First off, the time travel explanations were quite confusing. They completely lost me when they started talking about jumping around in loops. And I still don’t understand how time is finally moving forward at the end of the book and yet the peculiars aren’t all rapidly aging and turning into pruny, withered-up bits like that apple. The hollows and wights also caused me some problems. I kept getting them mixed up and forgetting which did what to the peculiars. A picture of an old book with their descriptions or something would've been nice and helpful.
Emma and Jacob’s relationship is also quite disturbing and icky. It seems like it should bother them both a lot more than it did (or at least Jacob, since Emma just seems to want his grandpa back in whatever way she can). Or the fact that she's like 80 years old -- I figured that would deter most teenage boys from sucking face with a woman. She's practically your grandma, dude. Ew.
The pictures were very creepy but added a nice vintage, antiquated feel to the book and made the characters feel more alive. They were all very haunting, especially the twin clown boys -- they gave me the willies. I agree with a lot of other reviewers though, sometimes the pictures seemed forced into the story, like the author liked the picture a lot but wasn't sure how to throw it into the plot.
Overall I thought it was an interesting debut novel. I had to wait months on the hold list to get it from my library and now that I’ve read it I’m glad I didn’t get impatient and just buy it myself. I don’t think I’d read it again -- at least not until the sequel comes out and I've forgotten everything. The book ends with an ominous, looming cliffhanger -- not the kind of cliffhanger that pisses you off with its abruptness and lack of closure, but the kind that you’re just like oh, I wonder what will happen next. Because there’s definitely more adventure to be had by the peculiars and more story to be unraveled. But I'm willing to wait in another long hold list for it. I'm in no hurry.