Hollow City: Miss Peregrine's Peculiar Children, Book 2

Book review by
Mary Eisenhart, Common Sense Media
Hollow City: Miss Peregrine's Peculiar Children, Book 2 Book Poster Image
Popular with kids
Gripping, creepy sequel time-travels to 1940s London.

Parents say

age 14+
Based on 3 reviews

Kids say

age 12+
Based on 14 reviews

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this book.

Educational Value

As Jacob and his friends travel through time and space, they often find themselves in the London Underground in different eras, leading to interesting comparisons and historical insight. They also experience life during World War II, from children forced to evacuate the cities and leave their families to the terror of the Blitz.

Positive Messages

Strong messages about staying loyal to your loved ones -- and figuring out how to resolve issues when your obligations to different people conflict. Also, messages about showing courage and resolve in terrifying situations, learning that everyone's "peculiar" talents are important, and how to work together. 

Positive Role Models & Representations

Conflicted about his responsibilities to his parents in the present day and his mission to save his grandfather's friends in the past, Jacob struggles with his conscience and with monsters as he continues to progress from spoiled, aimless rich kid to "hollow"-slaying hero. Love interest Emma takes the lead in keeping the other kids safe, and super-powerful Bronwyn uses her strength to protect them. All the kids are resolute, determined, and skilled at using their talents to help save their teacher and avert doom. Many adult characters are evil and scary, but others, especially the elusive Miss Wren, are wise and benevolent. Random strangers often turn out to be essential allies.


A monster stabs a child to death. Jacob and his companions are in constant danger of being violently killed (as Jacob's grandfather was in Book 1), and they encounter the gory remains of many victims, including the horses of people who helped the kids. World War II is ongoing through most of the story, and the kids are in London when bombs fall on the neighborhood. Encounters with monsters involve weapons, magical and otherwise -- for example, exploding chicken eggs. Many of the vintage photos author Riggs uses to illustrate the story are freakish and grotesque.


Jacob and Emma often sleep together, usually in a group setting, but it's only sleeping. They kiss frequently. One newly met character hopes in vain for Emma to share his bed, and one of the peculiars has an implied flirtation with a girl on the train.


In contrast to the first volume, in which 21st-century Jacob has quite the potty mouth, the language here is 1940s polite, with very occasional "hell" and "dammit." One "screw it."


Jacob's family business is a fictitious drugstore chain called Smart Aid.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

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.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Parent Written byLynsey F. May 11, 2017
This book is exciting and full of adventure! It is a little scary at times but as long as your child doesnt have bad dreams or worry too much about monsters it... Continue reading
Adult Written byvictorianmermaid August 6, 2015

I loved it

I loved it! It has a huge amount of violence and gore, including an impaled little girl. Not for the easily scared or grossed out. For a mature reader.
Teen, 14 years old Written bymusic_and_stuff_11 December 14, 2014

Amazing Eerie Novel!

Hollow City is a great book! The Peculiars are wonderful characters (e.g. Horace becomes braver and Bronwyn is a fantastic mother figure to Olive and the other... Continue reading
Teen, 14 years old Written bycaitann11 August 10, 2014

Great sequel

A bit violent. But an excellent story! Love all the freaky pictures that go with it. I couldn't read it before I went to bed though. (nightmares alert) cou... Continue reading

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?

Book details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love historical fiction and fantasy

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