A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this book.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Hollow City is part horror tale, part cosmic conflict, part teen romance, and part coming-of-age saga. Teens who love creepy stories tinged with lofty adventure, first love, time travel, and historical adventure will happily devour this. The second installment in Ransom Riggs' series that began with the best-selling Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children (now also a graphic novel, with a movie in the works, set for Sept. 2016 release) continues the adventures of 21st-century rich kid Jacob Portman in 1940, where he's joined forces with the "peculiar" kids who were once his late grandfather's friends. As in the first book, Hollow City uses real, often grotesque or creepy antique photos to tell its story. Book 1's frequent strong language is absent here, and sexual content is limited to flirtation and intense kissing that's described more emotionally than physically. Lurking hollows and wights have the kids in constant danger, and human and animal characters, including children and innocents, are viciously killed. Weaponry ranges from guns and knives to exploding chicken eggs.
- Parents say
- Kids say
What's the story?
Following the dramatic conclusion of Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children, Jacob, Emma, and the other strangely powered kids are outside their time loop, on the run in 1940s England from the "wights" and "hollows" bent on taking over the world. Along with them is their guardian and headmistress, Miss Peregrine, who's stuck in her bird form after being captured by evil beings. Restoring her requires the aid of one of her fellow "ymbrynes," but they've all vanished. The time-and-space-hopping quest to heal Miss Peregrine takes the kids to London, which, between the Blitz and the villains, has become the HOLLOW CITY and puts them and those who befriend them in terrible danger. Meanwhile, Jacob grapples with the conflict between his new world, with monsters to fight and a girl he loves, and the one he left behind, where his parents are frantically worried about him.
Is it any good?
Imaginative and gripping, Hollow City keeps the pages turning and raises a steady stream of ethical dilemmas. When is a selfless act the right thing to do, and when is it destructive? What happens when you can't do right by one person you love without harming another? As the second installment in a series, it manages the challenges of moving the story along while leaving plenty of conflict and unresolved issues for future books. The strange antique photos, along with the typical creepiness of monster tales, make for a level of weirdness that may be too intense for some readers and will have huge appeal for others.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the ongoing appeal of time-travel stories. If you could travel to another era, would you? What if it meant you couldn't come back?
With Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children, author Ransom Riggs pioneered the notion of developing a story from a collection of odd antique photos. Do you think the photos enhance the story, or would it work just as well without them?
How do you deal when you have different obligations to different people and they come into conflict? How do you decide what's right?
- Author: Ransom Riggs
- Genre: Fantasy
- Topics: Magic and Fantasy, Adventures, Friendship, History, Misfits and Underdogs, Monsters, Ghosts, and Vampires
- Book type: Fiction
- Publisher: Quirk Books
- Publication date: January 14, 2014
- Publisher's recommended age(s): 13 - 17
- Number of pages: 400
- Available on: Nook, Audiobook (unabridged), Hardback, iBooks, Kindle
- Last updated: November 27, 2019
Our editors recommend
For kids who love historical fiction and fantasy
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