This book had been on my radar for quite some time but it took a friend lending me his copy to inspire me to finally read it. Told using text and vintage photographs, it's the story of Jacob, who has grown up disbelieving the creepy stories his grandfather has told him about monsters and children with special gifts. But when Jacob witnesses something scary himself and voyages to the children's home in Wales his grandfather stayed in, he soon learns that perhaps the stories weren't so far-fetched after all...
This novel was hit and miss for me. I'll start with the 'hits' - I liked the concept of the home for children with special abilities and as a fan of epistolary novels, I loved the idea of including more than just text. And for the most part, the photos worked well and did add a creepy element to the story. I thought the inclusion of the handwritten letters was a nice touch too.
Unfortunately, there were more 'misses' than 'hits'. The core problem I had was that I didn't buy the fantasy elements, especially concerning the bad guys. Whilst I appreciated the idea of the children's home being a refuge, I didn't find what they had to hide from all that creepy or well thought-out; the fantasy behind it seemed a bit shallow. I also don't see the need for this book to be part one of a series, when there was such a good opportunity for the story to be wrapped up in one novel. Why are so many YA books part of a series now? It's one of my pet peeves and also one of the key reasons I don't read much YA.
I also had a problem with some of the vintage photos. In some parts of the novel they added to the story well (when Riggs introduces the children, for example), but in others it felt as though Riggs really had to stretch the story in one direction or another to fit with the photos. It reminded me of a game we play in my class, where I give the children a series of words or images and they have to come up with a story using the prompts. It was like Riggs had done that; changed his story for the images rather than let the story tell itself.
Verdict: A mixed reading experience. I won't be hunting down the sequel.
Source: Borrowed from a friend.
First Published: 2011
Score: 2.5 out of 5
I felt the same way. I had a bit of trouble buying into the need for this to be a series and while I enjoyed parts of the book, overall there just wasn't much there. The photos were interesting, but that was about it. Thanks for the honest review!ReplyDelete
I'm glad I'm not the only one. I agree that there wasn't enough there to sustain a series.Delete
I haven't read this yet,but I won't hurry out to get it after reading your review. Sorry this one didn't work for you, Sam!ReplyDelete
And judging by the other comments, I'm not the only one who didn't enjoy it. It's a shame because I did like the concept of the book, just not the execution.Delete
Yes, I had mixed feelings too. I thought it had great potential at the beginning but then it just got to be too YA for me. It was an enjoyable fantasy story but I won't be reading any sequels.ReplyDelete
'Too YA' - maybe this was the problem for me, too. I don't read much YA, I have nothing against the genre but I don't seem to enjoy YA books when I actually read them. The romance in it felt very YA and very unnecessary.Delete
So many mixed reactions to this book... don't think I'll rush to read it any time soon. Thanks for sharing your thoughts.ReplyDelete
I am quite surprised that so many people agree with me because most of the other reviews I have seen have been largely positive. Maybe it's because not many of us are regular YA readers?Delete
This is about exactly how I felt about this book. I felt like it kept veering off into places that had no relevance to the plot just for the sake of a picture. Like a round robin story, only with picture prompts instead of multiple authors. I was very disappointed, and really wish it wasn't a series.ReplyDelete
The pictures were good, but I think Riggs should have stuck to the ones at the beginning of the story, that introduced the reader to the children. Good on him for trying something new though.Delete
I was really excited about this one when it first came out, and I was bound and determined to purchase it to add to my collection. BUT, when I did a quick run through it at the book store, I felt much the same as you mentioned here. Ended up not buying it, but I'll try it from the library one day.ReplyDelete
I was excited too, and it was only lack of funds that stopped me purchasing it straight away. I'm glad now that it wasn't my own copy that disappointed me!Delete
A shame you didn't think more of it - it seems it had a lot of potential that just didn't quite pan outReplyDelete
Thanks for sharing your review
Shelleyrae @ Book'd Out
There was a lot of potential. Maybe the sequel will be more successful as the author is more experienced?Delete
I completely agree with you; I didn't like the fantastical elements either. Like you, I will most likely skip the sequel as well. Here is a link to my review: http://elle-lit.blogspot.com/2011/07/book-review-miss-peregrines-home-for.htmlReplyDelete
Thanks for linking to your review, off to have a read!Delete
I like to see a different view of this book which has had such positive reviews on blogs.ReplyDelete
I thought I was going to be in the minority posting this review but it turns out that some people felt the same as me. I think maybe it's because I don't read much YA, regular YA readers would probably enjoy it more.Delete
I just saw this book mentioned on John Green's vlog, but I haven't read it. He said that it was very different. After reading your review, I think I'll skip this one.ReplyDelete
It is different Kate, and the concept is a good one. Unfortunately the execution just didn't work for me.Delete
I am intrigued by this one, and yet not sure I really want to read it...seen mixed reviews. Thanks for your honest and balanced review.ReplyDelete
It's a good one to try if your library system has a copy if you are intrigued by it. There are plenty of positive reviews out there for it...Delete
I haven't read a lot of YA, either. I'm not a fan of the series thing sine Anne Rice's titles in the 90s.ReplyDelete
The only series I have ever truly loved are Harry Potter, Malorie Blackman's Checkmated series and His Dark Materials by Philip Pullman. And all of those I loved as a teen. Maybe I am too old for it now?Delete
It seems to be a peculiar book. But I am glad that read your review, becuase I was pondering whether to buy this book or not. Now I can wait till there is a copy at hand at the library.ReplyDelete
I've seen this one out and about but didn't know anything about the premise. It seems interesting, but I've realized recently that I'm not a huge fan of mixed mediums. I think I'll take your advice and skip it. And I totally agree with the series situation in YA stuff these days... it really worked with Harry Potter and The Hunger Games, but these characters were growing throughout. I find that some authors fail to address that and create these static characters even though time is progressing.ReplyDelete
I've always found the concept of pictures in this book intriguing, but your review has taught me to lower my expectations a bit. It does seems like a bit of a stretch that every picture in the book will flow seamlessly with the narrative. Great review. :)ReplyDelete
This is a book I keep hearing about, I am intrigued, but I have yet to see a copy. Only just saw your post, offline for a week so now catching up.ReplyDelete
I thought it brilliant to incorporate the photos as a part of telling the story and have been meaning to read it. It is a shame that this one didn't work out to well for you. Thank you for your thoughts.ReplyDelete