missperegrineMiss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children has been on my tbr list for a while now – for long enough that I put it in my Official 2014 TBR Pile Challenge. I’m not sure of how I heard about it in the first place, but the idea was intriguing. I don’t know why it sat on my list for so long.

Because this is the best YA book I’ve read in quite a while. It doesn’t (quite) follow the usual Harry Potter theme, which is refreshing, and it’s well-written and original, both rare in recent YA. I should note, here, that with obvious exceptions, I tend to stay away from YA because I don’t like most of it. It seems to follow The Usual Pattern, and I often can’t identify with the characters.

One reason why I really liked this novel is that it was not what I expected. It’s about a normal kid, Jacob, who has an interesting grandfather who shows him photos from his childhood of other, peculiar, children. One levitates, one holds a boulder in one hand, and one is invisible, for instance. (And the photos are included!) Jacob doesn’t quite believe his grandfather until he arrives at the latter’s house, only to follow him into the woods. His grandfather has just been killed by some kind of evil creature-man. After Jacob tells various adults what has happened, they tell him he’s crazy, and he sees a psychiatrist, etc. Except at his next birthday, his aunt gives him a book that his grandfather had left for him, and there’s a letter inside from a Miss Peregrine to his grandfather, whose last words had been cryptic, directing him to said book and said letter, along with other vague directions. Jacob tracks her down to an island in Wales, and he convinces his dad, an aspiring ornithologist, to take him there. Once on the island, Jacob discovers that what his grandfather said was true, and Things Happen.

That’s only the beginning of the book, and the book is only the beginning of a series – which I’ll be reading. The second one, Hollow City, is already out, and I have it checked out from Overdrive to read as soon as I finish my current book. I’m really excited about where this one is going – my best guess is that a concentration camp might be involved. (And this is an example of a good book that involves the Holocaust, unlike a certain other one.) I haven’t been this enthusiastic about a YA series in a long time, so we’ll see where it goes!