Okay, the strong suit in this book is by far Jacob Portman. Sixteen-year-old Jacob is one of the most comical narrative voices I’ve read in a very long time. He’s smart, awkward and unapologetically honest.
For example: “I did love her, of course, but mostly just because loving our mom is mandatory, not because she was someone I think I’d like very much if I met her walking down the street. Which she wouldn’t be, anyway; walking is for poor people.”
The story heats up when Jacob’s seemingly crazy grandfather, Abe, dies in a freak accident – at night, in the woods, clawed to death. Jacob finds Abe face down in the mud and with his final breath Abe whispers some kind of cryptic message. Investigators attribute Abe’s death to the work of a pack of wild, man-eating dogs, a theory Jacob protests after having seen something much scarier in the brush that night.
The message leads Jacob on a trip to a remote island off the coast of Wales in a last-ditch attempt to find his grandfather’s murderer and uncover his mysterious past.
Long story short: Jacob tracks down the abandoned boarding school where his grandfather grew up as an orphan, stumbles (surprise!) through a portal to the year 1940, when the orphanage was still up and running. He meets the peculiar students who also lived with his grandfather, all with extraordinary talents.
Jacob finds himself at a crossroad: Does he return to his mundane adolescence in suburban Florida, or does he remain in 1940 Wales and relinquish the life he once knew?
I wanted to love this book and I got through it quickly but…it was just all too familiar. A bunch of orphans on a remote island, stuck in a loop of time in which they don’t age? Peter Pan. The boarding students have extraordinary powers that set them apart from society? X-Men.
While Jacob’s sass was appreciated, it was all a bit been-there-done-that for me. Highly recommended for younger readers though!
Book: Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children
Author: Ransom Riggs
Type: Witty teenager encounters an X-Men-meets-Peter-Pan world.