by Ransom Riggs

4 Stars

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In the second installment of Ransom Riggs’ bestselling series, Miss Peregrine’s Peculiar Children escape the island of Cairnholm, where most of them have resided for the past seventy years, en route to London. They have just three days to make it there and find Miss Wren, the only ymbryne who evaded wight capture at the end of the last book and their only hope for saving their own ymbryne and guardian. Putting their abilities to the test and Miss Peregrine’s fate in their hands, the peculiar children set off on the journey of a lifetime. On it, they will meet new friends—some peculiar and some not, some human and some not—face off against new enemies, and explore worlds more dangerous than any they’ve ever known. 

*** 

I know they say sequels are never as good as the original, but I was actually quite pleased with this book. In fact, I think Ransom Riggs must have felt the same about the first book as I did because he made a much greater effort to flesh out his characters this time around. I can now differentiate between the children, and I can now identify Emma as “the leader,” Bronwyn as “the protector,” and Enoch as “the pessimist.” Jacob’s character, who becomes increasingly confident in himself and in tune with his abilities, has also been developed nicely. I suppose my biggest criticism of this book is that I don’t feel I’ve been properly integrated into the world of what Riggs calls “peculiardom.” Certain things about it are beginning to make sense, but I can’t seem to wrap my head around the loops—one of its most important concepts. I think I understood J.K. Rowling’s Wizarding World better after two chapters than I do “peculiardom” after two books!

Catey F.

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The Hand on the Wall

By Maureen Johnson

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The last book in the Truly Devious trilogy is finally here! Stevie is sure that Ellingham Academy has a black cloud hanging over it. Mayhem and murder has engrossed the school, causing two deaths, and one more in town that Stevie is sure is connected to the school somehow.

Underneath these murders is a connection, and Stevie just has to find it. But with all the chaos of life and school, Stevie finds it hard to penetrate what has happened. Not to mention she is pretty sure she has solved the case of the century. And it all adds up to what is happening now.

When another accident occurs and the school is under a storm warning, Stevie decides to stay behind on the mountain–and so do her friends. Together, they must confront their troubles and a murderer.

Maureen Johnson’s concluding novel satisfyingly brings together every loose end in the Truly Devious trilogy. Buckle up, it’s going to be a bumpy ride!

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by Ransom Riggs

4 Stars

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A family tragedy sends sixteen-year-old Jacob Portman looking for answers. What he finds is a mysterious island off the coast of Wales, on that island an abandoned and crumbling orphanage, and beneath the ruins of that orphanage a collection of peculiar photographs. He’ll soon discover that the children in the photographs—a girl who seems to levitate, another that juggles fire, an invisible boy—were more than just peculiar. They might have been powerful. They might have been hunted. They might, impossible though it may sound, still be alive. 

*** 

I must begin by saying that Ransom Riggs’ writing really impressed me. He has a strong vocabulary, is very witty, and has a clever way of wording things. Unfortunately, I think his writing suffers an annoying fate most readers will be familiar with; it’s too descriptive at the beginning, which means he takes a long time to get into the story. And not descriptive enough at the end, which results in a rushed climax that’s hard to follow. Regarding the pictures, I was a little conflicted. On the one hand, I thought taking a collection of totally unrelated photographs and stringing them together in a single narrative was wondrously imaginative. On the other, I felt slightly disconnected from the characters in this book, knowing the photos of them were not really them. I think this is made worse by the fact that, in my opinion, Riggs fails to add much depth to any of the children besides Jacob and Emma (I really couldn’t tell the difference between Hugh, Enoch, Millard, and Horace until I watched the movie). I hope Riggs develops these personalities more in the second book. I tend to be overly critical in my reviews, but I still really enjoyed this book. Would definitely recommend!

Catey F.

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By Anna Todd

4 Stars

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Tessa Young has always been a good girl, sweet and ambitious with a loving boyfriend back home and a mother who is keen on keeping Tessa on the right path. But before she’s even fully settled in her freshman dorm, trouble comes knocking at her door. Hardin Scott, with his messy brown hair and British accent, his body littered in tattoos and piercings, something Tessa isn’t used to. But he’s also rude, extremely rude. His attitude should be enough for Tessa to hate him, and she does. But when they’re alone- something else rises to the surface, and she has no idea what to do. Hardin is reckless, constantly disappearing and reappearing at the most random times, insisting he is no good for her but never fully leaving her life. He pushes her away, but she pushes back, wanting to learn more about who Hardin really is. She already has the perfect boyfriend, so why is she unable to stay away from Hardin and all his mystery?  

Honestly, I loved this book. It’s realistically emotional, meaning it has realistic characters, ones who get overly jealous because that’s just who they are and ones who want to make the other person happy even if it means destroying themselves in the process. The characters aren’t perfect, and neither are their lives, and that’s something a lot of stories lack. However, it does glorify a borderline-toxic relationship, depending on how you personally view it. I would wholeheartedly recommend this book to anyone who’s willing to read it. 

Jordan M.

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