Do you like peculiar children? How about old photographs, mysteries, and fantasy?
I just finished Miss Peregrine's Home for PeculiarChildren by Ransom Riggs, a novel that weaves vintage photographs of oddities, such as a floating girl and an invisible boy, into a fascinating story about sixteen-year-old Jacob searching for the truth about his grandfather's past. In the process, he learns much about himself.
The novel feels a bit like the Tim Burton film, "Big Fish."
Riggs notes that the pictures in the book are authentic, vintage found photographs. A few have undergone minimal postprocessing.
When my sister handed me the novel, I flipped through the pages, looking at each photo, wondering about the story behind it. As it turns out, this was a delightful approach to the book. The main character himself wonders about these photos before learning the true story behind them. (Oh gosh, I'm dying to say more, but I don't want to spoil it for you.) So, along with Jacob, the reader discovers the mystery of the old pictures.
The writing is brilliant and multilayered. The language is vivid. As my sister described it, "There's not a wasted word." I found it whimsical yet dark. Layered, because it's a fantasy time-travely story, but also a coming of age book. It comments on WWII, the challenges of being different, and about family dynamics. Some of the characters make questionable choices, but the book leaves the reader to evaluate them for him or herself. It was a compelling read and I'd recommend it to teens and adults.