Ransom Riggs, Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children covers many different genres. It is a mystery, adventure, fairy-tale, fantasy, historical-fiction, and science fiction. In this book, he touches on WWII, mental illness, monster hunting, time travel, and shape shifting. One might think that no author could cover so much and still do a story justice, but Ransom Riggs does just that. His story is complex and well written. I was sucked into this book from the beginning.
I have to give a disclaimer at this point because the first part of the story has swear words and contains a reference to oral sex.. By the middle of the book, Riggs tones down the swearing, which was nice. Many of my seventh and eighth grade students recommended this book to me, so I wish he had realized that his writing was strong enough to carry the story without resorting to crudity. There are two other books in this series that I have not read yet, so I am unable to say if they also have swearing or crudity.
At the beginning of this story, I wondered which direction the story would go. Riggs kept me guessing for a while - but in a good way. And then, once Jacob makes it to the remote island, I was reminded of one of my favorite books, The Wicked Pigeon Ladies in the Garden by Mary Chase. The magic of this story really comes alive on the island.
Jacob is a great main character. He is strong yet not perfect. He is brave but sometimes makes wrong choices. He is loyal to his grandfather's memory even when his own father is somewhat of a jerk towards him. Jacob grows during the story and becomes even more interesting. I loved the children at the school. They are well written, and I cared what happened to them. I found myself wanting them to win.
The pictures in the book add to the eerie creepiness of the story and also make the book more interesting and easier to read. They are said to be authentic photos from the time period with minimal photo shopping. The Lexile of this book is 890, so it is accessible to most students. The format of the book is absolutely beautiful and creepy. The chapter breaks make for easy stopping places if you can bring yourself to put the book down.
I look forward to reading the next book in this series and hope I enjoy it as much as I did this one. Have you read this series? What did you think of it?