Reviews for Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children
Booklist Reviews 2011 May #2
On the brink of his sixteenth birthday, something terrible happens to Jacob--something so terrible that it splits his life into two parts: Before and After. Before, he was an ordinary young man with a peculiar but doting grandfather. After, he discovers he isn't so ordinary after all. Nor are the "peculiar children" he meets at Miss Peregrine's home. Riggs' debut uses the framework of a horror novel to tell a more far-reaching tale with symbolic overtones of the Holocaust. Though the author's skill does not always match his ambition--his pacing is particularly uneven--his premise is clever, and Jacob and the children are intriguing characters. The book is made even more intriguing by the inclusion of a number of period photographs that seem almost Victorian in character and that expand the oddness of the proceedings. An open ending suggests the possibility of a sequel. Copyright 2011 Booklist Reviews.
Kirkus Reviews 2014 April #1
Riggs spins a gothic tale of strangely gifted children and the monsters that pursue them from a set of eerie, old trick photographs. The brutal murder of his grandfather and a glimpse of a man with a mouth full of tentacles prompts months of nightmares and psychotherapy for 15-year-old Jacob, followed by a visit to a remote Welsh island where, his grandfather had always claimed, there lived children who could fly, lift boulders and display like weird abilities. The stories turn out to be true—but Jacob discovers that he has unwittingly exposed the sheltered "peculiar spirits" (of which he turns out to be one) and their werefalcon protector to a murderous hollowgast and its shape-changing servant wight. The interspersed photographs—gathered at flea markets and from collectors—nearly all seem to have been created in the late 19th or early 20th centuries and generally feature stone-faced figures, mostly children, in inscrutable costumes and situations. They are seen floating in the air, posing with a disreputable-looking Santa, covered in bees, dressed in rags and kneeling on a bomb, among other surreal images. Though Jacob's overdeveloped back story gives the tale a slow start, the pictures add an eldritch element from the early going, and along with creepy bad guys, the author tucks in suspenseful chases and splashes of gore as he goes. He also whirls a major storm, flying bullets and a time loop into a wild climax that leaves Jacob poised for the sequel. A trilogy opener both rich and strange, if heavy at the front end. (Horror/fantasy. 12-14) Copyright Kirkus 2014 Kirkus/BPI Communications.All rights reserved.
Library Journal Reviews 2011 May #2
Sixteen-year-old Jacob Portman no longer believes the stories his grandfather told him when he was a little boy. These are obviously fairy tales about children with mysterious abilities, such as a girl who could levitate and a boy with bees inside him, and not real memories from his grandfather's childhood. Grandpa's sepia-toned photographs of his strange friends also seem fake to Jacob. However, when he gets a chance to visit the island where the stories took place, he can't resist delving into his grandfather's past. Could these odd children really have existed? VERDICT An original work that defies categorization, this first novel should appeal to readers who like quirky fantasies. Suitable for both adults and a YA audience. Riggs includes many vintage photographs that add a critical touch of the peculiar to his unusual tale.--Laurel Bliss, San Diego State Univ. Lib. [Page 77]. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Publishers Weekly Reviews 2011 April #4
Riggs's atmospheric first novel concerns 16-year-old Jacob, a tightly wound but otherwise ordinary teenager who is "unusually susceptible to nightmares, night terrors, the Creeps, the Willies, and Seeing Things That Aren't Really There." When Jacob's grandfather, Abe, a WWII veteran, is savagely murdered, Jacob has a nervous breakdown, in part because he believes that his grandfather was killed by a monster that only they could see. On his psychiatrist's advice, Jacob and his father travel from their home in Florida to Cairnholm Island off the coast of Wales, which, during the war, housed Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children. Abe, a Jewish refugee from the Nazis, lived there before enlisting, and the mysteries of his life and death lead Jacob back to that institution. Nearly 50 unsettling vintage photographs appear throughout, forming the framework of this dark but empowering tale, as Riggs creates supernatural backstories and identities for those pictured in them (a boy crawling with bees, a girl with untamed hair carrying a chicken). It's an enjoyable, eccentric read, distinguished by well-developed characters, a believable Welsh setting, and some very creepy monsters. Ages 12-up. (June) [Page ]. Copyright 2010 PWxyz LLC
School Library Journal Reviews 2011 June
Gr 8 Up--Sixteen-year-old Jacob, traumatized by his grandfather's sudden, violent death, travels with his father to a remote island off the coast of Wales to find the orphanage where his grandfather was sent to live to escape Nazi persecution in Poland. When he arrives, he finds much more than he bargained for: the children from his grandfather's stories are still at the orphanage, living in a time loop in 1940. The monsters that killed Jacob's grandfather are hunting for "peculiar" children, those with special talents, and the group at the orphanage is in danger. Jacob must face the possibility that he, too, has certain traits that the monsters are after and that he is being stalked by adults he trusted. This complex and suspenseful story incorporates eerie photographs of children with seemingly impossible attributes and abilities, many of whom appear as characters in the story. The mysterious photographs add to the bizarre and slightly creepy tone of the book. Jacob is a strong and believable character, though only a few of the secondary characters are fully realized. The pacing of the story is good, alternating action sequences with Jacob's discoveries of his grandfather's long-hidden secrets. Readers will find this book unique and intriguing.--Misti Tidman, formerly at Boyd County Public Library, Ashland, KY [Page 132]. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
VOYA Reviews 2011 June
"Find the bird. In the loop. On the other side of the old man's grave. September third, 1940." "Emerson--the letter. Tell them what happened, Yacob." A mysterious death , cryptic clues, and unseen monsters haunt Jacob after the brutal death of his grandfather. His fear consumes him until he cannot even leave the house. His therapist suggests a trip to the school where his grandfather was raised after the war that seems to be the source of his confusion. It should provide closure and answers to his questions. But no answers come, only more questions. Can Jacob unravel the clues his grandfather left? Is he crazy or was there really a monster that killed his grandfather? Is the school more than just the burned-out ruins left from the bombing on September 3, 1940? Jacob finds the school and the room that once belonged to his grandfather. Then the children find him and two worlds collide for the first time since his grandfather left the school. Secrets are exposed and monsters revealed Riggs delves into an edge-of-your-seat adventure exploring a world just below the surface of our own, only frozen in time to save the children from the dangers that surround them. With real vintage photos of the "peculiar" children and action-packed text, this is sure to get even your most reluctant reader to whiz through the pages.--Barbara Allen 5Q 5P M J S Copyright 2011 Voya Reviews.