Blogging BN.com's Must-Reads for Teens: Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children
Chelsea isn't answering my e-mails, presumably because she's too busy holiday shopping, interviewing my future boyfriends, er, I mean random movie stars, and/or marathon sweating. So I thought I'd post this here for anyone interested.
Book: Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs
Better title: It’s Kind of Like Coraline and Grimm had a baby that went to Xavier’s School for Gifted Youngsters
Synopsis: When Jacob Portman’s grandfather dies in his arms from what is apparently a wild animal attack, Jake begins to lose his mind. To cope, and because his grandfather told him to in his last words, he goes to this random little island in the UK to visit the orphanage where his father spent his childhood after escaping Nazi-occupied Poland. There he finds the ruin that was once the orphanage, and, quite by accident, the children who reside there. But the children are no ordinary orphans, and they have a very good reason for sequestering themselves on the island.
Is this a “must-read”?: Yes
Why?: Despite the implications of my better title, there’s much more to Miss Peregrine’s than meets the eye. It’s definitely reminiscent of X-Men and Coraline, and there are some Grimm-ish aspects as well. But it definitely brings something all its own to the table. The vintage found photos are woven expertly into the story, and said story is both chilling and poignant. I’ve heard it said that you shouldn’t read Miss Peregrine’s at night because it’s too scary. While there were definitely some creepy moments, I was completely fine throughout, and I’m the girl who started showering in the morning only because the trailer for The Haunting in Connecticut made it too scary for me to do so at night. Yeah, you read that right; the trailer spooked me that bad; I still haven’t seen the entire movie and never will. So, wimp to wimp, you’ll be fine.
Now, on the world of Miss Peregrine’s. It’s, in a word, fascinating. Without getting too spoilery I can say that the situation is brilliant, crazy out-there, and probably shouldn’t make sense at all, but somehow Ransom Riggs makes it all work. Jake is just your typical teenage outcast, which is perfect because it’s possible to understand this world when seen through his eyes. His is the voice we can relate to, he’s the perfect narrator for this story. Best of all, he doesn’t magically transform into a fearless hero at the end, in fact, he kind of screws up. But that manages to mostly work out too. Also SPOILER he actually has qualms about abandoning his family, which I thought was great because the whole “My mom didn’t really get it, so I’m going to run away with this hot merman I just met, nbd” thing was getting old. I don’t care if the fate of the world rests on you leaving and never seeing your parents again, unless you’re a sociopath, you’re going to have a problem with it (exceptions if you’re five or your guardians are completely neglectful a la the Dursleys). END SPOILER
The other characters are all pretty great as well. Emma, Jake’s questionable love interest, has a BAMFy nature that’s both the perfect counterpart to Jake’s reluctance and an example for him to follow. Miss Peregrine’s complex relationship with the outside world will inspire thousands of dry essays to come. Millard is the witty voice of reason, a great balance to the hotheaded Emma. Enoch is equal parts creepy and brilliant and Bronwyn shows that there’s more to her than meets the eye. This is definitely one of those novels that make me go “Why are you still reading this when you should be rushing to the nearest library?”. So…just gonna sit there?
Next time: Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi