Every few years an iconic photo becomes ingrained in everyone's mind. There's the sailor kissing a nurse on V-J Day, the man standing up to a line of tanks in Tiananmen Square, and a creepy little girl floating in the woods.
Okay, that last photo is from the cover of the novel Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children, but it's pretty iconic in the young adult lit world. And the book is chock-full of more creepy found photographs, each one worth a thousand words (at least). Some of the thousand words you could say about the photos in Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children include: creepy, weird, strange, unsettling, and OMG.
All of these photos were collected by an author named Ransom Riggs (and yes, that's his real name). Riggs published Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children, his first novel, in 2011. It's been all up on the New York Times Bestseller list, even topping the nigh-unstoppable Fault in Our Stars (written by Riggs's college pal, John Green), proving that you don't need cancer to make a successful YA novel. But you might need superpowers.
The book is less about Miss Peregrine and her home, and more about the peculiar children who inhabit it. The children all have special powers—they can generate fire, float, or turn invisible—and our narrator, Jacob Portman, who seems so normal that he wonders if he can fit in with them at all. He's trying to learn about his grandfather's childhood, which turns out to be a lot more peculiar than he ever could have expected.
Miss Peregrine spawned a graphic novel, a Tim Burton-directed movie adaptation, and a sequel called Hollow City, perhaps because there are a lot of secrets to uncover in this world, and a lot of cool photographs to look at, too. The only way to see them all—the photos and the secrets—is to grab the book, though. So get on it, and then let's get going.
Stories about people on the outskirts always hit a chord, especially with the people they're about: the rejects, the outcasts, the peculiar kids. If you're an orphan with greased hair, an orphan with connections to a secret society, or an orphan with red hair and a killer voice, there are stories out there to relate to.
But here's a little secret: You don't have to be an orphan to feel like you don't belong. Heck, you don't even have to be an outsider—everyone feels this way at some point.
Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children is about children on the fringes of society, self-ostracized for safety because people just don't understand them. What exactly don't people understand? Why, their special powers of course. Some of them can make fire with their hands, or levitate, or make plants grow. And yes, they're all orphans (seriously, what happened to all the parents in the world?), but our narrator isn't.
If you have parents and no superpowers, that's okay (though if you do have superpowers, put that stuff on the Internet, stat). At its heart, Miss Peregrine is about the struggle to find a place to fit in. And like we said, everyone stares this beast down at some point. So even if you can't levitate, read on.
Holding You Ransom
Riggs's website has everything you need to know about him, and it's not even composed of little letters cut out of magazines and demanding you pay him for that information.
Sample a chapter or three of Miss Peregrine from the publisher's website. She won't mind.
Tim Burton's Home for Peculiar Children
Tim Burton directs the movie adaptation of the book. He's good at being creepy. Plus, Eva Green plays Miss Peregrine, and she's basically good at being anything and everything.
In this quirky interview, Riggs rejects classic novels and gets presented with an amazing gift from his wife.
Snapshot, not Snapchat
Do the photos influence Riggs's storytelling, or the other way around? Find out in this interview.
Our favorite photo in the book is the one of the creepy Santa (because we love having nightmares). Riggs has a different favorite pick.
Creepiest Book Trailer Ever
Riggs went to Belgium to shoot the trailer for Miss Peregrine. We officially want to stay far, far away from Belgium.
Back when Ransom was going by the less-glamorous moniker "Randy," he went on a road trip with John Green.
Riggs talks with Here and Now about the vintage photographs, and the peculiar way in which no one in them seems to be smiling.
Peregrine, no Miss
Check out Miss Peregrine's wingspan.
Pay the Ransom
He doesn't look that peculiar…
Hugh looks pretty stylish in his beekeeper hat in the Miss Peregrine's graphic novel.