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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 4, 2015
I had high hopes for this book, a story about a group of peculiar children illustrated by odd old photographs to bring the characters to life, but for me, that interesting concept became the story's downfall. The author has stated that he would sometimes find pictures that he really wanted to include and find a way to fit them in, and it is painfully obvious. The clumsy attempts to fit the photos into the story ruin what could have been an interesting tale. It seemed at times as though the author could not decide between the story he wanted to tell and the pictures he wanted to include, which resulted in what felt like a lot of feeble excuses to include certain photographs. It was an interesting concept, but a failed one, as the book ended up limited and awkward as a result of the ill-conceived marriage of photos and story. I do think that it could have been pulled off successfully, had the author been a bit more in love with his story, and less enamored of the photographs.
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on January 13, 2015
I wasn't entirely sure what to expect when I cracked (figuratively) the cover of this book. I think I was hoping for a stronger horror tie than I got. The first third of the book certainly lead me to believe I'd found an especially creepy YA horror tail. As the story progress, though, it evolved into a sort of time travel fantasy with a smattering of historical fiction thrown in.

Jacob Portman and his relationship with his grandfather started the book off with a solid foundation. Jacob's situation, a rich boy trapped in an empty life, with only his grandfather's stories to inspire him, appealed quite a bit. The frustration of Jacob's teenage life, rife with uncertainty and parents who have really accomplished nothing, rang true. Despite his families' standing, Jacobs only "friend" is shaggy redneck whom he helps with school work. And when the bad things really start happening we find that Jacob is truly alone.

The pictures are a great idea and do much to support the eerie feeling of the story. Unfortunately, the formatting of the ebook version is done so badly that I often had to skip ahead several pages to find the image needed for that portion of the story. That wouldn't have been too bad if some of those pictures didn't contain part of the actual text. I'd be reading along and a sentence would end midway and the next page would start a new paragraph. I'd have to page through the book to find the missing information. As others have noted, the Kindle isn't kind to the pictures themselves, they are often difficult to view (however I did not dock the book any stars for this - only the poor formatting).

Once the time travel aspect of the story commences and the peculiar children show up as people instead of a collection of mysterious photographs, much of the magic and creepiness of the tale leached away for me. Jacob's reaction to of the boy's rather grotesque abilities/interests didn't ring true. And maybe I missed it, but there is a dead person in the story and I finished the book not knowing how he ended up in that condition. I thought, considering the age and abilities of many of the children, they ought to have managed a better strategy during the climatic action scene.

I haven't decided yet if I'll read the sequel. I like the concept of using the photographs to add to the story, but I'm not sure I care as much about the story now as I did when I thought it had deeper roots in the horror genre.
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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 July 8, 2016
It was great. It is tied in my opinion with Harry Potter and I've only read one of the Miss Peregrine books so far and I've only read the first 5 HP books. Well done to Ransom Riggs. Can't wait to see the movie. Getting ready to read the second. I was sitting on the beach one day while reading the book and I realised how much Miss Peregrine and Mary Poppins have in common. True story. The pictures used throughout the book are fenominal. This story once the movie comes out is going to be the next Harry Potter. When I read the sample book I was immediately drawn to the story and the main character, Jacob. I am very critical when it comes to books and I have to say or type it is the best thing I've read in a loooong time
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on February 29, 2016
Oh my goodness...This book. It's not often that I pick up a story that I literally cannot put down. Not only did I read this book in two sittings (bringing it with me whenever I got up to grab something or do anything else), I had a VERY hard time falling asleep on the night of the 7th and focusing at work on the 8th because all I could think about was the story and how badly I wanted to be reading rather than sleeping/working! I honestly can't remember the last time I felt that way about a book... though I have read plenty that I had a hard time putting down, I didn't lose sleep over them because they just didn't hook me as much as this one did. I loved everything about this book. The storyline was wonderful, the characters were all very interesting, and (the best part in my opinion) was that I was totally amazed by the way it was written. While reading, I felt like I was really there, like I was actually watching the events unfold. At the very end of the book, in an interview with the author, I discovered why this was the case. Ransom Riggs first went to college to study literature and got a degree in English. Then he went to study film school at the University of Southern California in LA. Bravo Mr. Riggs! I also really liked the use of the photos. Some were very creepy and I think it is incredibly interesting that the author collected these photographs from flea markets and such over time. I've read reviews where people said the photos ruined the "modern storyline" and I think they've missed the point-these photographs are all very old, from the time when the children were able to move about as they pleased. I loved this book so much that I went out and bought the second one so I can find out what happens next as soon as possible!
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on October 17, 2016
I bought the Kindle edition and the audio version. When I'm unable to read (as in the car on the way to work) I would listen. I loved the character of Jake. I thought the author did a very good job of capturing a disenfranchised sixteen year old who finds himself on an adventure. The pictures within the book are interesting, but didn't really get me all excited like some other readers. I liked the idea of the author forming stories/characters from the unusual pictures, but they were better in my imagination. But, I think I'm in the minority about that. The audio version was good EXCEPT when it was very bad. Whenever the narrator did any female voice or accent, it was cringe-worthy. I loved his narrating voice and his voice of young Jake, but he made all the young girls sound like old biddies--all breathy and high pitched. I had a hard time getting into the 'romance' angle of the story since I kept picturing Jake with an old lady. But, overall, I enjoyed the book and would recommend it for an easy read--an escape from everyday life.'
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on December 1, 2017
I was looking forward to reading a book based off a trailer the become a movie. If book one is a short story then all 3 books must make the ENTIRE movie. I would not recommend this purchase unless it was FREE. Very interesting read but a movie I can consume. Unless more is added to complete and describe the book to its fullest potential. Like Benjamin Button. Short book long movie
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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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