I'll admit it, I judged this book by its cover. But seeing how intriguing and haunting the cover is, I just couldn't help myself. And boy, am I glad I did. The best dark fantasy young adult novel since Clive Barker's Abarat, this book is a perfect combination of adventure, fantasy, horror, and quirkiness. It reminds me of those wonderful not-quite-fairytales I used to love as a kid, where the main character gets whisked away from their humdrum life and planted right in the middle of some rollicking adventure in a world they'd never imagined.
Jacob has always been told stories by his grandfather Abraham about the orphanage he stayed in during the war, kept isolated on a tiny windswept island off the coast of England. Stories of the 'peculiar' children who lived there: including a little girl who levitates, an invisible boy, and a boy with bees living inside him. All of whom are cared for by the lovely and mysterious Miss Peregrine.
Obviously Abraham is full of it, and Jacob soon tells him to stop telling such nonsense stories. But when his grandfather dies in front of his eyes, and only Jacob sees the monster responsible, his life is turned upside down in a search for the truth. And he must pilgrimage back to the orphanage, and discover what secrets lie there.
The exciting news? It's being adapted into a movie!
Asa Butterfield has been cast as Jacob, who you may remember from other book-to-film adaptations including Hugo, The Boy In The Striped Pyjamas, and Ender's Game.
Also announced are Terence Stamp, Judi Dench, Samuel L Jackson, and Rupert Everett. However, the part I find most exciting is Eva Green as Miss Peregrine. Anyone who has seen Penny Dreadful (the gloriously macabre TV show which is definitely not recommended for young'uns), Sin City 2, or Casino Royale, you will understand why this is great news! With director Tim Burton at the helm, and with an incredibly talented cast like this, I'm willing to bet this will be one of the best movies of 2016. Trust me, this will be the next phenomenon to start gathering speed as word of mouth spreads. This story is unforgettable.