Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs
A guest review by Ella, on work experience at the Alligator's Mouth.
This is a young adult book narrated by a boy named Jacob. Growing up, Jacob's grandfather, Abraham, frequently told Jacob fantastical stories about a group of children with special abilities - "peculiar" children, who lived in an orphanage when Abraham was a child. He showed Jacob several photographs (taken from haunting vintage photographs littered throughout the book, adding to the fascinating concepts of the story) of these children - a boy lifting a boulder with one hand, an apparently invisible boy, a floating girl, a boy covered in bees.
Now sixteen, Jacob is much more skeptical of his grandfather's stories. That is, until tragic events take him on a journey to a remote island off the coast of Wales, following Abraham's cryptic instructions to "find the bird in the loop on the other side of the old man's grave on September 1940, and tell them what happened," where he discovers the crumbling ruins of Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children. As Jacob explores the bedrooms of the orphanage, he discovers clues that suggest that these children were more than just "peculiar" - they may even have been dangerous. Not only that, but - ridiculous and impossible though it may seem - they may still be alive.
This was a thoroughly enjoyable read, and the fascinating display of real vintage photography was the icing on the delicious cake. The plot was dark and mysterious, and there were so many twists and turns that I didn't see coming. I was hooked from the first page!