Author: Ransom Riggs
Title:Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children
Narrator: Jesse Bernstein
Publication Info: Random House Audio, 2011
16-year-old Jacob travels to a remote Welsh island to learn more about the shelter that took in his grandfather during World War II. Through some mysterious encounters and time travel he learns that the children at this home were not just refugees, but have magical powers. It’s entertaining fluff and I’m mildly interested in finding out what happens next in the sequels, but I’m not sure if I’m going to invest the time.
Recommended books: The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern, Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore by Robin Sloan, and Beatrice and Virgil by Yann Martel
Author: Sherman Alexie
Narrator: Adam Beach
Publication Info: [Ashland, Ore.] : Blackstone Audio, p2008.
This novel is told from the point-of-view of “Zits,” a teenager of Native American heritage being passed through the foster care system and acting out in response. After growing increasingly and gruesomely violent, Zits is magically transported into other peoples’ bodies at different times in history including an FBI agent working against the indigenous rights movement, an Indian child at the time of the Battle of Little Big Horn, an Indian tracker working for the 19th-century U.S. Army, a pilot who trained an Islamic terrorist, and his own father. These experiences help him learn the effects of violence both a personal decision and societal impact. This is a pretty grim book but Alexie’s characterization of Zits brings an element of humor as well. The conclusion of the book is a bit corny, but I think it’s an effective story reflecting on some serious issues in American history and today.
Recommended books: Slam by Nick Hornby, Every Day by David Levithan, and Waylaid by Ed Lin.