First impression: Ehhhh I don’t know about this one
Last impression: Wow, what a pleasant surprise
Format: Library e-book / 352 pages
Publishing Info: June 7th 2011 / Goodreads
Other books read by author: None
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.
Book Buddies is a discussion-style review that takes place with one of my two buddies. (Learn more and see past reviews here) We both read the book and then have a private discussion about it. We post our discussion as a review on the last Wednesday of each month. You’ll be able to see our similar/different opinions on the overall book, characters, writing style, etc. – just like a regular review. The first half our discussion will take place on one blog and the second half will take place on the other blog. Without further ado, here’s the first BOOK BUDDIES REVIEW!
Warning: there are some moderate spoilers in this discussion – nothing that gives away the ending or major twists, but some terminology, events, and topics that could be considered spoilers to some people.
Lauren: So, what made you initially add this one to your TBR?
Cristina: Actually it’s kind of a funny story. I had seen it at a bookstore one day when it was initially released and remarked upon it to my boyfriend that it looked creepy…a little while later he ended up gifting it to me for my birthday!
Lauren: That’s awesome! I love when my boyfriend picks up on hints like that. For me, I was kind of turned off by it at first. It looked TOO creepy for me. Recently there were so many people reviewing it that I decided to give it a try!
Cristina: I had never come across a YA book with pictures integrated, so I liked the concept but I was also wary that they were going to be really creepy, so it’s sat on my shelf for a while until I had a good excuse not to put it off anymore!
Lauren: So true. The pictures are an interesting touch. I ended up getting the e-book from the library so I think I missed on some of the experience, but at least they still were included.
Cristina: I’m honestly glad I finally read it because it was SO different from what I was expecting. I thought it would be more centralized on the creepy vintage photo element, but I found them to be a nice touch rather than an overwhelming feature.
Lauren: Same here! I’m really glad the book bloggers out there kind of changed my mind.. (That happens with so many books!) The book was a lot different than what I expected.
Cristina: The pictures weren’t what most surprised me either…I feel like the most surprising aspect of the novel was the fact that the genre was really different from what I was expecting (which was horror). It’s this really unique combination of paranormal, historical fiction and even some sci-fi.
Lauren: Exactly. I had almost no idea what to expect, but I wasn’t prepared for some of those aspects. It worked out really well! I was leaning more towards it being a horror book, which I normally avoid, so I was pleasantly surprised to see the paranormal/historical aspects too. I thought that the book was just SO unique. I was constantly in awe of where the story was headed and wondering what the heck was going to happen next.
Cristina: Absolutely. I also liked the fact that there were a lot of male characters who were central to the plot, which there seem to be less of in YA. It was interesting to see the interaction and belief systems of three generations, from Jacob’s grandfather to father to his own journey with his childhood stories and beliefs.
Lauren: I didn’t even think about that! You’re right. Almost all of the main characters were male. It was cool to see how the males in that family lived their lives because they were all VERY different people, I think. The grandfather’s story really was heartbreaking, and in a way, so was Jacob’s father’s story. As far as characters go, I think Jacob might of been my favorite. It’s funny though because I feel like none of the characters were given that much personality. Sometimes the characters’ personality isn’t as important as the plot in books, and I think this was one of those. Very plot-centric.
Cristina: I have to agree with you, and for the first 100+ pages or so I had a hard time getting into the story because there weren’t any characters I felt like I could relate too. Once you discover the peculiars the pace seemed a lot faster (I think because there was so much to take in, learning about the loop, the kids, etc) but it’s more like each of the characters served a function to move the plot along. I think that despite the heavy male lineage that’s portrayed through Jacob, I thought there were strong females to counter this in the peculiar world, which is almost a matriarchal society, with all of the ymbrynes being female.
Lauren: You’re right about that. I think I was invested in the story from the start just because I had no idea what was going to happen; my fascination was enough to pull me through. That being said, completely agree on the pacing. It was faster and more interesting learning about the peculiars and their situation. I love books where there’s a slow release of information about what’s happening and what the story is. The matriarchy was great; I love books where women are in charge…. it did counter well vs. Jacob/his family’s story.
Cristina: I thought it was a great way to parallel the “peculiar” world with the “normal” world. And while it wasn’t super scary, I think there’s still some horror aspects to satisfy those readers who are interested in that too.
Lauren: So true!
Cristina: The Hollow that appears is really quite frightening when you take a moment to really envision it!
Lauren: No kidding! I think that was definitely the creepiest part, aside from when Jacob was exploring the abandoned house. I totally expected something to jump out at any second.
Cristina: Right? What struck me as disturbing was when he goes into the basement and finds the harvested organs…I could not stretch my imagination far enough to imagine a use for them that wasn’t horrific!
Lauren: I know! Same here. It was really bizarre what they were actually used for haha. Speaking of that, which of the peculiars’ powers do you think you would have wanted to have?!
Cristina: Hands down probably Emma’s! Her ability to create fire was amazing and probably one of the more “super hero” esque powers of all of them. Millard’s invisibility was cool too but he didn’t seem to ever be able to become NOT invisible haha
Lauren: I know! Haha, I was thinking that too. I don’t remember him ever having a real head. I think Emma’s power would be my favorite too. The girl who could essentially fly/levitate was pretty cool too!