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3.8 4
Young Adult Fiction 229
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THE PECULIARS is a fascinating adventure story. Lena Mattacascar travels to curious lands with determination to find the father who left her when she was a child, and to uncover some of the mystery surrounding Peculiars and her own unusually long hands and feet.

Peculiars are people with uncommon characteristics—wings, for example. These people are deemed soulless by society and most are rounded up and sent to Scree, where they either live in the dangerous free lands, or work in the mines in terrible, life-threatening conditions.

Our main character, Lena, believes she may be a Peculiar, or at least half Peculiar. Her father left her living in the City with her mother and grandmother when she was young. Lena doesn’t know a lot about him, but her grandmother often refers to him as a “goblin.” Lena then battles with whether or not to take this literally, as it is also commonly used to describe someone who’s a bad person and a troublemaker, and she begins to wonder if she is in fact an actual goblin herself on account of her unusual appearance.

Leaving the City behind, she heads for a small town called Knob Knoster, where she intends to gather supplies and find a guide to Scree. Unfortunately, her purse is stolen, meaning she has to stay in Knob Knoster a lot longer than planned. On her journey she meets Jimson, who is working as a librarian at Zephyr House for Mr Beasley, and Marshal Thomas Saltre, who believes Mr Beasley is breaking the law and lures Lena into helping him. She gets herself into one big tangled mess, and chaos and adventure follows.

The setting is wonderfully imaginative, and there’s a great mix of kooky characters I enjoyed getting to know. Lena’s journey is meaningful and her relationships with others along the way is explored well. I never quite knew who to trust, and I liked that the story kept me wondering right to the very end.
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