This month I’m partnering up with Lauren from bookmarklit for Book Buddies, an every-other month feature where Lauren and I will choose a themed read to buddy read and then get together and discuss the things that stand out! You can see both of our opinions and discussions in the conversation review format, and it will be posted on the last Wednesday of the month! This month’s read was Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children in honor of Halloween in just a few days! This is the second half our discussion, to read the first part of our thoughts, check out Lauren’s Book Buddies post here!
My rating: 3/5 Stars
Publisher: Quirk (2011)
Length: 352 pgs
Genre: Young Adult Paranormal/Historical Fiction
Series: Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children
Format: Hardcover, received as a gift
Goodreads Summary: A mysterious island. An abandoned orphanage. A strange collection of very curious photographs.
It all waits to be discovered in Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children, an unforgettable novel that mixes fiction and photography in a thrilling reading experience. As our story opens, 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.
Read the second half of our discussion below!
Warning: There are some mild spoilers in this discussion, nothing large enough to ruin the book but major themes and plot points may be touched on!
Cristina: Oh yes Olive! I felt bad for her in her poor metal shoes though that kept her weighted to the ground…while the kids had all of these cool abilities, I think they were also really countered by the abuse that’s hinted at that most of them suffered in their own homes before Miss Peregrine managed to find them. I think a lot of the lightness of this book is counterbalanced with darker themes, whether it be the war, questions and assumptions about mental health, abuse, death and grieving, etc
Lauren: Absolutely. It was cool that they all had ways to use their abilities and help out around the orphanage or entertain themselves. I felt terrible for so many characters in this book! Overall it is quite depressing when you think about it. I think a lot of the book was lighter and entertaining, but most of it was dark. I liked that there was a good mix. I didn’t feel like I was reading a sad book at the time.
Cristina: I think the heavier themes didn’t overwhelm the reading experience, but definitely make you think after finishing the book and letting it all sink in. Another thing that really, really stood out to me about the novel was the writing style. The prose was really sophisticated and there was a lot more unique vocabulary words and such, and the tone felt kind of “formal.” At first it was a little jarring (because that’s not often the norm in YA) but I think it worked well in this book because it gave the tone of the book a formality you’d expect from children who are near-centuries old and reflects the mannerisms of proper characters like Miss Peregrine.
Lauren: Yes! Exactly. What a great job he did of reflecting the times while still making it pretty accessible.The darker themes took some time to sink in.
Cristina: Yeah, the dialogue of the peculiar children was really believable and balanced with those from the 21st century. What did you think of the book ending on a cliffhanger?
Lauren: I wasn’t expecting that honestly. I knew there was a second book but I was kind of caught off guard by where it ended. I’m glad the second book is out now, though! I’m definitely interested in seeing what happens next but I think it was a little crazy what Jacob decided to do, without giving too much away.
Cristina: I was really surprised by his decision too, but I think again it’s a parallel to his grandfather’s decision. Jacob is sort of like a mirror-image or doppelganger of his grandfather in the peculiar world, and it will be interesting to see how consumed he becomes by attempting to fill his grandfather’s role vs finding his own self as a character…another thing that was great about this book, that Ransom Riggs incorporated so many deeper themes and questions like this!
Lauren: Exactly! It was a major contrast to Jacob’s father. He tried connecting to his own dad and couldn’t. He was definitely jealous of the relationship Jacob had with his father, because he never had that opportunity. Jacob really was trying to fill in his grandfather’s shoes – in more ways than one. He really wasn’t characterized at all beyond the connection between him and his grandfather, which I thought was interesting. I hope he finds himself a little more in the next book.
Cristina: I think that will be my favorite part of Hollow City, really seeing what Jacob brings to the plot not as a grandson but as a protagonist.
Lauren: Definitely. I think generally we both seemed to like the book and be pleasantly surprised by what it was actually about, but what are some things you didn’t like as much or had issues with? I’ve rated this one with four stars because it managed to surprised me in a good way and keep me really entertained. The main thing I didn’t like was the lack of character development, like we discussed.
Cristina: While I enjoyed it and it surprised me in a lot of ways, I gave it more of a three star rating because I felt like it was hard to connect with the characters (from a lack of character development) but also because it took me a while to really get into it. It’s nice to go into a book and be surprised but I think for the first 100+ pages I was so thrown and had no idea where it was going that I wasn’t as actively engaged as I could have been.
Lauren: I understand that. I’m surprised I ended up enjoying it as much as I did. I will definitely be checking out the next book sometime in the near future! This was a great Halloween read that wasn’t too scary..just a little eerie and creepy in the right places!
Cristina: It has a little bit of everything in it, and I think it’s a book that will appeal to readers who may be looking for or favor very different things!
Lauren: Totally agree! Also, I heard that this is going to soon be made as a Tim Burton movie — That’s got to be the most perfect person on earth to make this book into a movie!
Cristina: I heard that too! I think the movie has the potential to have a really FANTASTIC soundtrack which can really lend to the atmosphere of the book!
Cristina: Also, plot driven books are great for movies since there’s less character nuances you have to worry about translating to the screen.
Lauren: Oh my god I know that’s going to be awesome. I can picture it now. So true about the characters – it’s so focused on plot that it’ll be really great for a movie adaptation. Too bad we’re on opposite coasts, otherwise we totally would need to meet up to see it! Haha
Cristina: We could always do a follow up post after we both see it and discuss our reactions!
Lauren: So true! Okay, one last thing before we go, if you could describe the book in one word, what would you pick?!
Lauren: Good one. I would probably say Unique!
You can find part one of our discussion over at Lauren’s blog here.