Black’s Book Review: Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children

Publishing Information: Qurik Productions 2011 (reprint 2013)
Page Count: 356
Genre: Young Adult Fiction, Dark Fiction, Historical Horror
Note: First Book in the Miss Peregrine’s Peculiar Children series, also the debut novel of Ransom Riggs

I am not a huge fan of the YA genre. Don’t mistake me, the genre is not without substantial merit. I have very fond memories of my sisters crowding into my bed and asking me to read about Harry and his magical school. I own all of Katniss’s adventures and they hold a special place in my heart as well. Heck, my very favorite series is The Lioness Quartet and I spent a good part of my adolescence in love with a particular fiction character from that setting.

But I also read Stephen King in the second grade, and Anne Rice while I was in middle school, and I found that my literate leanings were towards adult fiction rather than it’s younger cousin. But Riggs’ work came with a provoking cover and my very best friends’ promise that it was spectacular.

That being said it still sat on my To Be Read shelf for about a month before I picked it up this morning.

I was feeling icky. I don’t know if it was something I ate or if the sudden change in temperature was playing havoc with me, but I woke up this morning feeling like a snake was slithering around in my stomach. I managed to crawl to my favorite corner of the couch, my cat following in my inelegant wake, and plopped myself down with the book.

I figured that it, like most YA fiction, would be a simple read and would be just distracting enough to soothe the belly serpent. Next thing I knew it was 2 in the afternoon, the book was finished, and I had forgotten to eat lunch. Or, you know, breakfast for that matter.

To say the book pulled me in would be an exercise in the understatement.

The story is about a young boy of Jewish decent named Jacob who, like many of us, had the desire to have an adventure. This desire was fueled by his grandfathers wild stories about the orphanage that he grew up in and the strange children that lived there.

Of course, the stories are so wild and strange that no one believes him, aside from Jacob, and after a great deal of craziness Jacob discovers that (surprise, surprise) they are true.

I’m not going to say that this story is without its tropes. There is teen love and a little bit of angst, and uncaring parents who pretend to care too much. To be honest I’m okay with all of that because of how the story is written. The prose is flat out phenomenal and I was gripped from beginning to end.

I had just come to accept that my life would be ordinary when extraordinary things began to happen.”

Seriously…how awesome is that for an opening line? It was a line I could wholeheartedly and completely empathize with. I had shivers. I was worried, of course, that somewhere along the line I would end up hating the story but it didn’t happen. I grew to enjoy the main character, love some of the side characters, and fully believe in the romance. It was fantastic.

I could go on and analyze why I liked it and how it got to me and all that, but I wont. Instead I am going to tell you to go read it. Go fall in love with it. I did.

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