Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Juliet Immortal Book Review

Author: Stacey Jay. Release date: 2011. Publisher:  Delacorte Books for Young Readers. ISBN: 9780385740166.

Annotation:  Everyone knows her story – Juliet Capulet falls in love with Romeo Montague and the two are married, only to have things end tragically in suicide. What everyone doesn’t know is that this story is a lie.        
Personal thoughts:  I really like the concept of making Romeo and Juliet enemies, so I was very enthusiastic about reading this novel. I have to say that my enjoyment of it didn’t really live up to my expectations, although it was an interesting novel. I got a little lost in all of the fantasy/mythology of the Mercenaries and Ambassadors, and that really got in the way of the feud between the two “lovers” for me. I hope that Jay improves upon this in the second novel.
 Plot summary: The tragic story of Romeo and Juliet has been known for centuries as the ultimate romance. Romeo and Juliet, born to rivaling families, fall in love, only to have their short marriage abruptly end in a double suicide. What is not known is that this story is a lie. Juliet Capulet did not commit suicide to be with her Romeo. Romeo murdered Juliet in cold blood, sacrificing his true love to become a member of the Mercenaries, a dark group of immortals who seek to keep soul mates apart. What Romeo doesn’t expect is for Juliet to become an Ambassador of Light, beings who work to bring soul mates together, keeping them out of the clutches of the Mercenaries. Now, for seven hundred years, Juliet inhabits the bodies of the living, ensuring that no one else falls victim to the fate she endured at the hands of her “true love.” Romeo is relentless in his quest to destroy Juliet once and for all, and when the two emerge in the bodies of Ariel and Dylan, high school seniors in Solvang, California, it seems that Juliet will have one last chance to rid the world of Romeo once and for all. Determined to put an end to their eternal battle, Juliet is not prepared when she meets Ben, a kind and handsome boy at her high school who seems to see beyond her borrowed exterior into her true soul.
Review: Veteran teen author Stacey Jay brings a new take to the timeless Shakespeare tale in Juliet Immortal. Arguably the most interesting part of the novel is the premise: Romeo and Juliet was a fabrication, Romeo actually killed Juliet and the two have spent centuries battling it out on opposites sides in the war of love. The concept of the two inhabiting bodies is also interesting, though not explained thoroughly (Romeo can inhabit dead flesh, but Juliet can only borrow bodies of the living, tapping into the person’s memories to behave as they would.) Also somewhat convoluted is the whole purpose of their eternal battle and the mysterious Mercenaries and Ambassadors that employ them. It seems that Romeo wants to cause soul mates to murder one another, while Juliet wants to ensure they fall in love completely, thus keeping them out of the clutches of the Mercenaries. How this works, exactly, seems to change throughout the novel, making for a somewhat confusing storyline. There are positives, however, that do make up for the shortcomings in the plot. Juliet is an engaging lead character and Romeo is an intriguing antagonist. Ben, Juliet’s earthly love interest, is very likable, and his role in the story proves to be the most interesting. Since Juliet Immortal is the first novel in a two-part series, Jay will hopefully expand upon the plot from the first book, giving the reader a better idea of what exactly is going on. The potential in the series is large enough to warrant reading this novel, and giving the second one a try as well.
Genre: Romance/Science-Fiction
Reading level: Grade 7+

Similar titles: Starcrossed by Josephine Angelini.  
Themes:  Romeo and Juliet, Shakespeare, betrayal, love, soul mates.      
Awards/Reviews:  N/A
Series Information: First novel in two-part series.    
Discussion questions: 
- Have you read Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet? If so, do you like Stacey Jay’s use of the characters in her novel?
- Do you believe in soul mates? Why or why not?
- What do you think is the purpose of the Mercenaries? The Ambassadors?
- Why do you think Ariel and her mother have such a strained relationship?
-  Do you think Gemma is a good friend? Have you ever had a friend like Gemma?
- Can you think of some other alternate versions of Romeo and Juliet that you would like to see made into a novel?

Monday, August 29, 2011

The Power of Six Book Review

Author: Pittacus Lore. Release date: 2011. Publisher:  HarperCollins. ISBN: 9780061974557.
Annotation:  John, Sam and Number Six are on the run after surviving the Mogadorian attack in Paradise.  Unsure of what the future holds, they desperately try to evade their enemies, and the authorities, while uncovering more of the secrets in their past on Lorien. Meanwhile, in Santa Teresa, Spain, Number Seven, a girl named Marina, must cope with an oppressive life in a Catholic orphanage, a life her guardian seems to have no desire to leave.       
Personal thoughts:  I have to admit, I almost didn’t want to read this book after being disappointed in the mediocre film adaptation of I Am Number Four. I know there is a whole backstory about the authors behind the series and how it was sort of “bred” to be made into a commercial franchise. I am happy that these thoughts didn’t stop me from picking up The Power of Six because I was very engrossed from start to finish. The novel is truly entertaining and surpasses I Am Number Four in many ways.  Perhaps it was the absence of the sappy romance between John and Sarah and, in its place, the perpetually butt-kicking Number Six. Perhaps it was the non-stop action and the constant forward motion of the plot. Whatever the cause, The Power of Six is a fun page-turner, and I will be certain to pick up the third installment in the series with gumption!
Plot summary: After Henri’s death and their narrow escape of the vicious Mogadorian attack in Paradise, John, or Number Four, his best friend Sam, Number Six and Bernie Kosar flee Ohio and go into hiding. Meanwhile in the small village of Santa Teresa, Spain, Number Seven, a seventeen-year-old girl named Marina, is stuck in an oppressive life in a Catholic orphanage. Her Cêpan, Adelina, seems to have forgotten about their mission to remain hidden as Marina’s Legacies develop, and Marina is left to discover her powers on her own. Looking for news of the other nine Loric children, Marina is constantly scanning the internet for unusual news stories that might point to their existence. She is shocked to learn about John, now deemed an international terrorist accused of destroying the high school in Paradise himself, and is convinced that he is a member of the Garde like her. Marina is also consumed by visions of a raven haired girl with extraordinary powers, someone who she has never met but who she knows plays an important part in her future. Back in America, John and Six continue to train even while living life on the run, working to hone their Legacies while training Sam how to fight in the process. But as John and Marina both continue to have visions of Mogadorian battles and mysterious figures, it seems that their fates are bound to collide sooner than they realize.
Review: This second installment in the popular Lorien Legacies series manages to surpass the adventure and action of the first, making for a sequel that is actually more enjoyable than I Am Number Four. While the first book was somewhat hampered by high school melodrama and over-attention to detail, The Power of Six moves right into the thick of things, making for a page-turner that is nearly impossible to put down. The addition of Number Seven, or Marina, and her life in a Spanish orphanage adds a great deal of depth and substance to the story. Instead of focusing solely on John, this novel shift to a dual voice makes it far more pleasing than the first installment. Added elements in the stories of Six and Sam also add to the fun. Overall, an enjoyable novel that is sure to be a popular addition to the series.
Genre: Sci-fi/Adventure
Reading level: Grade 7+
Similar titles: I Am Number Four by Pittacus Lore.
Themes:  Aliens, danger, superpowers, duty, friendship.     
Awards/Reviews:  Positive reviews from Publisher’s Weekly, The Horn Book, Booklist, and Chicago Tribune.
Series Information: Second novel in Lorien Legacies series by Pittacus Lore.   
Discussion questions:
- This story is told in a dual-voice. Do you prefer that method of story-telling over the single-voice in I Am Number Four?
- What do you think is the significance of each of the items in John’s Chest?
- Do you think it’s possible for John to love Sarah and like Six at the same time?
- How do you think the love triangle between John, Six and Sam will unfold in the next novel?
- Do you think Adelina truly gave up her mission to protect and teach Marina?
- What do you think of the character Ella? Héctor? Crayton? Who do you think has the most influence on Marina?
- What was your interpretation of what happened between Sarah and John?

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Hourglass Book Review

Author: Myra McEntire. Release date: 2011. Publisher:  Egmont USA. ISBN: 9781606841440.
Annotation:  Emerson Cole is plagued by a strange curse – she is constantly seeing people who aren’t real. She’s not sure if they’re ghosts, memories, or just plain hallucinations, but, after her parents’ death, her visions land her in a psych ward. She has just been recently released and reunited with her older brother when she meets Michael Weaver, a handsome and intelligent man barely older than she is, who promises her answers.      
Personal thoughts:  I had high hopes for this book, and still do for this series, even though I didn’t completely enjoy the story. I think McEntire did an excellent job of describing the setting of the novel and Emerson herself, but fell short with Michael. He is clearly the leading man and his impending romance with Emerson is obvious from the start, but he is rather one-dimensional for much of the novel. The end of the book, however, makes me believe that the sequel holds a lot of promise and I look forward to reading it when it is released next year.
Plot summary: After her parents are killed in a tragic accident, Emerson Cole’s ability to cope with the grief of her loss is seriously hampered by visions of people that aren’t real; people clearly from the past, who disappear as soon as she touches them. Emerson isn’t sure if what she’s seeing are ghosts or if she’s simply nuts, but she soon finds herself in hospital psych ward before moving to Sedona, Arizona to attend a boarding school. Now Emerson is seventeen and determined to move back to her home in Nashville to spend her senior year living with her brother, Thomas, his kind wife, Dru, attend high school with her lifelong friend, Lily. Emerson continues to see her visions, troubling Thomas and Dru, who hire Michael Weaver, a mysterious employee of a company known only as Hourglass, to help her. Michael is handsome, intelligent and barely older than Emerson. She soon discovers that Michael knows all about her “gift” and that she is, in fact, seeing time ripples, or “rips,” visions of the past that indicate she is a time traveler herself. Emerson is comforted realizing that she is not delusional, but when Michael asks for her help in preventing an untimely death four months earlier, she begins to wonder if she’d rather be simply crazy than have the ability to travel through time.
Review: McEntire’s first novel brings a slow but promising start to a new series that is reminiscent of others with a few twists. Time travel is always a popular topic in young adult novels, and McEntire’s take on the concept (i.e. exotic matter, bridges, time ripples, time travel genes, etc.) makes for a series with potential. Unfortunately, this potential is somewhat hampered by some timing issues (things take a while to get going), some cliché characters, and an ambiguous “bad guy.” Emerson herself is an interesting protagonist, with a rocky history but a lot of heart and sass. Michael is a somewhat one-dimensional “hottie” who only becomes likeably well into the book. The end result is a predictable but still pleasing romance between the two that McEntire will surely expand in later installments of the series. The most interesting characters in Hourglass are, unfortunately, on the sidelines. Michael’s sexy friend Kaleb is far more intriguing than the leading man, as is Jack, the handsome and mysterious figure who keeps appearing in Emerson’s room, making her doubt that he is just another one of her visions. Overall, the story gets a bit muddled in the middle chapters, but picks up quite a bit at the end, giving hope for a good adventure in the following installments.
Genre: Romance/Time Travel/Mystery
Reading level: Grade 7+

Similar titles: Ruby Red series by Kerstin Gier.
Themes:  Time travel, loss/grief, romance, murder.    
Awards/Reviews:  Positive reviews from Publisher’s Weekly and Kirkus.
Series Information: First novel in Hourglass series.  
Discussion questions: 
- Do you think her parents’ death had any impact on Emerson’s ability to see time ripples?
- Describe what you think time ripples are.
- Who is your favorite character in the book? Why?
- Do you think Ava is a protagonist or antagonist? Why?
- How do you think the book would be different if it was told from Michael’s perspective? Kaleb’s?
- Do you think it would be a good idea for Emerson to travel back in time to save her parents? Why or why not?

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Hereafter Book Review

Author: Tara Hudson. Release date: 2011. Publisher:  HarperTeen. ISBN: 9780062026774.
Annotation:  Amelia knows one thing – she drowned in the river beneath High Bridge. She doesn’t remember when or why, and her afterlife seems to be an eternity of wandering, lost and alone. That all changes when she saves another life that is almost ended in the murky river water. The boy, eighteen-year-old Josh, can see Amelia, and their destinies appear to be forever connected.     
Personal thoughts:  Wow, I really enjoyed this novel. So much so that I read it in two days (something I don’t often do!) I am very impressed that this is Hudson’s first publication, and am certain that she, and this trilogy, have a very bright future. I think her greatest accomplishment was making the love between Amelia and Josh enjoyable, not overly dramatic, cliché, or mushy like other teen authors. I also really enjoyed the Oklahoma setting and bits of folk lore Hudson tossed into the story. I am very excited for the next installment!
Plot summary: Amelia can only remember a few things: her age, eighteen, her name, and that she drowned in the rushing waters of the river beneath High Bridge. She knows she’s a ghost, but can’t seem to control anything about her afterlife, instead, wandering, lost and alone in an unfamiliar town, unable to be seen or heard by anyone. That all changes when she is suddenly pulled into the river moments after eighteen-year-old Josh crashes his car through the metal girders of High Bridge and plummets into the murky depths. Amelia can sense that Josh is about to die, and just as his heart stops he opens his eyes and can truly see her. Somehow, miraculously, Amelia is able to save Josh and he escapes the treacherous waters. Amelia finds herself awoken after meeting Josh, especially when Josh returns to High Bridge to find the mysterious and beautiful girl he saw in the river. She no longer feels lost, and begins to sense things around her had long forgotten: scents, feelings, warmth. Josh doesn’t seem to mind that Amelia is a ghost, and as their relationship grows, they discover that true love extends into the afterlife. Their happiness is threatened, however, when Amelia encounters Eli, a dangerous ghost who reigns over High Bridge, collecting all the souls that perish in the river. Eli is determined to make Amelia his, and she soon finds herself in the midst of a supernatural love triangle.  Can Amelia discover the truth about her death and save herself from the clutches of the darkness lurking beneath High Bridge?
Review: This first installment in the Hereafter trilogy delivers a sweet and intriguing love story full of supernatural adventure, danger, and mystery. What Hudson has accomplished in this page-turning novel is astounding considering it is her first publication. The characters are given a depth often lacking in novels for young adults, and Hudson does an excellent job of creating an engrossing setting for the story to play out. Much of Hereafter reads like a mystery novel, with little being revealed about Amelia’s life, death or supernatural powers. The result is a story that keeps readers on the edge of their seats until the final pages. The love between Amelia and Josh contrasts well with the darker hues of the plot, adding a sweet and not overly-gushy romance that is pleasing to both teen and adult readers. The mysterious ghost, Eli, also makes for an intriguing nemesis for Amelia, one with depth and his own secrets to be uncovered. Overall, Hereafter is an outstanding ghost story that proves equally enjoyable for teen and adult readers. A very promising start for both Hudson and the trilogy.
Genre: Romance/Supernatural/Mystery
Reading level: Grade 7+

Similar titles: Rachel Vincent’s Soul Screamers series.
Themes:  Ghosts, supernatural, afterlife, love, fate.    
Awards/Reviews:  Positive reviews from Publisher’s Weekly, Kirkus and Booklist.
Series Information: First novel in Hereafter trilogy.
Discussion questions:
- Describe how Amelia’s afterlife differs from your own personal beliefs.
- Do you think religion played a role in how Hudson portrayed life after death?
- Do you know of any “cursed” locations, like High Bridge? Why do you think people label certain places as cursed or haunted? Can these feelings impact people’s actions in that location?
- Who or what do you think Eli’s “masters” are?
- Do you believe in ghosts? Have you ever seen one? What would you do if you saw one?
- What do you think lies ahead in Amelia and Josh’s story? What would you like to see happen in the second and third installments of the trilogy?


Sunday, August 21, 2011

Across the Universe Book Review

Author: Beth Revis. Release date: 2011. Publisher:  Razorbill. ISBN: 9781595143976.
Annotation:  Amy and her parents volunteer to be cryogenically frozen for centuries in order to become the first settlers on a new planet: Centauri-Earth. But when Amy is awoken 50 years too soon, she discovers that the everything on the ship that is supposed to be carrying them to their new home is not what it seems.    
Personal thoughts:  I really enjoyed this book from start to finish! It's a story that you know is going to good from the first chapter. Maybe it's because I am a sci-fi fan and also a fan of dystopian novels. Maybe it's because it's simply an excellentally written story. Either way, I am very excited for this new trilogy!

Plot summary: Sixteen-year-old Amy and her parents, a genetic specialist and a military tactician, volunteer to be cryogenically frozen for three hundred years and shot into space towards a new planet, Centauri-Earth, upon which they will start a new society. After being frozen, Amy’s body is encased in a coffin of ice, but her mind continues to work, locking her in a terrible nightmare for centuries. Unsure of how much time has passed, Amy suddenly begins to feel warmth and realizes that her glass coffin is melting. When she wakes up, she meets sixteen-year-old Elder, the future leader of the ship, and learns, to her horror, that she has been unfrozen fifty years before the ship lands. Amy is crushed that she cannot see her parents, but begins to explore the Godspeed, the ship on which she has been travelling for the past two hundred and fifty years. The inhabitants of the ship are as strange to Amy as she is to them: the Godspeed’s residents, including Elder, are all monoethnic, and Amy’s red hair and pale, freckled skin give her a freakish appearance. To make matters worse, most of the people on the ship appear to be in some sort of stupor: blindly following everything the current leader, Eldest, tells them. But as Amy and Elder get to know each other and Amy learns more about the Godspeed, she begins to wonder if the ship is as peaceful and harmonious as Eldest claims.

Blueprint of the Godspeed

Review:  This sometimes creepy but thrilling story combines science fiction, mystery and romance in an utterly original novel that will appeal as much to adult readers as teens. One of the strongest elements of the story showing Revis’ literary prowess is her ability to develop multi-layered characters that the reader cares about almost immediately. The story is told by both Amy and Elder in alternating chapters, giving each of them a distinct voice and equal presence in the story. The supporting characters of Eldest, Harley, Orion and the ship’s Doctor are equally as interesting as the protagonists, as are the descriptions of the Godspeed which, in many ways, is another character in the novel. Revis does an excellent job of combining the dystopian elements of H.G. Wells’ Time Machine, the sci-fi elements of TV’s Battlestar Galactica and modern debates about genetic engineering and manipulation. The resulting story is sophisticated, intriguing and makes for a wonderful page-turner that keeps the reader guessing until the final moments. Revis has announced that Across the Universe is the first installment in a trilogy, and the fact that it is her debut novel makes her literary accomplishment all the more impressive. Overall, and outstanding novel equally enjoyable for adults and teens
Genre: Science-fiction/Mystery
Reading level: Grade 8+

Similar titles: A Long, Long Sleep by Anna Sheehan is VERY similar. Other dystopian future novels such as Hunger Games trilogy by Suzanne Collins, Divergent by Veronica Roth, etc.
Themes:  Space travel, dystopian future, control/oppression, mystery.   
Awards/Reviews:  On Amazon Best Books of the Month list for January 2011, positive reviews from School Library Journal and Booklist, New York Times bestseller.
Series Information: First novel in Across the Universe trilogy. Visit website for more info:

Discussion Questions:

- Would you be willing to do what Amy did to stay with her parents?

- What are your impressions of life on the Godspeed? Would you want to live on the ship?

- Do you think Eldest is a good leader? Why or why not?

- How would you describe the inhabitants of the Godspeed?  Docile? Complacent? Oppressed? Happy?

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Ruby Red Book Review

Author: Kerstin Gier. Release date: 2011. Publisher:  Henry Holt and Co.. ISBN: 9780805092523.
Annotation:  Gwyneth has always known that her beautiful cousin Charlotte is the member of her generation to inherit her wealthy family’s biggest secret: a gene that allows the carrier to time travel. But when Gwyneth suddenly starts travelling through time herself, could her family have been wrong about Charlotte being the gene carrier?
Personal thoughts:  I think the premise of this book saved it from what I found to be a very slow pace. For some reason it just seemed to take a long time for the action to really get going, but once it did I began to see a lot of potential. I think Gier does a great job of setting the stage for the real adventure to come in the rest of the series. I look forward to seeing how it pans out.
Plot summary: Sixteen-year-old Gwyneth Shepherd lives as normal of a life as she can being the member of a wealthy family who, every generation, give birth to a female time traveler. Gwyneth has always known, as has the rest of the family, that her beautiful and sophisticated cousin Charlotte is the carrier of the time travelling gene, having fulfilled a centuries old prophecy of being born on October 7, 1994. Gwyneth, who’s birthday is October 8, never suspected the truth: that her mother lied about her birth date to protect her from lifelong preparations for travelling through time. It seems that Gwyneth was actually born on the 7th and is the actual gene carrier. Now, she is thrust into the middle of the web of secrets that has ensnared her family for generations. To make matters worse, she must also contend with her time-travelling counterpart, Gideon, a member of another wealthy family who give birth to a male time traveler with each new generation. Gideon is handsome, but too stuck up for Gwyneth who he, and everyone else, is convinced is just a silly girl, incapable of being as fit for navigating the past as the well-trained Charlotte would have been. Will Gwyneth be able to handle her new found gifts and the secrets that come with them?
Review:  With a promising premise, Ruby Red makes for a slow start to what will surely blossom into an entertaining trilogy. Gier appears to be using the first novel in this new trilogy to set the stage for adventure. There is a lot of character development, particularly of the heroine, Gwyneth, and a great deal of background about Gwyneth’s family legacy. Gwyneth’s actual emergence as the real female time traveler and dethroning of her stuck-up cousin, Charlotte, are the primary plot points in the novel, as well as her budding romance with fellow time-traveler, Gideon. Some more sinister characters are introduced, but are not really expanded upon, something that will hopefully occur in the next installments. Overall, Ruby Red is a light-hearted and slow-paced beginning to a trilogy with a lot of potential. Hopefully Gier will deliver an even better second installment with Sapphire Blue set for release in Spring 2012.
Genre: Fantasy/Historical Fiction
Reading level: Grade 7+

Similar titles: Counter-Clockwise by Jason Cockroft, Portal by Imogen Rose.
Themes:  Time travel, England, family legacies.  
Awards/Reviews:  Positive reviews from New York Times Book Review, Booklist, BookPage, Kirkus Reviews, School Library Journal, VOYA, and Publishers Weekly.    
Series Information: First novel in Ruby Red trilogy. Second novel, Sapphire Blue, set to be released in Spring 2012.  

Discussion Questions:

- How do you think her cousin being considered the gene carrier for most of her life influence the way Gwyneth was raised? Do you think her life would have been different if she was treated the way Charlotte was?
- What was your first impression of Gideon? Did that change while reading the book?
- Do you agree with what Gwyneth's mother did? Why or why not?
- What would you like to learn to prepare yourself for time travel?

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children Book Review

Author: Ransom Riggs. Release date: 2011. Publisher:  Quirk Books. ISBN: 9781594744761.
Annotation:  Growing up, Jacob’s head was filled with his grandfather’s tales of growing up in an orphanage on an island near Wales. This island was home to fantastical children with otherworldly talents, all looked after by a wise old bird. At first, Jacob believes his beloved grandfather’s stories wholeheartedly. But as he grows up, he begins to wonder if they are simply the workings of a delusional old man.
Personal thoughts:  I really enjoyed this book and am so excited that it seems to be getting quite popular. I think Riggs does a fantastic job of writing a very compelling story that can be enjoyed by teens and adults alike. The vintage photos are great, and I really fell in love with the world Riggs created. I can’t wait for the sequel, and the movie version!
Plot summary: Jacob lives an ordinary life with an ordinary family in an ordinary town. The only excitement he has are the stories his beloved Grandfather Portman tells him about his youth growing up in an orphanage after escaping the Nazis in his native Poland.  Unlike other orphanages, this one was magical: the sun always shone, the other children had fantastic powers, and they were all lovingly looked after by a wise bird. Most importantly, his grandfather, and the other children, were safe on the island from the monsters who hunted them. Jacob believes his grandfather’s stories with all his heart, but as he grows up he begins to wonder the truthfulness behind his tales. All of the old photographs his grandfather showed him, of children levitating, hoisting enormous boulders, and making fire in their hands, start to look fake and Jacob, and the rest of his family, begin to doubt the aging man’s sanity. After his grandfather is brutally murdered, however, Jacob is convinced there was some truth behind his stories of monsters lurking in the shadows hunting the children, especially since Jacob believes he saw the very monster that killed his grandfather. In order to uncover the mystery behind his grandfather’s death, and restore his own sanity, Jacob and his father travel to a remote island off the coast of Wales, the location of the peculiar orphanage.
Review:  At times touching, horrifying, mysterious and always interesting, Ransom Riggs begins a very promising series with this page-turning novel. Almost as important as the text are the vintage photos scattered throughout the book. Riggs makes sure to point out that these are actual photographs collected over the years by various enthusiasts, and their appeal adds enormously to the story. Many of the characters introduced in the story are illustrated in the photos, helping to set the mood for what is actually a very interesting and original story. Jacob is a compelling protagonist, particularly because of the sweet relationship he has with his late grandfather. As he uncovers more about his grandfather’s past, and his own future, the reader begins to genuinely care about Jacob and the other children under the care of the mysterious Miss Peregrine. The novel is always full of twists and turns that keep the reader on their toes, closing with a cliffhanger that leaves a great deal of anticipation for the second installment. Although the date of the sequel’s release has not been announced yet, Fox Studios has already won the movie rights for what is certain to be a very successful franchise for Riggs. An exciting beginning to a wonderful series.
Genre: Fantasy
Reading level: Grade 7+

Similar titles: The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making by Catherynne M. Valente, X-Men series.
Themes:  Magical powers/abilities, Wales/England, World War II, grandfather/grandson relationships, sanity/insanity, time-travel, orphans/outcasts.  
Awards/Reviews:  New York Times best seller.   
Series Information: First novel in Miss Peregrine’s Home For Peculiar Children series. Movie set to be released in 2013.

Discussion Questions:

- Do you think the pictures add to the story? Could the story be told without the pictures?

- Why do you think Jacob has such a close relationship with his grandfather?

- Do you think Jacob is "crazy"? Did your opinion of him change while reading the novel?

- Did you learn anything about the United Kingdom or World War II while reading this novel?

- Do you think this novel could be adapted successfully into a movie? Why or why not?