by Ransom Riggs
Published by Quirk books, 2011
This is an unusual book which caught my attention due to its prolific use of old photographs. Novels combining text and image are becoming increasingly common in the library, an indication of the importance of visual literacy in our society. This novel blends text with archival photos which serve to illustrate the startling story.
Sixteen year old Jacob witnesses the horrific death of his grandfather, with significant consequences on both him and his family. The resulting mystery from the death sees Jacob travelling to a remote island off the coast of Wales to try to put together the pieces of a curious puzzle.
On the island he discovers the ruins of Miss Peregrine’s home for peculiar children, and further discovers that these children who existed when his grandfather was a child may still be alive today. Jacob comes to understand the true definition of “peculiar” and is swept up in a time-travelling mystery full of intrigue and suspense.
This is a fascinating read, blending fantasy, history and mystery with authentic vintage photographs. The cover is a little disconcerting – for me it does not represent the feel of the novel, nor would it entice many young adults to pick up the book. Ignore the cover. This book is worth the read and it is no surprise that it became a New York Times best seller. Watch out for the movie currently in production, to be directed by Tim Burton.
Recommended for ages 12+