Perfect for fantasy readers and highly recommended by this reveiwer.  Publisher book trailer:

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