An Abandoned Orphanage
A Strange Collection of Very Peculiar 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 Miss Peregrine’s 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.
Jacob is a normal, 16 year old boy. Slightly socially awkward maybe and working in one of the stores of his family’s empire. His grandfather used to tell him fairy tales about the time that he lived in Wales, where he sought refuge from the war, aided by some weird photographs that he keeps in a cigar box under his bed. When Jacob was little, he believed all his grandfathers stories but now that he is older, he knows that the pictures are fake and that the stories can’t possibly be real. So when his grandfather, now old and suffering from dementia, calls him one day in a panic asking for the key to the arsenal he keeps in his house, Jacob doesn’t take him seriously. Still, he goes out to his grandfather’s house to calm him down. But, when he gets there, his grandfather is already dead. The official report by the police says that he was mauled by wild animals but Jacob thinks differently. Because, when he found his father’s body, he saw something in the woods behind the house; a terrifying monster.
After his death, Jacob is not coping very well and seeks help from a psychiatrist. But when even that doesn’t help with the nightmares, and after he finds a letter to his grandfather from a Miss Peregrine, he decides to go to Wales, to the little island where his grandfather grew up, and try to get some answers.
He arrives in Wales and visits the orphanage that his grandfather was always talking about. But, it’s in ruins and completely deserted. Or so he thought. One day, he sees a group of children and follows them. They lead him to their hiding place, somewhere that Jacob would have never dreamed of. He becomes friends with these children. So, when it seems that they are in danger, Jacob must make the choice to help them or to go home and never look back.
I bought this book because there was a 3-for-2 sale on the Dutch equivalent of Amazon and I had to pick another book after already choosing ‘The Fault in Our Stars’ and ‘Beautiful Creatures’. I picked this book because after reading the description (see blurb above), I thought it was a terrifying horror story. I honestly thought it was a scary book. This line of thinking continued when the book arrived in the mail and, after studying the cover for some time, I realised that the girl on the cover isn’t only creepy, she’s also floating above the ground. My mom was so freaked out by this book that she didn’t even want it in the room with her. She said ‘bad things will happen if you keep this book in your room’. DUN DUN DUN. No I think she was kidding when she said that. Half kidding maybe. She really was freaked out by the pictures in the book.
But anyway, it’s not a horror story. It’s actually more of an adventure book written for young adults. It’s very well written and entertaining. I love the ‘peculiar children’ in this book, each of which have a specific power or ability. I especially love Emma (and not just because she’s my namesake even though that helps) who is tough and she can shoot fire from her hands. Besides Emma, there’s also Bronwyn who is super strong, Hugh who has bees living inside of him, Olive who can fly (but can’t control it), Millard who is invisible, Enoch who can make dead things come to live and many more. I love reading about all the kids with different powers or abilities.
But, what makes this book really special is the use of the pictures throughout the book. I don’t know if the book was written based on the pictures or if the pictures were picked to fit the story. I hope it’s the first one, that would be really cool. The pictures are old and gritty and some are pretty creepy but they really help you to visualize what they are talking about. It’s really cool.
It’s a great book that keeps you on the edge of your seat. Miss Peregrine’s is really a good story with plot twists and interesting characters and a really spectacular new world. Without giving too much away, they don’t just live in the world that we know. For them, there’s more than just the here and now. Are you intrigued yet? Are you?
You should give it a try but beware: it is the first of a series. Something that I only found out after I finished reading the book and was like ‘Huh? This can’t be the end!’ I don’t know when the second book will come out but I have a feeling that it’ll be a while.
My favourite quote:
“If Cairnholm’s only phone connected to some den of iniquity called the “Piss Hole”, how did that bode for the rest of the island?”