- Adriana Puckett
Ever since Jacob’s childhood, Grandpa Portman has thrilled him with tales of a beautiful island that provided a safe haven during World War II. On the island was a home for children, populated by a mix of kids with strange abilities. There were even photos to corroborate these fantastical stories – bizarre pictures of a levitating girl, an invisible boy (so all you see is a floating suit), a boy who is a living beehive to a swarm of bees inside of him, and so on. But as he grew older, Jacob came to see these stories as only foolish fairy tales, and asked Grandpa Portman to stop telling them in Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs.
Now Jacob is sixteen, and a terrible family tragedy has mired him in a miasma of depression and uncontrollable fear. To try and reverse his disintegrating mental state, he decides to look for his grandfather’s mythical island, and travels with his father to a remote island off of the coast of Wales. There he finds the decaying ruins of Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children – and a lot more that he didn’t anticipate: friendship, danger, love, and the pain of making irrevocable decisions.
Like the children who populate its pages, Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children is a peculiar mix itself – of the modern and the 1940s, of teenage angst (cursing included) and old-fashioned yearning. Vintage photographs are sprinkled throughout, lending authenticity to the storyline. The language is beautiful, and the action will keep both teen and adult readers interested (although the plot was a bit contrived at times). The ending encourages belief in a sequel and a movie is in the works.