Stats: Young Adult Fiction Novel, 348 pages, First Published by Quirk Books, June 2011.
My Rating: 3 STARS
My opinions on this novel are somewhat of a mixed bag. Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children succeeds in peculiarity, but doesn't do as well in its consistency.
To start with, the idea of old photographs being used to build and illustrate a story is a really interesting concept that I absolutely love. Looking at an old and fading snap shot it's hard not to stop and wonder. Who is this person? What are they thinking? Why this moment? That little bit of curiosity gives us the opportunity to create a story for ourselves about what their life was like and who they were in that single second of time. The photographs in this book are interesting pieces in themselves, but the problem with this is that you can't show someone an image and tell them what they are supposed to see.
This is however, exactly what this book is trying to do. Telling me that this is a character, this is a mystery, this is real. Sometimes this method worked and I could see exactly what the author wanted to convey, but other times the photographs just didn't mesh with the story and my own vision. Personally, I was able to overlook the times this didn't work and enjoy the times it did, but it does complicate what the reader can and cannot support. If an aspect of the plot relies on me seeing a photograph in a certain way then it can easily bring me out of the story if I just don't go along with it. I have to give some credit to Riggs though. This was a ballsy concept and he does do a good effort to make it all work! It just depends on the individual reader to judge whether or not he succeeded.
The supernatural elements of the story worked pretty well overall. I was able to follow the mechanics easily and as far as I can tell it all worked.
It was the ending of the book that lost a lot of steam. It didn't feel as serious of an event as it should have. Jacob had been doing such a good job emoting throughout the book that I didn't feel like he showed enough emotion when it really counted. As I started to see where things were going as more clues were revealed the storytelling seemed to suffer for it as it tried to bring drama to the final act. However, I still really liked where the story ended and I am looking forward to seeing what happens next. A lot could be done with this story and I think it would be great to see where it goes!
So yes, my feelings are very mixed on this one and because of that I'm not sure I would just recommend it to anyone. I still liked it and Riggs's writing is quite good but it is a book I can see being a different experience depending on the reader.
To give a better sense of the story I encourage you to check out the book trailer and see for yourself whether this might be the book for you.