Friday, September 30, 2011

Fall Book Club: Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children and Friday Fives!

Around the beginning of September, Tracey Neithercott suggested a most brilliant idea: a virtual Fall Book Club. A group of writers and readers propose a book to read, return a month later and post a review, and then hop around to all the other fabulous book thoughts.

Awesome idea, right?

It is an awesome idea. It's just that Alison didn't actually finish the book until, well, today.

So, I'm a little tardy on my review. And my Friday Fives. And after my crazy exhaustive day yesterday, I wasn't going to post at all.

But I couldn't not review this book. Because it's AMAZING.

Here's the Good Reads blurb:

A mysterious island.

An abandoned orphanage.

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 were more than just peculiar. They may have been dangerous. They may have been quarantined on a deserted 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.

First, you have to know that I would have never picked this book up on my own. I hadn't heard of it up until a month ago and the title doesn't really do anything for me. But the cover - whoa. That girl (Olive) is levitating - and she's just one of the peculiar children Jacob (and the reader) are introduced to along his incredible journey.

And that picture isn't the only one. In fact, the entire book is filled with beautiful, disturbing, eerie photographs that blend beautifully with Ransom Riggs gorgeous writing. Check these out.

Yes, the girl (Emma) in the last pic really is creating fire in her hands.

And the STORY. Holy ingenious ideas, Batman. I'm not going to spoil it for you by raving about every creative element of this novel, but I will say a few things.

But let me take a step back first.

I'm not going to lie. I had a hard time getting through the first part of this book. It was eventful and it was beautifully written, but it was almost too much description and not enough "eventfulness." But do NOT let that sway you, people. My experience with this story is akin to my journey with Harry Potter. It wasn't until my third attempted read at Harry Potter that I made it to the end of Sorcerer's Stone. It took me until Jacob and his father landed in Wales. And he found the "bridge" to the peculiar children. And then - whoa. Did not. Want. To stop. I actually got very upset when the veritable time suck called life forced me to stop reading. Once Jacob meets the peculiar children and Miss Peregrine herself, I wanted to know EVERYTHING. I wanted to know all about the invisible boy and the girl that can soar through the air. And Enoch. And Bronwyn. And...I could go on. I read the story uber-curious about real-life sideshow circus "freaks" and hmmm...maybe they're peculiar children too.

I had to know what Emma's deal was and who and what are these monsters with three tentacles emanating from their mouths. I had to know about the nomadic orthinologist roaming the island (and what a twist when he was revealed!)And most of all, I wanted to know if Jacob was peculiar too. And what made him so special.

And trust me, how he's able to see the children. How they're still alive. Well, I've already spoiled it enough. You're just going to have read it for yourself.

Finally, the language, the writing - while at times was maybe a bit too descriptive - is still undeniably beautiful. Yeah, okay - so maybe a sixteen year old guy wouldn't describe things the way Jacob does, but I would've felt denied if he didn't. He's consistently poetic and Harry Potter-esque in his descriptions and characterizations. PS - Ransom Riggs really didn't need those pictures. But I'm glad he included them. The writing and the pictures complemented each other to add to this beautiful, fascinating, yet peculiar story.

Go. Buy it. And fall in love with Jacob and Miss Peregrine's children as much as I did. Scream at the pages when they make "bad" choices. Or when bad times befall them.

Be enamored by beautiful writing. Marvel at the haunting vintage photography. Demand the sequel be delivered RIGHT NOW. I'm having trouble tempering my patience for it.

And go check out the other reviews. Tracey's got a linky over at her blog.

Oh, and can't forget the Friday Fives over at Paper Hangover! Today they want to know

Favorite banned books, huh? Prepare to be surprised. Not by my choices. But by the fact that some of these are "banned."

Why is this one on the banned books list?

Sexually Explicit (WTH?!), Unsuited to Age Group, Violence

These both won Printz awards, yet they're on the Banned and Challenged Books List.

Sad. So sad.

We all know how I feel about Ellen.

And Perks - most of my students who've read this list it as their favorite book.

Yeah, what-ev-er. Only one of the most beautifully written and fantastical stories EVER.

So, how about YOU? Have you read Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children? What are YOUR thoughts on it?

What's YOUR favorite Banned Book?

PS - today's the last day to enter my Banned Book Giveaway! Click here for details!

Enjoy the rest of your weekend!


  1. Okay, I tried reading this book and found the opening very slow. I did not hang in there long enough to get much past their arrival in Wales. However, I've heard people say good things about it, so I figure I'll go back and give this book another try one of these days. I may not have been in the most patient mood the first time I picked it up.

  2. I had very similar feelings about MISS PEREGRINE. I was totally sucked in by Jacob's voice and the weirdness of the story. And I love your banned book favorites. THE HUNGER GAMES, HARRY POTTER, and LOOKING FOR ALASKA are some of my favorites too!

  3. I love all your favorite banned books too.

    And those photographs are amazing...sounds like that's a book I need to read instead of listen to.

  4. I'm definitely going to add Miss Peregrine to my book list. I'm showing up a bit late to the paranormal scene, approaching apprehensively, but your highlights makes me want to run out and buy it right now! Thanks for sharing!

  5. Awesome books on your list. I loved Looking for Alaska. I can't wait until John Green's new book comes out.

  6. hahaha "the veritable time suck called life" THIS.

    I know right? I could hardly stop raving about Miss Peregrine's after I finished it. Are you going to read the sequel?

  7. I really enjoyed Miss Peregrine too, but wasn't able to find the time to write a review (I moved to a different province over the weekend). I really enjoyed it too though. What a unique idea with the pictures in it. I thought Jacob was hilarious too.


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