During his childhood, Jacob indulged on his grandfather’s stories of his childhood growing up in an orphanage on an island off the coast of Wales during World War II with some peculiar children. Children who could fly, who had bees living inside them, and who could lift extremely heavy objects as if they were as light as a feather. But as he grew older, Jacob took the stories as fairy tales, until one night when his grandfather calls him frantically telling him he is being hunted by one of the monsters in his stories. Finding his grandfather in the woods behind his house, in his last few breaths he tries to tell Jacob something that he claims he should have told him years ago. But the words make no sense and Jacob is left with nightmares.
With help from his therapist, Jacob and his dad take a trip to the island his grandfather grew up on for answers only to find the orphanage in shambles, blown up by a bomb that his grandfather somehow survived. As he explores what remains of the house Jacob discovers his grandfather’s stories were more real than he gave him credit for, and that the children who lived in the house may have also survived.
Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children is a real treat. It’s a well written book with an addicting story that had me hooked within the first few pages. I love the world Ransom Riggs paints and all the characters are very unique (beyond their peculiar talents). And Riggs doesn’t give you everything so easily. I was genuinely surprised toward the end at the reveal of the villain, as it wasn’t someone I expected, and the end of the book makes me want to continue with the series to learn more about the children, as well as Jacob and his family.
However, I was confused by how many children actually lived at Miss Peregrine’s. It always seemed that there were constantly more and more children to keep track of. At one point I was picturing about 20 kids sitting around a dinner table, only to find out later there are about 10 kids who live in the orphanage. Not all are brought into the forefront and there are specific characters that help carry the plot so it’s not too confusing, but even so keeping all the names of the characters straight was a bit difficult and I found myself wondering, “Wait, who was that again?”
Despite the character confusion, Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children is a great fantasy for young adults that includes real life pictures Riggs collected over the years. Halfway through the book I knew I would have to continue reading the series and even days after finishing I find myself recollecting the story and thinking about how entertaining it was.