Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children, the movie based on Ransom Riggs’ bestselling YA novel, hits the big screen on September 30. There’s a lot to love about Riggs’ strange, atmospheric tale in words and vintage photos, but no matter why you love it, there’s a perfect book to read while you wait for the movie!
Stories Told in Words and Pictures
Chasing Shadows by Swati Avasthi. Three teens become the victims of a drive-by shooting. Corey dies, his twin sister Holly is left in a coma, and their friend Savitri has to pick up the pieces, especially after Holly emerges from her coma on the brink of madness, determined to hunt down her brother’s killer. This story told in alternating chapters of prose and graphic novel mixes realistic fiction with elements of Hindu mythology to explore themes of violence, loss, friendship, and mental illness.
In the Shadow of Blackbirds by Cat Winters. After her father is arrested on suspicion of being a German sympathizer in 1918, scientific-minded Mary Shelley Black moves in with her aunt in San Francisco. As World War I rages abroad and the Spanish flu epidemic ravages the population worldwide, mourners flock to spirit photographers in hopes of catching a glimpse of their lost loved ones. Mary Shelley doesn’t believe in ghosts, but begins to change her mind when her first love, killed in the war, seems to have returned from the dead. Vintage spirit photos accompany this Morris Award-winning historical novel.
Wonder Show by Hannah Barnaby. In 1939, thirteen-year-old Portia escapes the terrifying conditions of McGreavey’s Home for Wayward Girls in search of her father. To make her way, Portia becomes a ballyhoo for Mosco’s Traveling Wonder Show, a menagerie of human curiosities. Barnaby’s richly atmospheric tale was a finalist for the Morris Award. Each chapter is told in a distinct voice of one of the members of the company and explores the human side of peculiarity, including an author’s note about life in historical circus side shows.
The Weight of Feathers by Anna-Marie McLemore. In this finalist for the Morris Award, Lace Paloma, who swims in her family’s traveling mermaid exhibition, has been raised to hate and fear her family’s rivals, the tightrope-walking Corbeau family. The Corbeaus, Lace’s family claims, are nothing but bad luck and magia negra, black magic. But when Cluck Corbeau saves Lace’s life during a performance, Lace begins to fall for him and view his family and hers in a whole new light.
Time Travel and Time Loops
Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver. In Oliver’s debut novel, Samantha is killed in a car accident but still wakes up the next day. As she relives her final day over and over again, she must unravel the mystery of her own death to find out why she has been given this chance.
Into the Dim by Janet B. Taylor. After the death of her mother, Hope’s father moves on with a new woman and sends Hope to Scotland to spend the summer with her crazy Aunt Lucinda. Lucinda has shocking news for Hope: her mother was a member of the Viators, a secret society of time travelers. Not only is Hope’s mother still alive, she’s trapped in the past during the time of Eleanor of Aquitaine, and Hope is the only one who can rescue her.
Monsters and Monster-Hunters
Jackaby by William Ritter. In 1892 New England, Abigail Rook becomes assistant to eccentric investigator R. F. Jackaby. As serial murders sweep the town of New Fiddleham, Massachusetts, Jackaby is convinced that the murderer is an otherworldly creature. This quirky historical fantasy title will especially appeal to fans of TV shows like Sherlock and Supernatural.
The Monstrumologist by Rick Yancey. William James Henry is the assistant and ward of Dr. Pellinor Warthrop, a scientist of aberrant biology, or monstrumologist. Classic gothic horror elements and terrifying monsters fill this tetralogy-opener that follows Will and Dr. Warthrop as they discover and try to eradicate a pod of Anthropophagi that are terrorizing a New England town.
World War II Stories
Tamar: A Novel of Espionage, Passion, and Betrayal by Mal Peet. In 1995 London, Tamar is left with a box of clues surrounding the mystery of her grandfather’s suicide. Her investigation takes her deep into the past to a long-ago
romance and her grandfather’s involvement in the Dutch Resistance during the Second World War.
Postcards from No Man’s Land by Aidan Chambers. Seventeen-year-old Jacob’s plan is to go to Amsterdam to visit the grave of his grandfather, who died there in World War II. While there, he meets Geertrui, who knew his grandfather during the war. Jacob’s story and Geertrui’s play out in parallel in this Printz Award–winning novel.