Published June 7th 2011 by Quirk Publishing.
For the past two weeks, I took a break from reading (and reviewing) and explored the beauty of San Francisco. Spending those weeks with my relatives that I haven’t seen in a long time was so much fun and a welcome break from everything. I started on some books I found on their shelves but I haven’t finished them. (I was more than halfway through Max Brooks’ The Zombie Survival Guide before I left.) On the road home, I fired up my B&N nook and started on this, Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children.
The book is about sixteen-year-old Jacob Portman going on a journey to an island in Wales to find out what happened in his grandfather’s past. Growing up, Grampa Portman told Jacob stories about an invisible boy, a floating girl, and other strange children. Peculiar, as they called themselves. These stories were so unbelievable that Jacob – and his family – thought they were simply fairy tales. But as tragedy struck, Jacob began to think… what if these peculiar children are real?
I’ve heard a lot of buzz about this book and decided to give it a go. And as you know, a long bus/train ride is my favorite place to read. As I rolled into Los Angeles, I was midway through. The reviews that I’ve read are pretty much split in the middle. Some loved it and some thought it was not that good. I loved it. In fact, I’ve placed it in my “Favorites” pile. Sure, it wasn’t perfect but I thought it was a very, VERY good read.
My favorite part of the whole book were the illustrations. According to the author, they are real found snapshots and the story was written around it. I am totally in love with that idea. The pictures the author used were haunting and creepy, and it totally added to the sheer beauty of the piece. The story has random popular culture references, either directly or indirectly. Doctor Who, rap music, Groundhog Day, Lord of the Flies, Peter Pan, even Jeffrey Dahmer…
The book really sucks you in. It does get a little tedious towards the middle but it was a necessary evil, methinks. Even though the book has referenced some previous work, it was very original. I liked the mixing of fact and fiction to create a new world.
What I did not like so much, as with the majority of the YA books that I read, was the “teen romance” aspect. Frankly, I was a bit freaked out. I understand why it had to be there but gladly, there wasn’t much of it. Also, the characters were not well developed. I can tell what makes them peculiar but almost nothing on their personalities. Even the ages of the peculiar kids were not clearly stated so it was kind of difficult for me to picture some of the scenes. Was 16-year-old Jacob talking to a small child or someone who was in the same age bracket? However, I do hope the author works on character development if there will be a sequel. The author CANNOT leave it at that!
Here and there, I can see the effort of the author to make Jacob sound like your typical YA hero – being hormonal, indecisive, jaded. In some parts, he loses that teenage angst tone. I actually like that. I believe that Jacob being 16 is the only thing tying this book to the YA genre. It can easily be a children’s book (along the lines of Harry Potter) or a contemporary adult piece. Readers across all ages will surely enjoy this.
Recommendation: I want all of you to read it! Read it aloud to your children. This is definitely an adventure.
Get your copy here.