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on June 25, 2016
4.5 out of 5 stars

I confess I got this book solely on account of its cover. The creepy, black and white photograph of a (very children-of-the-corn looking) girl, standing stock still, staring directly at the camera, as if contemplating how best to eat your soul stood out like a corpse at a holiday party. And the title? How could I resist? I plucked the book from the shelves and brought it home. Then (as you already know, if you read my post from a few days ago), I got distracted (things were shiny), and the book languished on my shelf. Then low and behold, the book will soon be a movie--directed by Tim Burton no less--and I didn't even want to look at the previews without reading the book first.

Miss Peregrine's is a young adult novel, but one that transcends the genre and is enjoyable even for those of us who have left high school far in the past. The best books in the genre (think Harry Potter) feature young adult leading characters and high school age problems, but also rise above the mundane to speak to the problems of a bigger adult world. The less enjoyable books in the genre (sparkly vampires *cough*) leave you wondering if you might have enjoyed the book when you were thirteen, but fairly confident you were never that insipid (though, obviously, all teenagers are insipid by nature).
Miss Peregrine's is one of the better books in the genre. Following the death of his grandfather, sixteen year old Jacob finds out that the fairy stories his grandfather told him as a child--about a magical island inhabited by children with paranormal abilities--may not have been just stories after all. Jacob sets off to learn the truth about the island with its mysterious house of peculiar children, all watched over by a bird who smokes a pipe.
The story is accompanied by photographs throughout the book, all black and white, with that particular creepy vintage vibe you get if you google search "scary Easter bunny". The pictures are all quite striking, and serve to add to the atmosphere of the book. When you learn that all these photos are actual vintage photographs (most unaltered), collected by the author, it adds to the creepy vibe (what were those people doing?) rather than detracts from it. The book is largely an adventure story suffused with all the creepy atmosphere an ancient, fog-shrouded island off the coast of Wales can deliver. There are a few scary/creepy/violent moments, but these are generally around the level of the dementors in the Harry Potter novels (as, after all, this is still a YA novel, creepy atmosphere not withstanding).

In all, this is a great read, and a fine example of a YA novel not only accessible for adults, but enjoyable as well. The characters are interesting and generally well done, and the backdrops, first of Florida, and then the Island are fully realized and contribute well to the tone of the book. I enjoyed my time with Miss Peregrine's and can't wait to read the second book in the series.

I do, however, reserve judgement on the movie version.

Check out more reviews by checking out my blog!

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TOP 1000 REVIEWERon October 5, 2016
SPOILER FREE REVIEW - We are constantly encouraging our 11 year old to read more. Until recently she would only flip through magazines on occasion, or pick up a joke book with short one liners. It took a lot of prodding to get her interested in reading a novel. We would go to a bookstore and suggest dozens of books while trying to make each one sound as exciting as possible.

This book was one of the first books SHE mentioned wanting to read on her own. We jumped in the car and raced off to the book store to see if we could capitalize on her "read all of the books mood" once she flipped through the book she was hooked in... inside the store! We wanted to order it on amazon, so we negotiated the two day wait for shipping with her by offering to buy buying all three books in the series. She agreed.

Some people may have an issue with this book's language or somewhat sketchy subject matter being appropriate for children, but honestly... She is 11. It's nothing she hasn't heard by now. If I am completely honest- With as much effort as we have put into encouraging her to read over the years, if she asked us to buy her a copy of Helter Skelter I might seriously consider it. Mom might not, but I would.
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on May 2, 2014
When I saw the name of the book I thought it concerned children who were mentally or emotionally troubled. Not so.

The book contains many old black and white snapshots and studio portraits of children dressed in Halloween costumes, dress clothes and clothes worn many years ago, posed in unusual poses. The writer has a great imagination integrating the old photographs into the story. It is a great book for YAs, especially boys, but would be frightening for younger children.

The book begins with Jacob Portman, going on sixteen, who feels he does not belong to his own world, south Florida's west coast. His mother is a business woman, wealthy, working in the family business, excellent in business. not much for family life. The name of the family business is Smart Aid, growing all over Florida. Jacob is being groomed for the business, he doesn't want this for his lifes work. His father is a would be ornithologist, planning a book on birds which has yet to come to fruition. Both parents are busy with their own lives and feel that because Jacob gets whatever he wants they have done a good job. Jacob has one friend, Ricky, he is not popular. But he had Grandpa Portman who told Jacob stories about the time he escaped from the Nazis when he was young and as a child was sent to an orphanage on Cairnholm, off the coast of Wales. He told Jacob about the strange people, monsters after the kids and he showed his grandson some of the photos of these kids, taken many years ago, old antique photos. Jacob grew too old for such stories, they were all silly. His parents agreed. Then one night Jacob and Ricky went to visit Grandpa. Grandpa lay dead. Jacob saw a monster lurking in the bushes. He swore he saw a monster, Ricky saw nothing. Just possible a wild animal. Jacob was in a bad state for months. His parents found a good psychiatrist. There is a letter from the orphanage Grandpa had spend so much of his childhood from the old headmistress. Could she still be alive? Jacob wants to go to Cairnholm to see where Grandpa had grown up. His psychiatrist agrees it would be good. As for his father, the island is wonderful for birding. So off to Cairnholm go father and son. Cairnholm is a strange island, rough and primitive. Frank wants to bird. Jacob wants to see the old orphanage. Is it real? Was it a figment of Grandpa's imagination? Jacob wants to know the truth. Jacob found a letter among Grandpa's letters. It was from the old orphanage Grandpa had spend much of his childhood, from the old headmistress. Could the old lady still be alive? Jacob wants to go to Cairnholm to see where Grandps had talked so much about. His psychiatrist agreed that it would be good for the boy. And as for father, the island was wonderful for birding which excited Frank Portman. So off to Cairnholm go father and son.

This is a strange island, rough, primitive not what the pair are used to. Frank wants to bird, Jacob wants to find the old orphanage that Grandpa had spoke of. Is it real or a figment of the old man's imagination. Two tough teenage boys are told to show Jacob where the old house is located. The boys take him to a bog and tell him where the house is located. The pair, good friends, refuse to accompany him the rest of the way. Why?

Jocob soldiered on. This is an old ruined house, falling apart, decrepid, old, back in time, falling apart. Everything in the house is falling apart, not worth keeping. Then Jacob goes through a time loop, ends back in time. The house is beautiful, clean, the food is good. Miss Peregrine, the name of a bird of prey, is a good housemother, good for the orphans. She keeps them in check, she loves them. Jacob is impressed. The time stops. It is always September 3, 1940. There is a small village close to the orphanage. The villagers do the same thing every day. The orphans are ordinary kids to a point. They are different than ordinary kids. They really are peculiar as Jacob finds out. Stuck in a time loop these kids are in their eighties. Thise book is quite an adventure for young boys. The author writes well and has a wonderful imagination.
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on December 8, 2016
This story is very peculiar..no pun intended. Its very mysterious and creepy once you get into it. I did come to read this one with a picture in mind. I saw the movie first and knew i needed to finally read it. Although there were some minor differences from book to movie the books detailed photography brought to life what the movie couldn't. This is considered a horror genre type novel, but its not as dark as you may think. The plot was well thought out.i can see how some events could confuse you. The characters were quarky magical and interesting. The idea of loops and secret history really sets this story apart from others. I know this may not be everyones cup of tea, but its definitely an "out of the box" story and deserve a chance. I enjoyed this. Id considered reading the whole series.
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on December 11, 2014
Jacob Portman used to love the stories that his grandfather told him; tall tales spun from his childhood as a World War II refugee in Wales and supported by a bizarre collection of photographs. Eventually, as he slips into his teenage years, Jacob stops believing the far-fetched stories about his grandfather’s fellow refugee children, all of whom purportedly have unusual abilities like invisibility and fire handling. His beloved grandpa has been pulling his leg, he knows, and he soon puts the stories out of his mind, trying instead to have a normal life.

All of that changes, though, when Jacob is the sole witnesses to the frightening murder of his grandfather, a horrific tragedy that leaves him reeling in therapy. On his therapist’s suggestion, he finds himself headed to Wales to visit the old home where his grandfather grew up, the result of a mysterious letter left to him. Suddenly, his grandpa’s tales don’t seem so far-fetched after all—Jacob discovers that, against all logic, the peculiar children from the photographs are alive and well, seemingly preserved in time.

It isn’t long before Jacob finds himself in over his head and in possession of some peculiar qualities of his own as time manipulation and monsters come to the surface.

A perfect creepy read for Halloween that uses actual vintage photos sprinkled throughout the pages to heighten the twisted tale. Highly recommended.
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on March 29, 2016
I really enjoyed this book. I am a fan of HARRY POTTER and LORD OF THE RINGS and love fantasy. This story also made me think of CHRONICLES OF NARNIA. There is some time travel, so be prepared for that and a little violence. I predict the series will be very popular when the movie is released in September this year. It was a little hard to understand at first but then I couldn't put it down during the last half. I download on Kindles all the time but bought a hard copy to share with my family who also love fantasies. This will be THE NEXT BEST THING in movie series. I read in no time and have passed the hard copy to my daughter.
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on May 21, 2016
I wanted a copy of this book due to the popularity, thinking I'd get the chance to read it. I ended up listening to the audiobook counterpart with my youngest son during our lengthy car rides. I've enjoyed it immensely and he requests "play the story" every time we get into the car, even if it's just a quick errand. Now that the book is being released as a movie we are excited! This should make an excellent movie for all ages.
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on December 26, 2016
I bought this book because I was intrigued by the movie. As with all movie adaptations, there are differences in how the story unfolds. The book was very good, interesting and an easy read. The children are peculiar. The author does a good job about making the story about a modern boy, and relationships across the generations. It is about family stories told across the generations. And it's about how safe places can be confining.

As an adult, I liked the main character exploring, learning about himself, and learning about his grandfather's past and stories. And I liked Jake finding a community of other peculiar children. I read this book on the Kindle app on my iPad, and the formatting of the old photographs was fine - I was able to stretch them to see details if the photo was initially too small on the screen (Others said they had problems with the pictures if reading via Kindle - maybe if you had an iPhone or Paperweight this could be an issue, but this was fine on my iPad and I enjoyed the inclusion of the pictures interspersed throughout the story)

I'm trying to figure out the wights and hollows, which were easier for me to understand in the movie. But the ending is very different from the movie.

I definitely liked this book enough to buy the other two books in this series, and am going to start reading Hollow City next, to see if it fills in some of the gaps.
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on November 1, 2014
my boss give me a hardcopy of this book! I thought I won't like it, but I couldn't put it down! I love the use of photo's and building a story with them all! a perfect mixture of truth and supernatural! all the children in this school, including the young man that speaks in the story, are Peculiar. they all have some sort of gift or power. it's kinda like professor x's school for gifted youngsters. we lean that over time, people have tried to kill or things have been that almost kill of these Peculiar children. they are called the Hallow's and this young boy Jacob and his grandfather , were one of the few Perculiar's who could since them coming. this story is about a young boy , fighting to believe the truth of his grandfather's huge tales of Perculiar childen, and when it's time to truly believe in his story's . it shatter's Jacob's world!

love how the photo's were in the book!
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on December 21, 2016
It's a healthy thing to celebrate the talents that make us all special, and each one of us has a either a physical, mental or spiritual refuge to which we go in order to keep ourselves centered. Our own insecurities often cause us to consider our most unique and interesting traits or strengths as peculiarities in comparison with those of other people. It's hard to imagine a pod of outcast orphans happily living in a charming but sheltered sanctuary for years on end with no objective in mind other than safety. It seems an untenable situation with all the pressure from outside influences that have always been there, and will always be there. Nevertheless the idealism and the fight between the plucky good but outcast children and their very evil adversaries is one we all like to play in our heads. Don't we all wish for a doting and protective mother like Miss Peregrine who loves us for what we are not what she thinks we could be? Splitting sides into good and evil is something we all do. One can easily ascribe good and bad traits to family members, bosses, co-workers and, of course, all those people in clubs and committees. In the book the bad guys are humanoid monsters and Nazis. The good guy is Jewish. The psychiatrist's last name is Golan - which is very much like Golem - a monster of Jewish tradition. Quite derivative but still very entertaining.
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