Reclaim Horror: Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children

Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children has been on the New York Times Bestseller List for more weeks than there are in a year. This highly successful novel screams horror to all but the following entities:

Let’s look at the synopsis (obvious horror blurbage in bold):

A mysterious island.

An abandoned orphanage.

A strange collection of very curious photographs.

It all waits to be discovered in Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children, an unforgettable novel that mixes fiction and photography in a thrilling reading experience. As our story opens, a horrific family tragedy sets sixteen-year-old Jacob journeying to a remote island off the coast of Wales, where he discovers the crumbling ruins of Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children. As Jacob explores its abandoned bedrooms and hallways, it becomes clear that the children were more than just peculiar. They may have been dangerous. They may have been quarantined on a deserted island for good reason. And somehow—impossible though it seems—they may still be alive. 

A spine-tingling fantasy illustrated with haunting vintage photography, Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children will delight adults, teens, and anyone who relishes an adventure in the shadows.


Because Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children utilizes photography, let’s check out some photos:

Creepy Book Cover #1

Creepy Book Cover #2


Creepy Awesome Author Website


While vintage photography is beautiful, it also triggers our fear response, thanks to films like

  • The Ring
  • IT
  • Insidious
  • Sinister
  • The Others
  • The Sixth Sense
  • The Omen
  • The Grudge

TV Tropes identified the spooky photograph trope as part of Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children, and it lists additional examples.

The final word goes to my teen students. When I ask, “How’s the book?”

They say, “It’s really scary.”


Can horror claim vintage photography exclusively as one of its tropes? Is it possible to have what Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children has and not be horror?



  • Timon
    April 19, 2015

    The way things gets classified drives me nuts. I’ve avoided this one because I thought it was fantasy with horror elements, but apparently I need to give it a try.

  • Kathy Palm
    April 20, 2015

    This one has been lurking at the edges of my senses, but I wasn’t sure if I wanted to read it. Now I might. And old photos are incredibly creepy.

  • Jennifer Brinkmeyer
    April 21, 2015

    I love the format that Riggs is playing with via photography. It seems limiting to say that vintage photos = creepy, but…they totally are!

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