To put it plainly, I enjoyed this book. It starts off with a very exciting and dramatic inciting incident that pulls you right into the story. You feel invested in the well-being of the main character, Jacob, from the get go. After that, this book holds your interest for a few different reasons, some good, and some you may find a bit strange.
Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children tells the story of Jacob Portman, a sixteen year old only child, who is traumatized by the death of his grandfather, Abe Portman. Jacob is compelled to visit the childhood home of his grandfather after he makes a death’s door promise to his desperate grandfather. Jake meets many of the people that Abe knew as a boy. Millard is invisible, Bronwynne is like Mr Incredible, Fiona can float in midair, Enoch can raise people (or animals, or anything really) from the dead, Hugh has bees living inside of him, and Emma controls fire. What better friends could you ask for? They certainly kept me entertained.
One bother for me about this great story was the language. Jacob speaks with quite a flowery vocabulary, in a way that seems out of place for a 16 year old boy. However, there were some great lines that made me laugh out loud, such as,
“they’re homunculi,” he replied, “sometimes, I put doll heads on ‘em, but this time, I was in a hurry and didn’t bother.”
“What’s a homunculi?”
“More than one homunculus!”
He said it like any idiot would know. “
and, “I love the homeless Santa Claus thing he’s got going,” I whispered, “not an easy look to pull off. Very next season.” Mostly though, it was filled with overly dramatized and described plot points and dialogue. To be fair, the over dramatization did make for a more exciting story, even though it felt contrived at times.
Once Jacob left his home for the Island in Wales where his grandfather lived as a youth the story kept a good pace. You need to trust me on this because there was a bit of a lull after his grandfather’s death and before the trip.. There were many twists, turns, and character development points that made the storyline (until near the end) fun, (sometimes) disturbing, and always intriguing.
An odd romantic relationship begins to develop between Jake and his grandfather’s once-upon-a-time girlfriend, but Jake seemed to be pretty disturbed by that too, so that made me feel a bit better. However, I hope in the sequel that Mr Riggs does not take that relationship any further down the road than it has gone in this book.
For someone who does not often read Young Adult fiction anymore, and does not have many vivid memories of the hundreds that I did read as a teenager, I very much enjoyed this book, and will most likely the follow up to it. Even though the language was a bit distracting coming out of the mouth of a sixteen year old, I did enjoy the heightened vocabulary that one would usually (I suspect) find in a novel for Young Adults. If you know of any other books that contain great uses of sophisticated vocabulary, please let me know what they are.
For anybody that is wondering about trying YA fiction, I would recommend this book, in part because it could easily read as a story about slightly older adults, if not for the presence of teens. It does not contain a lot of teenage angsty-ness, which is nice. You would have to throw some sex in though, which is an obvious missing ingredient in the “sex” scenes of this story.
If you are interested in trying some Young Adult reads, but don’t know where to start, try here and Browse The Best in Young Adult Series