Published: September 18, 2012
Publisher: Greenwillow Books (Harper)
Page Count: 384 pages
Series: The Peculiar, #1
Don't get yourself noticed and you won't get yourself hanged.
In the faery slums of Bath, Bartholomew Kettle and his sister Hettie live by these words. Bartholomew and Hettie are changelings--Peculiars--and neither faeries nor humans want anything to do with them.
One day a mysterious lady in a plum-colored dress comes gliding down Old Crow Alley. Bartholomew watches her through his window. Who is she? What does she want? And when Bartholomew witnesses the lady whisking away, in a whirling ring of feathers, the boy who lives across the alley--Bartholomew forgets the rules and gets himself noticed.
First he's noticed by the lady in plum herself, then by something darkly magical and mysterious, by Jack Box and the Raggedy Man, by the powerful Mr. Lickerish . . . and by Arthur Jelliby, a young man trying to slip through the world unnoticed, too, and who, against all odds, offers Bartholomew friendship and a way to belong.
Part murder mystery, part gothic fantasy, part steampunk adventure, "The Peculiar" is Stefan Bachmann's riveting, inventive, and unforgettable debut novel.
"I KNOW YOU'RE HERE, CHILD NUMBER TEN. I CAN FEEL YOU."
Stefan Bachmann's debut novel, THE PECULIAR, was absolutely stunning! THE PECULIAR is quite possibly the best middle grade novel I've ever read, and it will be adored by readers of any age.
I knew that I wanted to read this book ever since I heard of it. So when Harper offered it on Edelweiss, I pounced on it. Thanks for approving me, Harper! And when I started reading this book, I was sucked in from the very first few words. And I didn't stop reading until I was halfway through the book. It's that fantastic.
The writing style was mind-blowing. Stefan Bachmann created this excellent world that immediately grabbed me and wouldn't let me go. And I loved every second of it. With our main protagonist, Bartholomew, we go on an epic and wonderful adventure through the faery slums of Bath, trying to find a friend when we all desperately need one.
Bartholomew was such a great character. He's funny, sly, and different, which makes it all the better. Bachmann made his character so vivid, I felt as if he were real. I know, sounds crazy right? If you read this book (WHICH YOU MUST), you will understand exactly what I mean.
After finishing THE PECULIAR, I knew that this was the best middle-grade novel that I have ever read. No other book has made me lose myself into a charming world; made me think about things I had never consider; and most of all, it made me think of people, and how everything little action that we do affects them in more ways that anyone can ever imagine. I feel that THE PECULIAR is a novel about friendships, and the outcasts who are in need of one, even when everyone around them won't give them a chance. And with all the other crazy events happening in the book, I loved that this book taught a few lessons to the reader.
THE LADY IN PLUM. Oh wow, was she super creepy! Bachmann gave her a voice that made me shudder and give me chills. And I even actually started watching behind me just to see if someone -- like her -- was staring at me. Seriously, she is one of the most disturbing characters I've ever read about.
And this storyline was something totally different than what I've been reading lately, and this is totally a great thing! I've never read about faeries in a victorian Bath, much less a story of faeries getting hanged for who they are.
AND CAN I JUST SAY, I AM SO HAPPY THAT THERE IS A SEQUEL. THE PECULIAR leaves on a big cliffhanger, and once I finished it, I cringed inside because I thought that there was no sequel. And finally, I saw that a sequel was listed on Goodreads, and I almost jumped around the room with happiness! Bring on 2013! I'm ready!
(And did you know that Stefan Bachman is only like 18?! That blows my mind. Way to go, Stefan!)
Overall, you must read THE PECULIAR. This novel is magical, whimsical, fun, dark, daring, and most of all, brilliant. I can't recommend this book enough!
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(By the way, here's the fantastic trailer to THE PECULIAR! Stefan Bachmann composed all the music!)