What Hooked Me?—Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children

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Jess: An Unusual Situation

An unusual situation is key to introducing an intriguing character while also beginning with action. The  unusual situation is not the main event that changes the main character’s world. It is often ordinary, yet surprising. It sparks curiosity and I think Ransom Riggs utilized an unusual situation well. Jacob builds a 1/10,000-scale replica of the Empire State Building from boxes of adult diapers; the wrong brand. It’s a perfect way to show through action, who the main character is. Jacob is a spoiled brat who is trying to get fired, yet he cares deeply for his grandfather. No one else in the family seems to get grandpa, but him and he goes to great lengths because of this love. He’s a flawed character that shows moral strength through love and loyalty. I was hooked as a reader and a kindred spirit of my own grandmother.

John: A Promise of Wonder

Many of those who have read and commented on the book on Amazon, Goodreads, or other sites have stated that what immediately drew them to the book were the pictures. This idea makes sense since the book was first pitched as a picture book and only turned into a novel after the encouragement of the editor. And while I’ll admit the cover pulled me in, it was just as much the title, and this serves as an example of how a book sometimes can benefit from being judged by its cover. The first third of the book only hints at the magic that is to come–no school, no peculiar children–just a mention of a monster, some family intrigue, and, of course, some really cool photos. Now, because we know that those photos have to do with a school, and we know the school has a magical mystique to it, we continue to read in earnest in order to uncover the mystery. Riggs talent lies in his ability to hold us off, so to speak, and keep us interested until we can get to the payoff that the cover promised.

Megan: Unique abilities, and metaphorical tie-ins

Well, okay, that’s two things. But I think what really attracted me to this story was the idea of our perception of unique abilities, and how they would be accepted in society. Miss Peregrine shelters a group of very talented and jaw-dropping individuals. At first you might say that this would be boring for these children, living a sheltered life. Who would want to hide such talent? But what I loved about this story from the get-go is how it tied into real life. In a world where we are seemingly obsessed with superheroes and supernatural powers, we actually have low tolerance for people who don’t “fit in.” Whether someone is unique in his or her intelligence or different because of his or her  background, we are actually threatened by the truly gifted, and I loved that this book brought that out in such a metaphorical setting. Tying Grandpa’s World War II experience was a great way to set the tone, and then the story fed this theme throughout.

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  1. The Benefit of Judging a book by its Cover | Whats Write About This - […] of Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children, I wanted to expound on the point I made in the group post…

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