Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children, by Ransom Riggs
One thing that seems to be drawing readers to Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children is the bizarre vintage photography that author Ransom Riggs has integrated into the book. It is definitely the first thing that caught my attention, and it does give the book a little something special. You might think that a novelty such as this would overshadow the story (or be compensating for a weak plot) but I found that the characters and plot were my favorite part. The photographs were just icing on the cake. It’s not often that an author’s inspiration is shared so directly with readers, but Riggs has crafted a whole world which revolves around the subjects of these unusual pictures.
Jacob grew up hearing his grandfather tell stories about his youth. The most interesting stories were about the time he spent in a Welsh home for orphaned children during World War II. The home, his grandfather claimed, was full of children who could do peculiar things. One could float, one was incredibly strong, one was invisible, and others had even stranger abilities. He said they were all living in the home, under the care of Miss Peregrine, to hide from monsters that were after them. That’s not the sort of thing even a young boy would believe outright, but Jacob’s grandfather had proof. He had photographs of all his old friends. Unfortunately, as Jacob got older he became more skeptical, and eventually stopped believing in his grandfather’s tales altogether. That was a mistake.
Now Jacob is almost sixteen. When he receives a frantic call from his grandfather in which he sounds agitated and delusional, Jacob goes to his home to check on him. He finds the house has been ransacked. There is a large gash in the screen door and a bloody trail leading into the woods. Jacob races into the forest, and finds his grandfather dying from what appears to be an animal attack. His grandfather lives long enough to give Jacob some final instructions (which Jacob doesn’t understand in the least) and then succumbs to his wounds. Jacob senses he is being watched, and sees something moving in the trees. His flashlight catches a glimpse of the creature. It’s a monster from out of his grandfather’s stories. Jacob has a horrible realization: everything his grandfather told him was true. Now he must decipher his grandfather’s last words before the monsters come for him.
Check the WRL catalog for Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children.