✰✰✰✰½ Ransom Riggs masterfully weaves together the strange tale of an abandoned orphanage on a mysterious island with a collection of peculiar vintage photographs.
As a boy Jacob "Jake" Portman's grandfather used to show him fantastical photos of kids doing extraordinary things. The stories his grandfather told of the photos were like fairy tales to Jake. But as Jake grows up he becomes disillusioned his grandfather's ramblings.
All that changes when Jake finds his grandfather after he has been attacked. As he lies dying he whispers, "Find the bird. In the loop. On the other side of the old man's grave. September 3, 1940." Jake has no idea what those words mean, but after his grandfather's horrific death, he is plagued by the type of nightmares that make one scream. In an effort to try to make sense of his dreams and his grandfather's last request, Jake convinces his parents to let him visit the remote island off the coast of Wales where his grandfather once lived before World War II.
Once there Jake explores an abandoned orphanage, where he comes face to face with some of the mysteries from his grandfather's life. Jake's search to make sense of his grandfather's last words becomes an adventure you won't easily forget.
The Bottom Line: Ransom Riggs' first novel is hauntingly beautiful and deliciously creepy. It will draw you in and leave you wanting more. The text and photographs work fascinatingly well together in this strange coming-of-age story featuring friendship, the supernatural, and time travel. Very highly recommended for both young adults and adults looking for something a little bit different to read.
Details: Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs. Hardcover published by Quirk Books in 2011. 352 p. ISBN: 978-1-59474-476-1