Middle school students have reading interests that run the gamut from Diary of a Wimpy Kid to Twilight. Sometimes as a parent it is hard to know what is age appropriate for your child. Through this blog, I will try to help parents make informed decisions about what is available in our library. I am hoping that this blog will be a resource for our parents, and that we can all work together to make our students life-long readers!

Thursday, November 17, 2016

Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children

Miss Peregrine's Home 
for Peculiar Children
by Ransom Riggs
From the publisher:
"A mysterious island. An abandoned orphanage. A strange collection of curious photographs.

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 were more than just peculiar. They may have been dangerous. They may have been quarantined on a deserted island for good reason. And somehow—impossible though it seems—they may still be alive.

A spine-tingling fantasy illustrated with haunting vintage photography, Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children will delight adults, teens, and anyone who relishes an adventure in the shadows."

This book always looked way too creepy for me. However, many of my students love this series, so I thought I would see what I was missing. It was not that creepy - it was gory and violent at times, but not necessarily weird or creepy. Okay, maybe it was weird and a little creepy. All in all it was reasonably gripping and exciting. I thought it was an interesting premise, but sometimes it felt very disjointed. When I got to the end of the book and saw the pictures from the movie, I couldn't remember anything about the twins. I remembered their picture, but couldn't remember their names or what they did. Sometimes it felt like the author just wanted to use one of his old, creepy pictures so he threw in a character and then forgot about them. (And speaking of the movie..... Emma is the levitating girl and Olive has the fire?! Why?) 
There were other things that bothered me about this one as well. The whole romance-with-your-grandfather's-soul-mate thing was kind of yucky. You'll have to read it to understand, but I was disturbed by it. There was some pretty gruesome violence. And I never felt completely connected to the characters. I thought Jacob was obnoxious at the beginning, and it never really explained the reasons for that. And why did he have no friends? I didn't feel like that was explained either, just used and made necessary so he wouldn't care about leaving. 
However, it is imaginative, I loved the setting and I loved the time-loop concept. I can see why the kids seem to love it.

Areas of concern:
*Around 50 uses of cussing and/or vulgarities (depending on whether you're a Yank or a Brit).
*Already stated gruesome violence (disgusting monsters who eviscerate and eat sheep and a couple of the characters in the book - among other things).
*Weird romance which involves kissing. (The boy is 16 and the girl is something like 83 but is stuck in a time-loop at age 16. When she was really 16, she was in love with the boy's grandfather.)
*Trusted adults either acting like idiots or villains. 

Suggested Ages:
Publisher's Weekly - Ages 12+
School Library Journal - Grades 8+

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