MISS PEREGRINE’S HOME FOR PECULIAR CHILDREN by Ransom Riggs
When Jacob was a young child, he believed his grandfather’s stories about growing up in Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children and fighting monsters. He believed that the photographs of the flying girl, the invisible boy, and his grandfather’s other peculiar playmates were all real. By age 16, however, Jacob has grown to understand that the photographs are fake and his grandfather’s stories merely fantasies invented to mask the horrible reality of growing up in Poland and being hunted by human monsters, the Nazis. But when Jacob finds his grandfather dead in the woods, he has to admit that either he is going crazy or the tentacled creature he saw slithering away from his grandfather’s bleeding body was no fairytale. Finding a letter from Miss Peregrine in his grandfather’s study, Jacob travels to England in search of the Home for Peculiar Children, all too aware that if Miss Peregrine is real, the monsters must be real too.
I absolutely loved this book. From its beginnings playing with the blurred lines between true horrors and fantastical horrors to the full-fledged fantasy of Miss Peregrine and her wards and through all of the photographs in between, the book was fascinating and fast paced. I couldn’t put it down. Unfortunately, the ending was not as strong as the beginning and middle. It was clumsy and poorly timed, and instead of providing the cliff-hanger incentive to read a sequel that the author intended, it just seemed awkward and dissatisfying. If only he had ended it about a page earlier! But I hope that the poor ending will be remedied by the sequel that is promised for 2013. For that reason, I will give this book a strange recommendation: I highly recommend reading it, but if you are picky about endings like I am, you may want to wait to read it until the sequel is released to avoid an awkward interruption in the action.