Rating: 4 out of 5
A good friend of mine from graduate school suggested that I read Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children (referred to as MPHPC from now on), which was written by Ransom Riggs last year. It was a book I would have never picked out for myself, but I'm glad I got the opportunity to broaden my horizons!
This book is just that, peculiar. It's about a 16-year-old named Jacob who is rebelling against his family's wealth from an extensive line of pharmacies. Because his parents aren't the greatest and he has very few friends, he spends his time idolizing his grandfather, who growing up told him these crazy, spooky stories of monsters and kids with special abilities.
While you first think his grandpa's just exaggerating his traumatic experiences from the Holocaust, he's mysteriously murdered by one of the very monsters Jacob thought were fictional. After being accused of going insane and forced to see a shrink, he and his dad make their way to Wales where his grandpa had stayed with Miss Peregrine and her peculiar children.
What makes MPHPC special, however, are the creepy black-and-white photographs which are sprinkled throughout the pages. According to the author, these are real photos which he gained permission to use from private collectors (although whether they've been altered, I don't know). Here's an example:
Spooky, right? Jacob meets all kinds of new friends, like Emma who can produce fire, or Millard who's invisible. I can't give you many more details than that, but when the monsters return, it's up to them to save themselves...and the world.
This was a very suspenseful, intriguing tale of unusual friendship. The end was abrupt to make way for a sequel, which I'll be sure to read. This book was not terrifying enough to give me nightmares, so I would recommend it to other scaredy-cats like me.
And rumor has it that Tim Burton has signed on to direct the movie adaptation! I think it would be a perfect fit for him, and I can easily picture Helena Bonham Carter as Miss Peregrine, if they aged her a bit. Hmmm, but who would Johnny Depp be? Jacob's dad?
All in all, I'm very pleased that I opened my mind by opening the pages of a book that, quite honestly, made me nervous. But the only thing to fear with MPHPC is the withdrawals you'll experience at the end! I need that sequel!