Jacob's grandfather has always showed him the most peculiar old photographs and told him strange stories to match, but how could he ever believe fairy tales of such sorts? After all, his grandfather's state of mind was questionable due to experiences during World War II that surely traumatized him. In his need to find the truth about these odd photographs, Jacob takes a trip to an island outside Great Britain, where his grandfather once lived in an old orphanage there. Meanwhile, he finds that there is more to the orphanage than one could ever imagine, that what may seem absolutely crazy is reality. For this is no typical orphanage; it's Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children, and while exploring it's remains Jacob finds himself in an otherworldly adventure.
Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children is Ransom Riggs' debut novel, and I must say, it was put together very uniquely. I'm not just talking about the story itself, but the idea of putting in old photographs (some slightly manipulated to fit the story's purposes) throughout the book. As a book lover and a photography lover, I was quite intrigued.
This book is naturally spooky with its rainy, gloomy setting (not to mention the ties to World War II). It probably would have stayed eerie even without the monsters and children with strange abilities. However, the characters themselves didn't really freak me out, I enjoyed them. All of them are capable of wondrous things, each with an ability unique to them. Some are unusually strong, some levitate. I wouldn't want to anger any of them, but they all seemed to be generally nice people. Jacob was a pretty good main character. Even though he was an unhappy rich boy, he came off as very down-to-earth and made me laugh aloud when reading, particularly towards the beginning of the story.
On a darker note, Ransom Riggs wrote about the grieving process that Jacob went through quite impressively. I was so surprised to see how this aspect of death ended up being so reasonably written. From previous reading experiences, I have found that most authors don't do well with describing grieving characters. It seems that they only show a couple of emotional spurts that are written ineffectively, almost like they're not real, giving me little to no effect. Ransom Riggs was an exception because he's a great writer and did his job well.
The only major complaint I've been hearing about this novel is its ending. People claim it doesn't have one. Due to prior reading expereinces I have found that when people say things like that, they aren't looking through the right spectacles. In this case, there isn't a conclusion to the obvious large problem now at hand; however, Jacob comes to a conclusion of the dilemma he'd been facing for a while and finally figures out what he wants to do with his life and where he truly feels he belongs. That, my friends, is an ending. A good ending.
Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children is different. It's a fun adventure filled with mystery that any age group can enjoy.
Riggs, Ransom. Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania: Quirk Books