Summer. Long, quiet days at home; hours sunbathing at the beach; and more sitting around on public transport than you’re happy about. It’s full of time that’s just made for reading. But it’s a holiday, you don’t want to read hard literature, you want something that’s fun and easy. But you probably also can’t face reading the pulp that you’ll find in the airport under the heading “beach reads”. If you’re in need of summer reading inspo., try this summer’s hottest read: Miss Peregrine’s Home For Peculiar Children.
Set predominantly over one summer on a rainy, miserable, Welsh island, it’s pretty relateable and it’s certainly not going to give you pangs of envy as you sit inside for the 8th day of rain in a row.
You’ll likely find it filed under sci-fi, and reviews have compared it to just about everything we love, from Harry Potter to X-men to Grimm’s fairytales. With reviews like that, you really have to try it. Without giving too much away, the typical, every man main character explores his family history until he finds what can only be described as “Xavier’s junior school for gifted youngsters”.
Compelling characters and a mystery at play make this a fast-paced and compelling read, and the BASTARD ENDS IT ON A GIANT CLIFFHANGER. Fortunately, he’s written a sequel. Unfortunately, he also ends that one on a cliffhanger. Fortunately, there’s a third instalment out there. Unfortunately, the third one is shit. If you get hooked into this series (which you will), I strongly recommend living in the mystery and accepting that you’ll never know what happens after book two. Living without book 3 is no loss, I assure you.
The really interesting thing about Miss Peregrine’s that makes it stand out from the crowd so much however, is that it’s not just a story. It’s a project in combining fiction writing with vintage photography and it is wonderful. It’s punctuated at various intervals with copies of strange vintage photographs borrowed from private collectors. They serve to richen the plot, and add a creepier, unsettling edge to it that compels you onwards through the book. There’s a time travel element to this tale that is made all the more powerful by the modern-writing style combined with some very old, very dated photographs – paralleling the time period clashes of the plot. It’s seriously phenomenal.
Yet it still has the easy-reading, all-ages-welcome vibe of Harry Potter or Roald Dahl. And that makes it pretty perfect to stash in your bag for a long train-journey, to take down to the beach to read as you tan, to take to your crappy summer job to read on your break.
And this summer is the best possible time to read it. Devour it over the next month, fall in love with the characters. Find yourself compelled to read the sequel and continue the devotion. Because it’s not all over once you’ve finished the books. There’s a movie adaptation in the works that’s coming out in autumn. It’s directed by Tim Burton and from the trailer, has clearly changed some major aspects, but looks fascinating. As it should be- it has to have been a real project for the sfx team. And with any luck, it’ll make up for book 3’s failures to keep the magic alive.