Synopsis According to Goodreads:
“A mysterious island.
An abandoned orphanage.
A strange collection of very curious photographs.
It all waits to be discovered in Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children, an unforgettable novel that mixes fiction and photography in a thrilling reading experience. As our story opens, a horrific family tragedy sets sixteen-year-old Jacob journeying to a remote island off the coast of Wales, where he discovers the crumbling ruins of Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children. As Jacob explores its abandoned bedrooms and hallways, it becomes clear that the children were more than just peculiar. They may have been dangerous. They may have been quarantined on a deserted island for good reason. And somehow—impossible though it seems—they may still be alive.
A spine-tingling fantasy illustrated with haunting vintage photography, Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children will delight adults, teens, and anyone who relishes an adventure in the shadows.”
Ok, this was not spine tingling. The photos were fascinating, but if you’re adverse to horror you may still enjoy Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children. I would classify it as a YA paranormal adventure novel with historical influence and some nifty cool old photos. I would not classify it as horror (and it has no gore or icky bits, really).
I enjoyed this as a solid, albeit quick, read. It is definitely a beach read, given the pace and lightness. I think my favorite thing about this novel is how subtly Ransom Riggs handles the topic of aging and connecting to an obsolete generation. The narrator’s struggles with believing and disbelieving his grandfather, and his observations on how adults handle the aging and possible dementia of their parents, was beautifully done. And not too heavy-handed, either. In all, he really captured that fine line between believing in the magic of stories of a bygone era, and trying to know a relative who is so far removed from you, both in age and culture.
Some of the ideas in this book are relatively unique and new, and some are old hashed-out tropes, which gave me a mixed impression on how well I liked the novel. I genuinely expected it to be scary, and it isn’t, but I did not expect it to deal with the transition between youth and adulthood (not just as a coming-of-age novel, which it is, but as larger concepts).
Overall, I would recommend this to folks who enjoy a simple adventure, the paranormal, The X-Men, YA, and creepy old photographs.