Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children :: Peculiar…in a Good Way

Ever since Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children first hit stores, I’ve been dying to read it. The book is based around a collection of creepy old photos, many of which depict children with preternatural abilities. I read a lot of reviews on this book prior to reading it, and they weren’t all positive. I’m a little confused about this because I thought the story was fantastic. The old photos were a nice touch, but  the story itself was solid and written well for a teen audience. I wouldn’t call the book scary. Creepy, perhaps, but more adventurous than anything.

The story follows Jacob, who’s been listening to his grandfather’s far-fetched stories for years – tales of his so-called “friends” who are a little more than human. He even has the photos to prove it. But Jacob and his parents have always assumed his stories were just that – stories – until he became more certain of their authenticity in his old age. Jacob’s parents chalked it down to senility and dementia.

One day, his grandfather calls Jacob, insisting that the monsters are coming for him. When Jacob shows up at his house and discovers his shredded corpse, he gains a new perspective on everything his grandfather told him. Maybe he was telling the truth all along.

While recovering from his grandfather’s death with rest and therapy, Jacob discovers an old letter written to his grandfather from Miss Peregrine. Jacob decides to follow the clues whispered to him during the last moments of his grandfather’s life. He and his dad travel halfway across the world to a remote island where Miss Peregrine and her children are rumoured to live.

Jacob investigates the island, only to come across an old, decrepit house, half of it bombed to bits, the other half fallen to ruin. While searching the rotting house, Jacob encounters the very kids from his grandfather’s photos – kids who haven’t grown a day in all these years. One girl unwittingly leads him into the loop – a day trapped in time like Groundhog Day. It’s an early September day in 1940, the day before the house would be bombed and the children killed. All of the miraculous kids, along with Miss Peregrine, are destined to repeat the same day for the rest of their lives.

Jacob connects with these kids better than anyone else in his life. He’s torn between the decision to stay with his new friends or go back to his normal friendless life. But when a mysterious stranger arrives on the island, threatening the lives of all the children and their caretaker, Jacob realizes that a normal life is no longer an option.

Teen Science Fiction Trend: Out With The Vampires, In With The Post-Apocalyptic and Dystopian Sci-fi

Thanks to Stephenie Meyer’s Twilight series, teens (and adults who read teen books as a guilty pleasure–like myself) had to spend years drowning in the vampire phenomenon. And just when the stories started becoming far too repetitive, authors expanded to other paranormal creatures like werewolves, ghosts, faeries and so on.

Finally–finally–teen fiction is moving away from this overdone trend, and letting the kids of the vampire generation experience a genre of possibility–post-apocalyptic science fiction. So far there seems to be a common thread among those published already; the future will have a more structured and strict government, technology won’t be completely eradicated, and many people–namely the poor–will live a more primitive lifestyle.

The birth of this sci-fi trend began in 2008, but didn’t really show promise until 2010. Here are some of the best teen science fiction series so far:

I’m sure there are many more to come in this genre. In the mean time, if you’ve ready read this list of books, why not return to the classics like Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card, The Chrysalids by John Wyndham, The Day of the Triffids by John Wyndham and The Giver by Lois Lowry.