As a child, Jacob was fascinated by the photographs and elaborate stories his grandfather told of the peculiar children who inhabited the orphanage where he grew up on an island off the coast of Wales. Eventually, Jacob realizes his grandfather’s stories could not possibly be true. Then, at the age of 16, he witnesses the murder of his grandfather in the woods. The murderer fits the exact description of an inhuman monster straight from the stories. Jacob decides to visit to the orphanage where his grandfather spent most of his childhood to see for himself that the tales have been figments of his imagination. Once he arrives on the island, Jacob finds there was more truth than fiction in the stories his grandfather had told about the orphanage.
Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children is Ransom Riggs’ first novel, and it is young adult fiction. The novel is a New York Times bestselling novel in the category of children‘s chapter books. It is an ALA Teens’ Top Ten Nominee for 2012. Riggs is currently writing a sequel, which is rumored to be released in spring of 2013. As well as a sequel, fans anticipate a film adaptation. 20th Century Fox has purchased the film rights, but so far, a release date has not been set. Tim Burton has agreed to direct the film, which almost guarantees that the film will be a success. Jane Goldman, who is best known for writing films such as X-Men: First Class (2011), Kick-Ass (2010), and The Woman in Black (2012), will write the screenplay. A cast has not been chosen, but with Burton on the film, the selections are not likely to disappoint.
The story was heavily supported by vintage photographs of peculiar children, making it stand out from other YA novels on the shelves. I typically find photographs in novels pointless, but I thoroughly enjoyed the visual elements in Peculiar Children. Without the photographs, the book probably would not have had enough success to stand next to John Green’s The Fault in our Stars or Rick Riordan’s The Son of Neptune.
While I enjoyed the book, I did not read the novel that was advertised on the dust jacket. The plot was interesting, but it may have disappointed readers expecting a story filled with monsters. However, if you dive into the novel without expectations, the story will capture your attention. After reading the novel, I see that if the summary printed on the book had given an accurate description, it would have ruined much of the suspense.
Riggs’ novel had similar elements to those of Scott Westerfeld’s Midnighter’s trilogy. Without giving too much away, I would say Riggs and Westerfeld both play with the concept of time in ways that intrigue the reader.
The novel also has a style that mirrors Lemony Snicket, but for a slightly older audience. People who read The Series of Unfortunate Events as children will most likely enjoy Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children.