Author: Claire Legrand
Published: August 28, 2012
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers
Genre: Children's Fantasy
Rating: 5 stars
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“But it's hard to leave a place when you're tied to it by fear, when it's broken you with fear, when it's all you've ever known.”My Thoughts
― Claire Legrand, The Cavendish Home for Boys and Girls
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. (Goodreads)
The Cavendish Home for Boys and Girls was such a spooktacular, shiver-inducing book. All of your childhood fears, from creepy crawlies to failure to the dark, are brought to life in this dark fantasy. Well, these are still fears held by many adults, making it the perfect book for readers of all ages, not just children. Although it's reminiscent of Coraline, The Cavendish Home for Boys and Girls had its own unique, twisted plot.
Victoria was the awe-inspiring heroine of The Cavendish Home for Boys and Girls. As her name suggests, she is obsessed with winning. Calling her a perfectionist would be an understatement. She may have a screw loose. Given her parents' and the town's need for perfection, I can understand why she is so anal about EVERYTHING. She may be snobbish and obsessive compulsive, but I really came to admire her as the story progressed. She proves her dedication to her friend Lawrence, and I loved her bravery and spunk. She had her fears, but she is strong enough to overcome them and continue to fight evil.
Lawrence was an amusing character, with his skunk hair, untucked shirt, and musical obsession. I found his imperfections endearing, and I loved Victoria and Lawrence's friendship. They seemed to have a hard time making friends so their close friendship was touching. The other children were just as adorable, and I cheered them on, wanting them to escape Ms. Cavendish's clutches.
The Cavendish Home for Boys and Girls was so creepily wonderful; I could not get enough of it. The town of Belleville, literally translating to beautiful town, was all perfection. It reminded me of the town from The Stepford Wives. The townspeople were endlessly fascinating, with their oddities and freaky behavior. Victoria was the intrepid explorer, investigating her friend's disappearance like Nancy Drew. It was such a delightful read despite the creepy factor and the bugs on the pages. Seriously. There are bugs drawn on the pages and all inside the covers. I was almost hyperventilating. And the villain, Ms. Cavendish, was truly frightening, as were her goonies. But the scariest thing of all was the darkness that seemed to lurk everywhere, affecting the weather and the people. Not to mention the home itself was scary on so many levels.
While not all of my questions were answered, they didn't need to be. Usually, I need an explanation, but I think leaving some things unanswered in this book works. It leaves some mystery and the horror of the unknown. It definitely left me finishing the book with goosebumps. I would recommend The Cavendish Home for Boys and Girls to anyone who loves dark fantasy reads and wants a book that will get them into the Halloween spirit.