Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children is one of the best modern children books I have read for a while. It is creepy (although as the book moves on it is less creepy and more action oriented.) Tim Burton has optioned the book’s movie rights and screen writer for X-men First Class has been hired to adapt the story. If you like Tim Burton’s particularly Gothic, creepy style, this book seems like it was written particularly for him.
Jacob’s grandfather Abe has always been an odd man. Abe escaped out of from Czechoslovakia as a Jew at the beginning of World War II. He spent time on an island off of Wales in a orphanage before joining the army to fight. Later he moved to the United States and settled down and married and had children. Abe was always a distant man, except with his grandson Jacob. With Jacob he told many fanciful stories of his time at the orphanage with Miss Peregrine as head mistress.
Eventually Jacob stopped believing in the tall tales that he grandfather told and the odd pictures that he Abe showed him, but Jacob always was close to Abe. When Jacob finds his grandfather dead in the woods behind his home, Jacob is lost. He spends months withdrawing into himself and way from everyone else. Eventually, with the consent of his psychologist, Jacob and his father travel to the island where the orphanage was in order to find answers about Abe’s life and see if Jacob can find himself at the same time.
There is some complaints in other reviews about the slow beginning but that is actually the part I liked the best. The build up and creepy story lead to a realization and once that is revealed it is more of an action story. The ending is a clear cliffhanger that eventually will become a series of other books. (The second book, Hollow City, has been released.)
In spite of the fact that I was less interested in the action than I was in the build-up, the book was very good, definitely among my favorite fiction books for 2011. The book trailer (which I didn’t see before the I read the book) gives you a good sense of what is going on. This is a book that I would not read reviews of or look too deeply into before you read it.