Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children, by Ransom Riggs
Published: Quirk Books, 2011
Worth Your Time?
Maybe. I haven’t seen the movie yet, but I think it’s likely that the movie would be enough on its own.
“‘Of course not,’ I said, my gaze skirting the framed degrees on his wall, all attesting to his expertness in various subdisciplines in psychology, including, I’m sure, how to tell when an acutely stressed teenager is lying to you.”
“I’d been born in the wrong century, and I felt cheated.”
Jacob is your typical YA protagonist. He has a strangely close relationship with his grandfather, he’s a little traumatized, and it takes him several paragraphs or chapters to pick up on really obvious things. I can forgive some of his slowness, considering a lot of the things he’s supposed to realize are magical and seemingly impossible, therefore he’s in denial, but it doesn’t feel like dramatic irony when the only reason I know something the character doesn’t know is because he’s just too stupid to pick up on it.
Emma has some anger issues. I’d say she’s a little immature for her age. She was really getting on my nerves until I imagined her being played by Millie Bobbie Brown; then I loved her.
Millard is my favorite little nerd. He does something stupid near the end of the book, but throughout, I always appreciated his presence in a scene.
The rest of the children are all cute and intriguing in their own ways. Riggs seems to have a talent for fleshing out minor characters; I was able to learn all of their names and personalities easily, and I would be interested in reading more about them. Olive is the best; I just want to hug her.
The premise is definitely something I’ve never encountered before. It’s based in the real world, but it’s a very different version of the world we’re used to. I was intrigued enough by the events in the book that I might actually read the sequel, just to see what happens.
[MINOR VAGUE SPOILERS AHEAD]
Sometimes the pictures are distracting. It’s easy to see that Riggs found the pictures first and wanted to work them into the story. They’re cool to look at, but I feel like he tries too hard to explain them and have the characters happen upon the actual photos. The narrative would have flowed more smoothly without them, or they could have just been slipped in without explanation, and we might have been able to deduce how they relate to the story.
There’s a bad case of insta-love. It would’ve been fine if it was one-sided, but it wasn’t, and it was the motivation for several major decisions.
ONE CHARACTER IS CONSTANTLY NAKED, and no one is weirded out by this.
A bunch of characters go swimming in September, when it should definitely be too cold for that. Some of them might be used to the cold, but the new guy is not, so this should be a problem for him, and it isn’t.
The villain in this story should know that taunting the protagonist, telling him he can’t or won’t do something, is a sure-fire way to motivate the kid to do it. This villain in particular should have been smarter than that.
I didn’t see the plot twist coming! But it makes sense! Some people may be able to predict it, but there’s a lot going on to distract you. I thought it was good.
I was actually pretty impressed with the dialogue. The characters come from different places, and the word choice shows that.
The narration, when its not made up of Jacob’s reflections on things, sounds a little too smart to be a sixteen-year-old boy. Especially this sixteen-year-old boy, who is kind of slow.
Jacob is diagnosed with an acute stress disorder, but he gets this diagnosis after several months of symptoms. Technically, it has probably progressed into PTSD at that point, especially if he’s still having flashbacks.
He also gets better very suddenly upon learning some things that, in all honesty, should have made his flashbacks ten times scarier.
Who Would I Recommend This To?
People who don’t have Psych degrees and haven’t seen the movie.