The Peculiars by Maureen Doyle McQuerry

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The Peculiars by Maureen Doyle McQuerry

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Category: Teens
Rating: 4/5
Reviewer: Catherine Bakes
Reviewed by Catherine Bakes
Summary: Lena Mattacascar doesn't understand why her hands and feet are so long and awkward. Her Grandmother tells her she's got goblin in her, and takes after her Father, who disappeared when she was a child. Lena sets off in search of her Father, who was last seen heading for Scree, an untamed and mysterious place said to be home to people with unnatural physical features. Was Lena's Father a Peculiar? And what does that make her?
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 368 Date: May 2012
Publisher: Amulet Books
External links: Author's website
ISBN: 978-1419701788

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Lena's Father left when she was a child, disappearing North to the dangerous and mysterious wilderness called Scree where The Peculiars live - people with unnatural physical features. Lena, herself, has unnaturally long and awkward hands and feet which makes her an easy target for bullies. But Lena wants to know more about herself, why has she got these hands and feet? Is it because she has 'goblin blood' like her bitter Grandmother tells her?

On her eighteenth birthday Lena decides to leave her comfortable home and head North to Scree to try and find her Father and herself. On the way she meets Jimson Quiggley, who is travelling North too for a new job as a Librarian for the inventor Mr. Beasley. After the train is stopped by criminals, Lena meets Thomas Saltre, and when he finds out who Lena's father is he convinces her to spy on Jimson and Mr. Beasley. But what is going on at Zephyr House? And what about the strangely shaped people who are seen going in, but never come out?

This is an original and fun book. The plot is original; I've never read anything like it. It's well paced, adventurous and quite dark in places. The idea of the Peculiars was interesting - a lot like us but with differences like wings, elongated limbs. They seemed to me like the midway point between humans and the supernatural. Lena was a good strong female lead, and I liked her a lot. She was independent and confident, though she was vulnerable due to her differences. Jimson is a lovely character - he's likeable, stubborn and loyal. An all around good guy! As for Thomas Saltre, I thought from the start he was an idiot.

What really made this book a bit special for me was when it was set, which was an alternative 1800s and due to this had a few historical references to things that really happened during this time, such as the first aircraft, which was steam powered. I liked that I learnt real things while I was reading.

Overall, although it did take a little while to get going, once it did it took off. This is definitely a book to read if you want something different from the normal Teen fantasy.

Thank you to the publishers for sending me a copy of this book.

For more strong, independent female leads try Matched by Ally Condie or Everneath by Brodi Ashton. If you're looking for mystery and danger try Partials by Dan Wells

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Buy The Peculiars by Maureen Doyle McQuerry at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy The Peculiars by Maureen Doyle McQuerry at


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