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27 of 27 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Curiouser and curiouser....
Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children is from start to finish a fantastic young adult novel. Ransom Riggs has written one of the most original and inventive debuts I've ever read.

It follows the story of American teenager Jacob who journeys to a small, remote Welsh island to discover the secrets of his grandfather's childhood. He comes across the ruins of...
Published on 28 July 2011 by Charliecat

versus
52 of 53 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Unusual
It's pretty hard to show any originality in books these days, but I was pleasantly surprised by how different this book was. The plot has been cleverly interlinked with many unsettling vintage photos of children doing unusual and spectacular feats.

The story is complex with many mysteries, that are sporadically punctuated with strange photographs. This creates...
Published on 18 July 2011 by Kirsty


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5.0 out of 5 stars A great read., 15 July 2011
By 
T. Walker (Bedfordshire, UK) - See all my reviews
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Jacob's grandfather was no ordinary man - but very few realised it. After his mysterious death, Jacob, with his unknowing father, sets out to discover more about his grandpa's youth on an island in Wales. He meets some strange characters, and then he meets the girl who loved his grandfather - but she's still a young girl!
The story spirals into deep mystery and I found it hard to put down. The characters are well drawn and the story moves along at a steady pace.
Ransome Riggs has shown great imagination. The book is illustrated using vintage photographs which are drawn cleverly into the narrative.
Highly recommended!
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4.0 out of 5 stars No Ordinary Book!, 13 July 2011
By 
Nikki-ann - See all my reviews
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This is no ordinary book. It isn't just presented as text, we're also treated to a wealth of black & white photos and hand-written letters dotted throughout the book as if they were in a photo album or scrapbook. The book was perfect for me... I love looking through old photographs and imaginging the story behind them.

The chapter titles are also thoughtfully presented on their own page decorated with a patterned background. Even the spine of the book is designed to look like an old leather-bound book found in the library of a big house.

So, does the story live up to the wonderful presented book? It certainly does! This is a fantasy story without any vampires, wolves or angels involved. It's beautifully written with descriptive (but not overly so) text. While some of the story is set in the present day, a lot of it is set during World War 2. Despite the differing times, it is easy to follow. It's haunting, fun, adventurous, mysterious and creative.

I did have a couple of niggles, though they were fairly small. Niggles aside, Miss Peregrine's Home For Peculiar Children is a wonderful book for teenagers and adults alike. I didn't know quite what to expect with this book, but was pleasantly surprised. It's definitely a book I'd recommend!
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4.0 out of 5 stars Unusual Book!, 11 July 2011
By 
Pat Campbell (UK) - See all my reviews
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MISS PEREGRINE'S HOME FOR PECULIAR CHILDREN is a very strange story which is a mix of fantasy/adventure and strange vintage photographs. I liked the idea of this book and to a large extent it works very well. The story is based on a 16-year-old Jacob who grows up listening to the tales of his grandfather's childhood in an orphanage filled with children with unusual powers and evil monsters lurking in the shadows, ready to pounce. He half-believes the stories, as a child, but as he grows older he begins to doubt the validity of his grandfather's tales believing that they grew out of his grandfather's experiences under the Nazi regime, from which he managed to escape (sadly the rest of his family did not). Then one day, Jacob's grandfather is killed under mysterious circumstances, Jacob then embarks upon the task to unravel the mysterious past of his grandfather by checking out the orphanage where he grew up. When he actually gets there, Jacob discovers that the people and monsters, might actually be real after all and not a figment of his grandfather's over-active imagination.

The vintage images in this book are hypnotically haunting and make the story seem more real. The mystery is pretty tricky to fathom at times and there is definitely a touch of Lemonicky Snicket-style writing. I loved Jacob's search for the truth but the explanations were vague and the bad characters somewhat OTT. I wanted the book to be more almost Victorian Gothic or at least more whimsical in style. The characters could have been fuller and more creatively written, as the storyline seemed to be the most driven aspect. Having said that, the book could have been better...as the idea behind it was really good. That being said there was a lot of action and suspense. I loved it for the photographs, as they have remained with me, long after reading the book. It is worth a read and this is my personal slant on the story.
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4.0 out of 5 stars A Quirky page turner, 10 July 2011
By 
Rachel Green (UK) - See all my reviews
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An interesting book woven around twenty or thirty found photographs. The prose is well written and the tale cracks along at a good pace (despite my thinking the protagonist was female for the first thirty pages or so).

It paves the way for a sequel but I wasn't actually enthused enough by the story to consider buying it when it comes out.

The photographs were amazing.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Haunting and beautiful, 6 July 2011
By 
A. L. Rutter "Floor to Ceiling Books" (Portsmouth, UK) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
Jacob's grandfather tells him tales. Tall stories about peculiar people and his home on a magical island. As far as Jacob is concerned, these stories are just that - fibs, tales, something to pass the time. That is Before. After he discovers that there might be something to what his grandfather has said, and heads out on a journey to try and find the island from the past.

This is a quirky, beautiful, haunting, spooky little novel. I really had no idea what to expect going in - but did assume it would be a horror from the rather creepy photo adorning the front cover. I was left to uncover the secrets of Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children, and I hope that you decide to as well. I would hate to spoil anything, so will leave my discussions of the plot entirely. (I know that some people regard that reviewing technique as a complete cop-out, but I desperately want people to come to this novel with fresh eyes - it is a complete treat).

The prose is exceptional - leading the reader in a drifting manner through the first half of the novel, exploring Jacob's reaction to his grandfather's stories and his quiet life as an ordinary boy. At times it is quite stunning, and led me to think of such authors as Peter S Beagle. The second half of the novel increases the pace, with some exceptionally scary moments.

In fact, the best word to sum up Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children is "atmospheric". I thought about old-time shows and circuses, featuring bearded ladies and the like. I thought about haunted houses and ghosts. Having the background of WWII to much of the novel gave it a weight and oppression. Some scenes drip with menace. Others show a dreary town haunted by its past. Altogether, this novel is atmospheric!

The atmosphere is increased by the wonderful archive photographs in sepia scattered through the novel. Riggs used them as his inspiration for the story, and you can see exactly why they created such a strange little tale. Indeed, the picture on the front cover of the novel shows a little girl in a dress - fairly ordinary. Until you look closely and see that she is hovering a foot above the ground. This manner of secrets being revealed is perfectly in tune with the prose of the novel.

I do have a quibble - as I always do where time travel and loops in time are concerned. It is too easy to see paradoxes and loopholes in the idea of people moving back and forth in time. If I thought too hard about what was occurring, my head started to ache with the logistics of it all.

Apart from that incredibly minor point, Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children is an exceptional tale; one that is destined to become a classic. It is undefinable and entirely beautiful. I think this has managed to do the impossible and knock the Chaos Walking trilogy from my top spot this year. Well worth your money!
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5.0 out of 5 stars Compelling and very novel premise for a book, 1 July 2011
By 
james-Arundel "james-arundel" (Arundel, West Sussex, U.K.) - See all my reviews
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After a mysterious family tragedy, sixteen year old Jacob Portman travels with his somewhat vague and distracted father to a remote Welsh Island to uncover the secrets of his Grandfather's childhood. Here, left very much to his own devices, he discovers the ruins of the 'Peculiar' children's home his Grandfather once lived in. Within its crumbling walls, he finds clues as to the past occupants, and unwittingly steps into what at first appears an insulated, idyllic existence, but one which masks something much more sinister beneath.
Having just finished this book, I can wholeheartedly recommend it. Built around the collection of extraordinary (and freakish) old photographs, this is a sometimes touching, always complelling story drawing the reader into a paralel world or time, where Riggs artfully paints his characters and settings, creating a reality that is convincing, whilst as much a fantasy as 'Hogwarts' and the world of Harry Potter.
Certainly a story to appeal to adults and teens alike, and one that is ripe for a sequel.
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5.0 out of 5 stars now entering a fabulous adventure in time, space & photographs, 28 Jun 2011
By 
David Spanswick (Brighton United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
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With allusions to films as diverse as Groundhog Day with its déjà vu repetitions, Brigadoon and Lost Horizon to novels such as Alain-Fournier's Le Grand Meaulnes
and even James Joyce's Ulysses Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children takes you on a wildly surreal and mind-expanding journey.

The author, Ransom Riggs weaves his story around a collection of wonderfully strange photographs obviously donated by friends as acknowledged in the book. There is always a danger in such an enterprise that these images will become dictatorial in the way the narrative progresses but Riggs constructs so complex and bizarre a story that almost anything will hang true. He is a very convincing story-teller and you become mare than willing to give him the benefit of the doubt just so you can find out what happens next...the true measure of a great story.

The novel is haunting and will stay with you long after you have turned the final page of this superbly produced volume, the copy I had contained so many physical surprises ( I am not going to reveal her) that I felt I was indeed holding something quite magical as I read.

I can not recommend this brilliant book highly enough and would also draw your attention, dear reader, to Ransom Riggs's website which includes his films as book trailers
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4.0 out of 5 stars A Peculiar Debut, 24 Jun 2011
By 
Wiltshire Bookworm (Chippenham) - See all my reviews
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This book is as quirky and peculiar as its title and cover photograph suggests and is a strong debut by author Ransom Riggs.

The pictures dotted throughout the book have been culled from various private collections and remind me of Diane Arbus: Monograph (Aperture Monograph). Their strange and otherwordly nature are key to understanding the peculiarities of most of the characters portrayed and is a neat way of describing them without weighing down the text, especially as most of them don't feature too much but serve to heighten what the main character, Jacob is discovering about his grandfather, himself and the Home he has sought to find.

The book is the tale of Jacob from Florida, who as a boy is captivated by his grandfather's tales of the mysterious orphanage on a remote island in Wales he lived in during WWII. He seems haunted by his time there and paranoid about the monsters who might now be out to get him. Jacob initially believes these tales, but later as he reaches his teenage years he dismisses them, especially after he learns of the true horrors of WWII that his grandfather fled.

Then his grandfather dies in horrific circumstances which Jacob witnesses. His nightmares result in his family taking him to a shrink who finally agrees that Jacob should travel to the Welsh island to lay his mind's demons and the ghost of his grandfather to rest.

What follows is a fantastical journey and Jacob's discovery of who he really is...

It's an imaginative story and well told on the whole. Sometime the language used jarred with me, especially as there wasn't really any distinction between that of the various locations (NB I'm using the term location here in a very wide sense, so I don't give the game away too much). The use of photos in the story is a novel (sorry for the pun!) idea, but I sometimes wished they weren't there as I would have liked to use my imagination more. I also felt the book ended rather abruptly - probably because the author had an eye on writing a sequel rather than running out of ideas. These minor quibbles are the reasons why I've awarded 4 stars.

A book in the Young Adult market which deserves to cross over into Full Adult.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A supernatural modern classic, 22 Jun 2011
By 
Discerning - See all my reviews
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I opened the cover with some trepidation because the jacket photo is rather creepy...
However, we begin by reading about the normal life of Jacob, an American teenager, which is a little reassuring and in fact the book is less sinister than it might appear. Jacob has grown up listening to his grandfather's veiled stories and dismisses them until a tragedy occurs, which sets him on the path to Cairnholm, a Welsh island with some peculiar inhabitants in a world of their own. The story is beautifully written and interesting and it is not surprising that the film rights to the book have been bought already. Written from Jacob's viewpoint, it is a very accurate portrayal of a teenager and his thoughts and the humour is amusing. The vintage photos throughout the book are intriguing and are a major contribution to this book's originality. There is clearly going to be at least a sequel because the story doesn't finish at the end but it tapers well without too much disappointment at a natural pause. A great book for teenagers and one that will be remembered...
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4.0 out of 5 stars fab and strange, 18 Jun 2011
By 
Kirsty at the Overflowing Library (United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
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This book is a uniquely different read and not at all what I was expecting when I first picked it up.

The first thing you'll notice about this book is that it is presented with photographs dotted every so often on the pages. The pictures are really random ones and it's hard to imagine before you start reading how they fit into the story but they really do.

The story itself follows Jacob on his quest to find out more about his grandfather's past and I assume is the first in a series from the way it ended.

I liked the story itself. I'm not going to even try to explain it as I don't know where I would begin. It was both a bit comical and a bit creepy as well as having a good measure of mystery thrown in. I liked that the ideas in it as strange as they were fitted together well and seemed to be well thought out.

The main character Jacob is fab. I found him to be quite funny but also enjoyed following him on his mission to find out more about his grandfather and the people he claimed to have lived with in the strange pics (which he assumed were fakes) he has seen all his life. I liked following him and seeing how he looked at the decisions that came his way. I can already see (if there is a sequel) that there is so much more to him and his character that hasn't yet been explored.

All in all a book that is definitely unique in the YA market and one you should seek out if you want a good mystery and adventure story.
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