“I used to dream about escaping my ordinary life, but my life was never ordinary. I had simply failed to notice how extraordinary it was.”
I chose Miss Peregrin’s Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs for my 11th summer read. It’s been all over the booktube, but even before I started watching booktube, I passed this book in B&N one day, picked it up, and took a picture of it so that I wouldn’t forget it because it looked so intriguing. How appropriate that this book is story-crafted around photography!
The first thing I have to say about this book is that it is absolutely beautiful. Physically, It is one of the most aesthetically pleasing novels I have ever read. Every chapter is marked by a full page of colorful pattern, and each chapter contains photographs that are major parts of the story. It is a beautifully unique way to tell a story, and I haven’t seen anything like it in a very long time.
That being said, I probably would have like the book more than I did if I had just read it, but I chose to listen to the audiobook as well, and that almost ruined the experience for me. The reader of the audiobook I had also narrated the Percy Jackson series, and while I enjoyed him as the narrator for that series, I hated his narration for this book. His voice is well suited for middle-grades storytelling, but Miss Peregrin’s deals with some more mature themes, and when all I couldn’t fully appreciate those themes while hearing Percy’s voice. Also, and probably more significantly, this story has quite a few British characters, and, unfortunately, the narrator’s British accents were abysmal. I mean, they were really…really bad. It was painful to listen to.
The story as a whole was interesting. It had a very creepy, dark feel to it, and it also tackled some intense internal, personal realities. It’s a paranormal story about at teenage boy named Jacob who, after growing up on his grandfathers fantastical stories about fighting monsters, sees, or thinks he sees, his grandfather killed by one of the monsters from his stories. There’s an element in the story about mental health, as no one believes Jacob’s account of the ordeal. Jacob spends much of the story questioning reality and searching for the truth behind his grandfather’s fantasies.
I enjoyed this book, but I wasn’t really sold on it until I got to the last chapter, and then it all came together for me. The story is original and rather unpredictable, which I appreciate. All of the elements of the story are important, but I didn’t feel how they fit together until that last chapter, and until that chapter, I wasn’t sure if I would be continuing the series or not. But I will be picking up the sequel, Hollow City, sometime soon because I like how unpredictable the story actually was, as well as the turn the story took at the end (but I will avoid the audiobook this time around).
Have you read this book? What did you think? Loved it? Hated it? Let me know your thoughts. Happy Reading!
Regina, The Pensive Ponderer