Thursday, September 13, 2012

Review: The Cavendish Home for Boys and Girls by Claire Legrand

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.

At the Cavendish Home for Boys and Girls, you will definitely learn your lesson. A dark, timeless, and heartfelt novel for fans of Coraline and The Mysterious Benedict Society.

While I don’t usually read much middle grade (obviously except for my ridiculous love of Percy Jackson) I have to say that this book spoke to me. There was something about the title and cover that siren-like called to me, telling me I wanted to read this book. Now of course, I know that it was just Mrs. Cavendish and her creepy bugs coercing me.

Let’s start with our headstrong main character. Here are my thoughts in a nutshell: I’d like to think that if Hermione Granger were a Muggle and not a witch, she would be something like Victoria Wright. Victoria has this indefatigable sense of how things should be and if they are not so, then she will correct them. After all, someone has to, right? And on top of everything, she refuses to believe that something so ridiculous as a supernatural phenomenon is going on even with mind-controlled adults and 10-legged bugs that seem to be everywhere. It’s because of all this that Victoria might just be one of my favorite no-nonsense characters ever.

If you keep up with my reviews, you all know I love the creepy like peanut butter loves jelly. But when I picked this book up, there was no way I was expecting to be creeped out, right? I mean it’s a kids book, how creepy can it be? And this would be yet another instance where my foot ends up in my mouth. I was creeped out and a little unnerved in the middle of the day, riding a car. Seriously. As if the Stepfordian parents and the creepy, shiver-tastic bugs weren’t enough, there’s the actual Cavendish mansion that’s just enough House of Leaves to give me PTSD flashbacks.

Despite that, I seriously sat and read this book. I glared at whatever dared to interrupt me and ignored my phone when it beckoned me. The characters, the writing, even technical aspects like the pacing, character and story arc were drop-dead perfect. There are several things I loved so hard, but can’t tell you, because, well, some might consider it spoilery if it’s less than 100 pages from the end and I will not be yelled at for that, so you will have to just read it and find out yourself. Speaking of, the ending was so jaw-drop perfect that I just wanted to stick a bow on it and hang it on my wall.

Similar recommendations: Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs, Cryer’s Cross by Lisa McMann, and a random adult book recommendation, House of Leaves by Mark Danielewski.


  1. I honestly hadn't even considered picking this one up until I read your review! Now I want to go get it right now!!!! Awesome review!!

    Literary Exploration

  2. I loved this one! Glad to see someone else enjoyed it too :D

  3. The Cavendish Home For Boys and Girls by Claire Legrand was a suspenseful story with many skin crawling events. Victoria is an exacting middle school girl who likes everything to be just so. She decides to take on the project of transforming Lawrence, a boy in her grade who plays piano, and always has an untucked shirt. Lawrence becomes Victoria’s only friend until one day he wasn’t there to walk with her to school. Lawrence had gone missing. No one will tell her where he is, so she decides to take matters in her own hands. Victoria soon discovers that Lawrence wasn’t the only student who disappeared. In reality the Cavendish Home for Boys and Girls isn’t what is seemed to be. Most importantly, Victoria finds out that Mrs. Cavendish herself is responsible for the disappearances.