Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children (EXP)

Miss Peregrine's Home For Peculiar Children (Miss Peregrine, #1) - Ransom Riggs It was not the fact that the girl is levitating that first caught my eye.  It was the old woman's face on the child's body.I love books that are open about their inspiration. In the case of Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children, the story is built around a collection of vernacular photographs from the collections of the author and some of his friends/acquaintances.  All of the photographs included have a disquieting effect on the reader, from the one of a man asleep with a gun in his hand, to the one of a man's shadow cast in front of a child playing.Jacob's grandfather introduces him to the first of the pictures, claiming that for all their amateur look, the "peculiar children" they depict are real.  As a child, Jacob believes in them, along with his grandfather's stories of fighting monsters and of the home where he briefly lived as a reprieve, but eventually Jacob accepts the family's explanation that the stories are a psychological construct.  Jacob's grandfather, alone out of his family, escaped from WWII Poland.  The "monsters" are his way of compartmentalizing both the Nazis that killed his family and his own survivor's guilt.Or are they?  One night, Jacob's grandfather is brutally killed, and Jacob sees something, just a glimpse, but it's enough to bring back all of his doubts.  With his therapist's encouragement, Jacob decides that the best way to get some answers is to travel to the island and visit the ruin of the home that sheltered his grandfather.The photographs are fascinating, but I think the story woven around them might have been even stronger with a few more images, and especially with a few unexplained ones.  Also, the descriptions tended to precede the photographs themselves, which I think took away some of their power.Readers who, like me, were fascinated in the beginning with the life of Jacob's grandfather, might find a similar experience in Briar Rose by Jane Yolen.