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TOP 500 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 January 20, 2018
I stumbled across this little gem quite by accident, and I fell in love with both the premise - a slice of time that stands still for those living in it - and the characters, almost from page 1. I have no idea if this is meant for YA, adults or children, but it works on all levels and reminds me of a modern day Peter Pan.
Beautifully written, with intriguing photos peppering the chapters, this book is a real treasure.
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on June 12, 2016
I normally am unable to stay interested in a book. I wanted to try and read this book in anticipation of the upcoming movie. While the storyline took a while to get into the actual peculiar side it still kept my interest. So much so I have read the second book and am now moving on to the third. It's a definite read. I will say I do see a variation from the book than the trailer of the movie. I'm hoping that it's just the trailer making it appear that way. The photos in the book really help to pull you into the storyline. They're supposedly vintage photos with minimal altering which leads even more mystery to the story and a little magic to life as the photos themselves are peculiar. Take a chance and read this book. You won't be disappointed.
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on October 16, 2017
This was a good young adult novel. Well written an containing. Good characters. A little slow to start , since we don't meet the title character until a third of the way through the book. Very unique style in using real old photographs. Some of the characters don't get much story time. Maybe in the other books. A good start, but I will reserve final judgement until I finish the trilogy.
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on March 15, 2016
A friend brought me this book to read and although I had no expectations, it was a wonderful surprise. From the first page I was hooked. I have since read all three in the series and did so quickly since I couldn't get enough. My 10 year old is now reading this book and also loves it! She hasn't put it down. My only complaint comes in the epilogue. For a book that appeals to young readers it sure does let a big cat out of the bag. Parents, read the epilogue before letting younger readers begin. My 10 year old was fine but my 9 year old would be devastated. I don't necessarily think it was intended for this age group. There is also a small amount of bad language but this is not something that bothers me if not excessive.
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on October 8, 2015

Rating: 4 Stars

Okay for those of you who don't know what this series is about I'm going to try and explain the idea without ruining the story. This series is based around a bunch of old photographs, some of which are kind of creepy. They also include the images in the book (I've been told they don't work as well on e-reader though) which really adds an extra element into the book. Modern day sixteen-year-old Jacob grew up on tales of his grandfathers adventures and of a home full of peculiar children. He grows to not believe the tales of course but after a tragedy, Jacob finds himself going to the isolated island in Wales where this home of peculiars was said to live. He finds the abandoned and crumbling home he finds there may be truth to his grandfathers old tales, and even stranger, these peculiar children may still be alive.

Basically this book has a lot going for it, especially for October. It has the whole creepy mood going for it with old photographs that seem hard to explain some of, monsters, time loops, and children with peculiar powers! I went in a bit unsure, knowing after hearing Jesse the Reader gush about this series and push it so often I'd have to give it a try but then when Bogdana at Bogdana The Booknerd said she wanted to read them as well and gave me more information, that peculiar meant powers, I was ready to check them out. Then Ransom coming to the area for the release of the third book I had to be on top of things, so we read them with our Goodreads group.

The book starts out moving pretty quick, drawing you in. Then for me it had a bit of a slow moment where I was questioning if I'd finish but then right as I thought that it drew me right back in. The story was well written and seemed to go quickly with the design of whole pages taken up by pictures here and there. Also the book itself has one of those old school feels under the cover and it is beautifully done design wise. The cast of characters are so unique in their peculiarity but also their distinct personalities were fun to get to know. I think Mildred might be my favorite, though I have a special place in my heart for each of them.

I will say the biggest suggestion I can make is to go into it without much information and be surprised. Also don't over think the time loop aspect, just go with it. Just know you're going to meet some peculiar children, do some peculiar things, have some monsters to deal with, and lots of interesting learning about the world.
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on December 23, 2017
I only heard of this story after it was made into a movie (that I never saw). I bought the book without reading the description, so reading it was a bit of a mysterious adventure — one that I took with Jacob. Upon finishing the book, I found myself feeling both sad and pleased. I’m not sure I will read the sequels, but am glad I read this one.
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on December 8, 2016
It is a pretty good book for young adult literature. Given that I have not been a young adult for a long time, I can only imagine that they would find the story intriguing. I didn't mind that the main characters "voice" was sometimes that of an immature teen and sometimes that of an older adult. The descriptions and details were interesting and well done. The pictures added to the overall theme in a complex and interesting manner.
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on January 8, 2016
Amazing twist on the side show back story. I enjoyed the mix of current time with the past and alowwing the main character to chose the present or the past to dwell in. I think, I would choose to go into the past also. I think this book would appeal to young teens but is also enjoyable for adults. I gave it five stars because it caught my interest enough to buy the next book to see where it goes from there. The ending of book one leaves the door open for all kinds of directions, including meeting his gradfather while at who would be about the same age in the past.
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on April 20, 2016
Well-crafted characters and a solid story make this book an interesting read; however, although the story is interesting, it is not terribly compelling. When I reached the end, I did not buy the next book in the series. I did like how Riggs crafted the story around the curious photographs, that was a clever approach; I did not care for the predictable plot line - especially the way the main character's dilemma to "stay" or "go" was handled.

Some unpredictable plot-line twists and turns utilizing the strong base of characters and adding more tension (perhaps created by some additional converging story lines) would propel this book from good to great.
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