I had read an interview with Ransom Riggs about his book Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children (MPHPC) in a magazine a while ago. I found the way he came up with the idea unique. I also have a fondness for old photographs because my brother and I go antiquing, and I always take great pride in finding photos that I know he’d like. If Ransom Riggs can incorporate found photos into a narrative, then I am in for better or for worse. It helps that the cover is haunting, appealing to my interest in all things mysterious.
MPHPC has a teenaged male protagonist! Yes, there are other YA novels with them, but they are few and far between. It’s refreshing to see one because we can’t always read about a girl falling in love with the bad boy. Jacob, sixteen and angsty, suffers a tragedy within the beginning pages of the novel as any good story does. He goes through a psychological trauma that brings his grandfather’s stories from when he was a child to the surface. Jacob travels to a small island off of Wales to visit Miss Peregrine’s school but soon finds that the monsters and mysteries of his grandfather’s life are a lot more plausible than anyone had imagined, including himself.
What I loved the most about this book was the inclusion of the photographs. They weren’t thrown in there like pictures you might find in chapter books but as part of the narrative. A character describes a picture and then it is included within the pages. Sometimes, it was a picture of actual characters the protagonist interacts with. While that might take away some imagination on the reader’s part, you do get a clear idea of what Riggs wants you to see. And that’s fine by me.
If any of you have been following my blog and reviews, you’ll know I like character development. Jacob did go through some character development, but for a while I was worried it would never come. He’s angsty, and perhaps sometimes too much so. That being said, I never wanted to smack him upside the head. However, the development was long in coming and perhaps MPHPC would have been better with more of it. While Jacob and his friends were a rainbow of personalities, there was one part that I found disturbing. I would love to tell you what that is, but I’m afraid it’ll spoil it for you should you decide to read it. Let me just say that I questioned the relationship between two of the characters. I’m ok with the possibility that it’s simply a quirk of mine!
It’s always frustrating to me when I get my hopes up really high for a book and it doesn’t live up to those hopes. I do my best to separate my disappointment from the execution every time I read. That was a little bit of what happened here with MPHPC. That’s why I use a two-point system—how I feel vs. how well written it is. As with anything, my word is not golden. It’s merely an opinion.
I’ll continue to read the series because it was interesting enough for me to do so, but in the later books, I would like to see a faster moving plot through the middle. Maybe Jacob will do something completely out of the ordinary in Hollow City that will blow me away. 7/8*