From Goodreads: A mysterious island. An abandoned orphanage. And 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 who once lived here—one of whom was his own grandfather—were more than just peculiar. They may have been dangerous. They may have been quarantined on a desolate island for good reason. And somehow—impossible though it seems—they may still be alive.
This is a wonderful novel. I heard a lot about how creepy/scary it was, and the cover of the levitating girl alone creates a feeling of foreboding. So, between the cover and tidbits of information I gathered from tweets I read concerning the book, I knew I needed to pre-order it and read it stat. And, I have to say, I am not disappointed in the least! This was a phenomenal read! I was reminded, in part, of the writing style of Lemony Snicket, but Riggs’ story is more for adults. I don’t mean that in terms of appropriateness, because Riggs’ novel is very clean, but I think Miss Peregrine’s Home For Peculiar Children has much more pull for adults than Snicket, who I feel writes for more of a MG/YA crowd.
The beginning of the novel drew me in very quickly and I was fascinated by the stories Jacobs grandfather, Abe, told about his life on the island. Events speed up very quickly and a tragedy leaves Jacob questioning everything he ever knew, and his struggle with fact versus fiction was very real and kept me on the edge of my seat. I struggled along with Jacob as Riggs creates many reasons to believe the tales, but also juxtaposes each with reasons not to believe, and for a while I teetered on the fence trying to decide, until Riggs made the decision for me—a point of no return, a point I wasn’t expecting and threw me for a loop. Novels that do that are my favorite type, and I applaud Riggs for creating such a great fantastical story that captivated me from the start.
I love the use of pictures and the fact that they are not doctored at all by Riggs, but were used exactly as they were found, coming from different collectors around the world. I loved how Riggs was able to tailor the photos for his story, describing them and making them a true part of the novel and not just random photos. The fact that he was able to search out these photos and create a beautiful story surrounding them is a testament to his sheer writing genius. I never would have thought to do something like this, and I’ve never read another novel that comes anywhere near what Riggs has created. It’s completely original and I had such a great time matching up the pictures with Riggs’ descriptions. His writing is so fluid and easy to read, and having the photos further aided my imaginative process. I just loved everything about this novel.
Riggs’ novel is great for both YA and adults alike, and I was truly captivated by it. Although it was a little less creepy than I originally expected, the creep factor was definitely there, and I believe parts of this novel could give younger readers nightmares (MG and below), so I’d say it’s definitely for the YA+ crowd. Four and a half stars.