Jacob Portman grew up hearing fantastic stories from his grandfather, Abe, about an orphanage in Wales where he was raised during World War 2 after he escaped Nazi occupied Poland. The orphanage was full of kids with special talents that were supported by photos that Jacob’s grandfather had held onto after coming to America when the War ended. As Jacob grows up, he gets teased for believing in fairy tales and begins to realize the stories and photos are fake which makes him angry and disappointed. Shortly before Jacob’s sixteenth birthday Abe is attacked and killed by a creature only Jacob saw and since no one believes Jacob’s story he is sent to therapy to cope with the trauma he witnessed. His therapist suggests that Jacob go to the remote island that Abe’s orphanage is on to demystify it and begin the healing process. His parents are hesitant at first but his father, an amateur ornithologist who lives off his wife’s money, eventually agrees to accompany his son.
“I don’t mean to be rude’ I said, ‘but what are you people?’
‘We’re peculiar,’ he replied, sounding a bit puzzled. ‘Aren’t you?;
‘I don’t know. I don’t think so’
‘That’s a shame.
After arriving in Wales Jacob discovers that the school was destroyed by a bomb on September 3rd 1940. Crushed he begins exploring the ruins of the old building and discovers that everything his grandfather told him was true- the invisible boy, the levitating girl, the boy with bees in his stomach and a girl who can make fire among others.
Not only are the peculiar children real but they are still alive. Spoiler? The school managed to survive the bombing by remaining in a time loop sustained by Miss Peregrine, who is an Ymbryne. Unfortunately the monster that Jacob saw is also real and it is after the peculiar children.
Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children is the first in a trilogy of the same name and was clearly written as such because it spends a lot of time world building and then ends abruptly. This is pretty well written YA though and has an interesting premise so I look forward to reading the next two in the series.