I put off reading this book for a long time, because I thought it was going to be scary. But when my good friend Julia recommended it to me, I knew I had to read it. And guess what? It wasn’t nearly as scary as I thought it was going to be. In fact, I almost wanted a little more scare in this book. But the weirdness of the story and the creativity of the characters and the photos made up for that.
The story begins with sixteen-year-old Jacob witnessing the mysterious death of his grandfather. Haunted by his grandfather’s last words and by the fantastical stories and photographs he used to share with his grandson, Jacob decides to make a pilgrimage to the Home for Peculiar Children in Wales, where his grandfather spent his formative years as a war orphan.
Once there, Jacob learns more about the “peculiar children” who stayed at this decrepit home, and he begins to be drawn into their world on his quest to learn about his grandfather—and, in turn, about himself.
I can’t say much more for fear of spoiling the book, but suffice it to say that what happens is probably not what you’re expecting. At least, it wasn’t what I was expecting. The characters are fascinating, and the real historical photographs that are included really add to the reading experience. That said, I really was a little disappointed that this book wasn’t more scary and intense, and I’m not sure if I’ll read the sequel (although the book ends on a cliff-hangerish note, so I’ll probably get around to reading it eventually).
Rating: Good but Forgettable