Spooky! Scary!, Young Adult

The bog down in the valley-o

Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs

The Skinny: Jacob grew up with his grandfather’s stories of the children he grew up with on the tiny, remote island in Wales. To Jacob, they were just stories; to his grandfather, they were memories. When a horrific attack kills his grandfather, Jacob is thrown into his grandfather’s mysterious past and, at the encouragement of his therapist, sets off to the island where Miss Peregrine’s Home is. Upon his arrival he finds a decimated house, destroyed during a bombing of the island during World War II, that once was Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children. But when he follows a strange girl into a cave he comes out into an even stranger world – the world his grandfather lived once lived in. With the help of his new friends, peculiar children with astonishing abilities, he discovers the truths about not only his grandfather’s secret past but about himself.

BFF?: I loved Jacob. I don’t know if I’d want to be his BFF or his girlfriend, but either way, I loved him. He was this great mix of kindness and caring and laziness and smart-aleck. I don’t read nearly enough books written from the point of view of boys, so it was a nice change of pace to see how the inner mind of a boy works.

Readability: This was a very easy read while at the same time being elegant and very well-written. The language of it is comfortable, makes you feel at home with it, before scaring the bejeezus out of you. The two worlds – present day and the past – are vividly described; there were times when I felt so drawn into both of the worlds that I was amazed to remember I was actually in my bedroom.

Crush Level: 5
I might have developed this tiny crush on Jacob… You know, the way that you might crush on one of your guy friends? He was just awkwardly sweet sometimes, unsure of himself and a little bit of a mess. But then he got brave and daring… heroic even… while still maintaining that sense of awkward teenage boy-ness.

Bonus Points:
Creepy House

When Jacob first discovers the dilapidated Miss Peregrine’s and begins to explore it, I got the shivers. There’s this game that I once played, Return to Ravenhearst, and the combination of the creepy scenes and music made me really terrified. That was the feeling I got when reading this part of the book.

Real Photos

All throughout the book photos are mentioned and, best of all, THEY ACTUALLY APPEAR! At first I thought they were probably photos the writer or someone staged and developed onto black and white film. Nope! At the back of the book it lists all the contributors of the photos and tells about them. How cool is that?

Wales

I honestly know nothing about Wales but for some reason have this strong, strong urge to go there. Jacob travels to Wales and to this island where there’s only 1 room for rent, generators that power the island (and shut down at 10 pm), and only 1 phone on the entire island. While teenage me would have found this horrible, grown up me thinks this sounds like an amazing place to visit. Mostly so I can escape all my emails. 

Special Powers

The peculiar children who live on the island aren’t really what you might think at first. They’ve all got special powers or talents that are, well, peculiar. Not to get all spoilery on you, but this isn’t just your typical “Oh, I can read minds” Twilight special powers – this is some cuhraaaaazy shizz.

Refugee Children

Miss Peregrine’s was essentially a home for refugee children – of course, no one knew that the refugees were peculiars. Jacob’s father was actually a Jew during WWII, so he was seeking refuge from the Nazis. I found it interesting that everyone thought his stories about the peculiar children were made up as a way to cope with his past but in reality the stories were actually true.

Commencement Speech: I have been WAITING to read this book for like… forever. Or… just as long as I’ve heard about it. Either way. It had such a cool premise, a grandfather’s crazy stories about these strange children that lived on an island.

Boy, was this premise wrong. This book took a complete turn way out in left field and kept on taking turns, leading me who knows where. And I mean this in the very best way possible. Usually with most books you can see a somewhat familiar path, even if a lot of it is covered by trees and bushes and debris. This one was like a path in a labyrinth… you think you’re going the right way until you hit a dead end wall and have to go another. What starts out as one story turns into something much more spectacular, keeping you guessing and being both amazed and horrified until the very end.

Yearbook Quote: “I didn’t know you could fry toast,” I remarked, to which Kev replied that there wasn’t a food he was aware of that couldn’t be improved by frying.

(apparently the Welsh are akin to us southerners)

Superlatives – Most Likely to Give You the Good Kind of Shivers

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7 thoughts on “The bog down in the valley-o”

  1. Oh boy, I am so sorry to admit that this was a DNF for me. I started reading it when I was home alone one night, got way too creeped out, and ended up taking it back to the library. Yes, I am a scaredy cat. All of those fun bonus factors are making me regret my decision, but for now… Miss Peregrine and I are just not meant to be!

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    1. It was DEFINITELY creepy! I’m a total chicken when it comes to scary movies or TV shows but I love scary books. I liked this one because while it did have a creepiness factor it wasn’t suspenseful scary. It was more of the setting that gave me the creeps! I hope one day you’ll give it another try – perhaps in the daylight? – but if not, I totally understand! 🙂

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  2. I still need to read this book – just waiting to be in the right mood for it I guess. It does seem so creative and different. You do make it sound really interesting and especially with all the twists and the surprises you mention.

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