Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children

A lot of people initially choose a book based on the cover.  That is why in libraries it is so crucial to not only weed the collection so people can easily see books, but to also keep the books looking as good as possible.  This is also why the really great books that have stood the test of time often have multiple covers done for their books years later.  Recently I read that Harry Potter will be releasing new covers on all of its books this September for the 15th anniversary of the Sorcerer's Stone book release.

You might pick up Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs b/c it has a cool photograph for its cover, plus the name of the book is intriguing.  You might then flip through the book and see the many other odd and old photographs throughout the book.  The photographs are fun and most definitely odd, but they also help tell the story.  The photographs are actually all real photographs.  Riggs initially found the photos at a swap meet or flea market of sorts.  He wanted to make a picture book with them, but his editor, or someone along those lines, convinced him to write a novel using the photographs to help tell the story.  Riggs had several pictures but not enough for a novel.  It was a good thing he was able to use the pictures of several other people to complete the story.  If you are interested you can see the picture credits at the end of the book.

Riggs spent more than 3 years, if my memory serves me correctly, writing this novel.  The way Riggs ended the novel the reader is led to believe that there will be another one.  However, it might be a while until we see it with the pace Riggs is at; though, the second book does have a tentative release day for January 2014.  I know having to wait may bug some people, but I would rather an author take his/her time to write a really great sequel, rather than have the author rush to write a mediocre one.  Quality of literature is always more important.

Besides writing, Riggs also makes movies.  You can see some of his movies on YouTube; they are weird, but so is his writing.  That's just the way he is.  One of the movies on YouTube is a book trailer for Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children, as well as a movie about his trip to make the book trailer.  Check out the book trailer below, it reminded me of The Princess Bride.  Please tell me you see the connection too.

Amazon had the following book description:
"A mysterious island. An abandoned orphanage. A strange collection of very curious 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 abandoned bedrooms and hallways, it becomes clear that the 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.

A spine-tingling fantasy illustrated with haunting vintage photography, Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children will delight adults, teens, and anyone who relishes an adventure in the shadows."

This book is about a boy, Jacob, that has a close relationship with his grandfather.  He lives in Florida, just like Ransom Riggs did before he moved to LA.  Jack's gpa tells him a lot of great stories, and has pictures to prove the authenticity of these stories.  Jacob believes his stories for many years, but eventually Jacob becomes a teenager; his teenage years make him doubt his gpa's strange stories.  Jacob eventually sees a "family tragedy" as Amazon puts it.  This tragedy leaves Jacob questioning things even more, and eventually leads him on a trip to solve a mystery for his gpa. 

On this trip Jacob ends up visiting a small island in Wales with his father.  Jacob solves the mystery, but complicates things as well.  Jacob eventually becomes part of a much bigger mystery.  While on the island Jacob ends up meeting some very interesting kids, and finds himself more like some of them than he realized or knew.

Personally, I would give this book 4.5 out of 5 stars.  I felt this book had a unique story line, kept the reader engaged and moving well through the story, the mystery was good, it was not completely predictable, the pictures added a fun touch to it all, and it was well written.  I think I took the .5 out b/c there were parts that were predictable and I was just waiting for the author to get there. 

Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children is a great read, and I think boys and girls would really enjoy this book.  There wasn't anything bad in the story; it was a clean read.  However, I would say it would be best for middle school or higher; I do think many adults would enjoy this novel, and it could be a fun read aloud for a middle school teacher or a parent.  

This book is great. The monsters remind me a bit of The Monstrumologist but they are definitely not as gory.  However, they are still disturbing in their own way.  The setting on the island reminded me of The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society; this is a great adult read, but it is a little slow at times.  Honestly, I am glad I read this book.  It had been on my "To Read" list for a very long time.  It's about time I got it read. .   
Overall, this book had monsters, suspense, and pictures of kids doing weird and bizarre things.  Plus, all of these things were connected in a well written novel.  It is wonderful.  You should most definitely give this story a read; well, I guess if the pictures are disturbing to you, then maybe you should read the story, but not look at any of the pictures.  That would solve the problem for you, right? :) 

Anyway, go check Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children out.  It's fun!  Plus, it was on the NY Times Bestseller List for more than a year.  That is impressive.  Clearly, people are enjoying this book.   

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