The Cavendish Home for Boys and Girls by Claire Legrand
August 28, 2012
Simon & Schuster Books For Young Readers
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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.
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.
First sentence: “When Victoria Wright was twelve years old, she had precisely one friend. “
Ummm, what did I just read?
The Cavendish Home for Boys and Girls is the most weirdest and creepy YA/MG story I have ever read. Every time I try to think about how I feel about it, a big “whattttttt??” continues to hang over my head. I think I liked it because of the creepy and weird story that totally caught me by surprise? However, at the same time, maybe I didn’t like it? Maybe? See, I can’t even properly convey my feelings because I’m still completely baffled by it. I deem that a good thing.
I really enjoy how bizarre and disturbing this book is. Everything that happened isn’t very straight-forward or normal. The mystery of Lawrence’s disappearance and of Mrs. Cavendish and the home she runs isn’t what I expected; it’s far more jaw-dropping than I had initially thought. The Cavendish Home for Boys and Girls is a reform school that uses very questionable tactics to fix problems in a kid. (For instance, if the parents doesn’t like that their kid is not very good-looking or isn’t focused on their studies, they’ll send them to Mrs. Cavendish). I love that everybody in Belleville (all the parents and Mrs. Cavendish) played a part in what has been going on with the disappearing children; nobody is totally blameless. I would hate to be shipped off to that reform home because it’s a completely fucked up place — from the punishments for disobeying really strict and weird rules to the things that occur or the creatures that live in the house. It absolutely makes me screamish. I just—no thanks.
The disappearance of children have been occurring for years. And it’s not until Victoria Wright enters the picture that we finally get to see what exactly has been going on. Victoria notices that her only friend, Lawrence Prewitt, has disappeared and also notices that all the adults are acting really strangely. I don’t particularly like Victoria because she’s, how I should say, a brat and grated on my nerves. She’s a perfectionist, smart, and incredibly stuck up. She views other kids as being “beneath” her. Her only friend Lawrence started off as a project for her to fix up since he was an outcast who had gray hairs already growing from his head. I had a big problem with how she approached situations, which inspired me to write this rather mean letter to her. (I know I’m hard on a twelve year old. :P) She’s totally someone I would not even interact with because of her attitude and because how different she is to me when I was her age. Despite my dislike for her, I like seeing how flawed she is, how confident she is, and how she dealt with emotions that were totally foreign to her (ie. caring for people she wouldn’t have given another thought to) through this ordeal. She’s a different type of heroine that knows what she wants. I can’t really fault her for that.
I consider The Cavendish Home for Boys and Girls a kind of frightening, yet kind of refreshing book in a “oh shit, what the fuck is happening. Gahhh, it’s so messed up and I am shivering because creepiness!” way. It actually left me dazed, trying to figure out what I just read. And I say to that, bravo!
Amber @ Books of Amber says
This sounds AWESOME! I love a good creepy story, and the fact that this is middle grade makes it even better.
Jade @ Bits & Bobs says
I’ve had this book on my wishlist for a little while now but haven’t seen too many reviews of it… I’m glad to have found another. I like books that you don’t entirely know what to think of them… Always interesting. Thanks for sharing your thoughts.
Jessika @ Tangled Up in Reading says
This sounds deliciously creepy! And I love that cover!
I love the creepiness! I am going to have to check this out!
Missie @ A Flurry of Ponderings
Charlene @ Bookish Whimsy says
I have this ebook to read but now I’m almost afraid to read it! :) I am intrigued by what is going on in the school though, so I hope I will be able to get over Victoria’s smugness and enjoy the story! (I thought your letter to her was hilarious!) Great review!