The Cavendish Home For Boys and Girls

Author: Claire Legrand 
Pages: 343 
Publisher: Simon & Schuster 
Format: Hardcover 
My Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Summary (from Goodreads): Victoria hates nonsense. There is no need for it when your life is perfect. The only smudge on her pristine life is her best friend Lawrence. He is a disaster—lazy and dreamy, shirt always untucked, obsessed with his silly piano. Victoria often wonders why she ever bothered being his friend. (Lawrence does too.)

But then Lawrence goes missing. And he’s not the only one. Victoria soon discovers that The Cavendish Home for Boys and Girls is not what it appears to be. Kids go in but come out…different. Or they don’t come out at all. 

If anyone can sort this out, it’s Victoria—even if it means getting a little messy.  

My Summary: Victoria's life is prim and proper and everything has its place. She gets up at exactly half past six every morning, gets ready for school, and marches off to another day of perfection at a school where she's the top of the class. Her life is perfect, and that's the way Victoria likes it.

Until her best friend Lawrence - the only messy part of her life - goes missing, and strange things begin happening all around her. More and more children appear to be disappearing every day - and being forgotten by everyone who ever knew them. Victoria knows that there's something strange going  on, and she's going to get to the bottom of it. She'll bring back Lawrence and the other children... even if she has to 'disappear' as well.

My Thoughts: I absolutely adored this novel, and I can't believe I got it for only five bucks (Canadian readers: look for it in the bargain section of Chapters!). This was one of the best MG novels I've read this year, hands down. 

Legrand's writing pulled me into the story right away and kept me hooked until the last page of the epilogue. The tone of the story itself was almost gothic, and the entire thing was just so creepy... I loved it. Certain elements reminded me a lot of Neil Gaiman's Coraline, which is one of my all-time favourites. And you can call this a children's book all you want, but I was more than a little scared while reading. The writing read a lot like prose at times, and the author's descriptions of The Home and Victoria's neighbourhood made me feel like I was right there with her.

Victoria was a great character. She wasn't easy to like, but she was almost so rude and sure of herself that you couldn't help but like her. And her concern for Lawrence was endearing. You could tell she really cared about her friend and was willing to do whatever it took to find him and bring him home safe. 

By the end, I had to turn the lights on. 

Final Thoughts: I definitely recommend this novel to anyone who is a fan of creepy MG and YA - fans of Coraline and Neil Gaiman will love it!

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