Hollow City by Ransom Riggs

YA Fantasy

This second novel begins in 1940, immediately after the first book ended. Having escaped Miss Peregrine's island by the skin of their teeth, Jacob and his new friends must journey to London, the peculiar capital of the world. Along the way, they encounter new allies, a menagerie of peculiar animals, and other unexpected surprises.

Complete with dozens of newly discovered (and thoroughly mesmerizing) vintage photographs, this new adventure will delight readers of all ages.

I read Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children a few years ago with my book club. I was ambivalent about the book -- I liked the idea of shaping a novel around found antique pictures, but there was something a bit too creative writing workshoppy about it. I felt the pictures drove the plot, rather than the characters' motivations, and that isn't a great thing.

I found myself liking Hollow City a  lot more. Place has a lot to do with it -- the children are thrust into 1940's wartime Britain, and the dangers are both real (falling bombs) and fantastical (wights and hollows). On the way, the gang meets more peculiar children (they actually seem to be everywhere, which was a bit implausible, but whatever), discover hidden strengths, and fight to save their beloved Miss Peregrine. The twist at the end was something I didn't expect, but on retrospect there were clues. 

Best of all, I found myself relating more to Jacob, our protagonist. For the first time in his life, he isn't an ordinary rich kid. He's special, even among children with extraordinary qualities. But does he want to follow in his grandfather's footsteps, or does he want to go home and reunite with his parents? His dilemma resonated with me. 

After months of barely even glancing at books, this was a great, quick read. Perfect for summer!


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