Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children

Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar ChildrenBook Review by Grace Heine

Title: Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children
Written by: Ransom Riggs
Genre: Fantasy – Horror
Publisher: Quirk Books
Publication Date: June 11, 2011
Paperback: 352 pages

(W)e weren’t like other people. We were peculiar.”
“Peculiar how?”
“Oh, all sorts of ways,” he said. “There was a girl who could fly, a boy who had bees living inside him, a brother and sister who could lift boulders over their heads.” (page 14)

Jacob Portman’s life was ordinary until he found his grandfather laying in a pool of blood. In his grandfather’s dying breaths he tells Jacob to “Find the bird. In the loop.” When Jacob looks up he sees a hideous creature so terrible and strange no one he tells believes it was real. That summer, with the okay of his new therapist, Jacob and his father travel to Cairnholm, the English island where Jacob’s grandfather spent a few of his childhood summers. Once on the island, Jacob finds out that there is much more to his grandfather’s past than the stories he’s been told. The home where his grandfather was sent as a child during World War Two had been bombed almost fifty years previous, and everyone in the island town tells Jacob all the children and the home’s caretaker died. But Jacob has proof that they are still alive – all he needs to do is find them.

Well that escalated quickly.

There’s a kid building diaper-box-towers at Smart Aid and then BOOM there’s blood, guts, and horror. (Oh my!)

We travel with Jacob and his father to a secluded British Island and there we are met by children with unearthly powers, creatures with multiple tongues, silvery pupil-less eyes, and immortal bodies, and there’s enough blood spilled in this book to print every copy of Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children.

People and animals are murdered in gruesome ways, and some of the Particular children’s “gifts” are disturbing. (A boy puts mouse hearts inside clay soldiers and they come to life. The boy then breaks some of them open and the dolls are terrified of this. A girl has teeth in the back of her head.)

Also, on a less gruesome note, I was annoyed that I saw one of the plot twists coming from a mile away – but not every book is perfect.

In defense of this book:

I liked the plot of Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children. It was an interesting take on the usual “person enters a magical world” trope. The concept of Time Loops intrigued me and I love that most of the book is set on an island.

Actually, I just plain like books set on islands. (This fascination ranges from Ten Little Indians by Agatha Christie, to The Island of the Blue Dolphins by Scott O’Dell, to The Lost World by Michael Crichton, to any book set in Australia.)

I also liked how the book used authentic black and white photographs to help tell the story. (Although, some of them are extremely disturbing.)

I just wish there hadn’t been so much gore.

I recommend this book to anyone who enjoys the horror genre and doesn’t get nightmares easily. (Which is not me.)

For More Information about the Book and Author:


Age Range: 15 and up

Cautions –

Violence: Blood. There’s a lot of blood. Vivid descriptions of hollowgasts, and wights. A man is killed and his insides eaten – we get a description of the body. Sheep are killed and later when Jacob finds himself in the place where they died he describes the blood. A boy collects mouse and sheep hearts as well as other organs. There are disturbing authentic black and white photographs that coincide with the story. There was so much nightmarish violence in this book that I skimmed and/or completely skipped certain sections not to mention I avoided the pictures whenever I could. I will admit I’m squeamish but this book took things too far.

Sensuality: Jacob and Emma kiss several times and Jacob strips down to his underwear to go swimming with her. We hear of two peculiars kissing in the garden. Jacob’s dad thinks Grandpa Portman was having an affair.

Profanity: Some. (I’ve read books with more cursing than this one but it has far too many curse words for a Juvenile book.) (Sorry that this so vague. This is one of my first reviews and, at the time, I didn’t think it was necessary to write down exact curse words.)

Other (drugs/alcohol): Jacob’s dad drinks a lot, and he and Jacob stay at Cairnholm in the upstairs of a bar. Jacob lies to his dad. Some of the Peculiar’s powers seem like magic. Jacob’s parents are thinking of getting a divorce (or at least Jacob’s dad thinks it will happen). Some of the Particulars sneak away from the house when they are told to stay inside. We are told that the Particulars occasionally “Raid the Town” on the island and destroy everything. (However, they aren’t allowed to kill anyone and they don’t do it in the book).

Personal Rating: 2 out of 5 stars
Cleanness Rating: 2 ½ out of 5 stars

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Grace Heine is a 17-year-old wanna be writer who spends most of her time reading, writing, playing piano, or finding clever ways to be unproductive. You can visit her book review blog here.

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