Monday, March 30, 2015

Tales from the Bookshelf: Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children

Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children

Good mooorning! Today I'm back with another book review :) After making my 50 book reading goal for the year, I've found myself so motivated to read more. It's a great feeling. I've always loved reading, but sometimes you just get distracted, you know? The sad part is now that I have all this motivation to read more, I've been letting my blog fall to the wayside. I'm always either at work or something, and when I'm at home I'm tired and just want to read a book (or watch an episode of The X-Files, but you get it). It's definitely one of those first word problems. I don't know how so many other bloggers manage to do things like work/school full time + have kids + keep the house semi-presentable and still have a life. You guys are crazy.

Anyway, here it is! Earlier this month I read Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children, by Ransom Riggs. I'd read about this book so many times, now I'm excited to say I've read it myself!

Mini-bio from QuirkA 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. 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.
Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children
Question - does anyone care about book spine photos? Because I do, and I like seeing how a book will look on my shelf...but if no one else does maybe I won't take these photos anymore, hahah.

So technically this is a YA book. Totally not my thing, but because of the unique plot and layout of this book I wanted to give it a shot anyway. I'm glad I did! For the first time, the only parts of this book I didn't like have nothing to do with it being YA. I think that's very exciting and it gives me hope for the young adult genre (no offense, YA lovers).

Our story begins with sixteen year old Jacob, who isn't that interesting and is kind of a loser, tbh. Growing up, his grandfather told him stories of monsters and strange children with magical abilities. He showed Jacob photos of these children, claiming that he lived with them and that it was all 100% real. As a child Jacob believed in these stories, but as he grew older he decided they were too far fetched to be true and that the photos were all fake, to his grandfathers dismay. After a mysterious family tragedy (sorry, trying to avoid spoilers here), Jacob is forced to reconsider the tales told by his grandfather - because now he's not sure if they were just tales, after all. In hopes of discovering what really happened, Jacob convinces his parents to let him spend his Summer on the island of Cairnholm; a small remote island off the coast of Wales, where his grandfathers stories took place (since I already checked I'll save you the Google trip and say that it's a fictional island). When Jacob arrives at the island he immediately starts searching for clues and the home of the mysterious children his grandfather told him stories of; and once he finds them, Jacob gets himself involved in a crazy, mysterious tale of his own.

Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children photos
The boy on the left is covered in bees! (Insert Nicholas Cage gif here) Not really sure what's going on in the photo on the right, but it may possibly haunt my dreams tonight.

My favorite parts of this book were the creepy and supposedly REAL photos used to illustrate the story. The author is a collector of vintage photographs. He began to realize that the most interesting ones (or peculiar ones, if you will, heheh) were of children. With the photos being old and anonymous, he had no way of figuring out the stories behind the photos, so he decided to come up with them on his own - thus, Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children was born!

Once the story got going I really enjoyed this book. My only big issue was that it took forevvvver to really pick up and get to that point. Almost halfway through the book I still couldn't figure out exactly what the major plot was supposed to be. The other part I didn't like was my own fault for assuming things. Before starting the book, I thought it was going to be some kind of paranormal thriller, which it definitely wasn't. However, it was an enjoyable mystery and very different from what I normally read, which was fun and refreshing. I also enjoyed how the ending was written. I already knew there was a second book, and this one ended with the perfect amount of "Oooh, what's going to happen next?!" while not being so cliffhangery that you want to throw the book at a wall.

Luckily I didn't have to wait too long to start the second book, anyway! Quirk Books was kind enough to send me Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children, and the sequel, Hollow City, both within the same month! I'm currently reading Hollow City, and I'm really enjoying it. Even though I thought this first book took some time to get interesting, it did a great job of setting the scene and introducing the characters which I find has made the second book even better. I can't wait to share it with you, so expect a review on it soon!

Run down - 
Title: Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children
Author: Ransom Riggs
Published + Publisher: Quirk Books, June 7th, 2011
Genre: Fantasy, Mystery, Young Adult Fiction
Pages: 352 (paperback)
Source: Courtesy of Quirk Books!

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