As our story opens, a horrific family tragedy sets sixteen-year-old Jacob journeying to a remote island off the coast of Wales, where he discovers the crumbling ruins of Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children. As Jacob explores its abandoned bedrooms and hallways, it becomes clear that the children who once lived here—one of whom was his own grandfather—were more than just peculiar. They may have been dangerous. They may have been quarantined on a desolate island for good reason. And somehow—impossible though it seems—they may still be alive.
On the surface, Ransom Riggs' debut novel is not that much different from so many paranormal YAs that line the shelves at Barnes & Noble. It has the very traditional premise of A Boy on a Quest. A Dark Family History. Scary Monsters That Lurk in the Night. The Strange, Feisty, Beautiful Girl. But that is where the traditional aspects of this novel end. Because this book is built around history and legend and a series of surreal vintage photographs, and this is something I haven't seen in today's traditional YA. This multimedia story is rich and exciting partly because it manages to engage the reader's senses - we read about the characters, and we see the characters. We read about a setting, and we see the setting. This, added to the world-building surrounding both Wales and Miss Peregrine's orphanage, create a gorgeous, haunting novel that left me (and other readers, I'm sure) hungry for the sequel.