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The Cavendish Home for Boys and Girls by…

The Cavendish Home for Boys and Girls (edition 2012)

by Claire Legrand, Sarah Watts (Illustrator)

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2251551,607 (3.84)16
Title:The Cavendish Home for Boys and Girls
Authors:Claire Legrand
Other authors:Sarah Watts (Illustrator)
Info:Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers (2012), Hardcover, 352 pages
Collections:Your library
Tags:Juvenile Fiction

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The Cavendish Home for Boys and Girls by Claire Legrand


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Based on the cover illustration, I wasn't expecting just how gruesome some of the detailed descriptions at the end of the book. It's a dark middle grade novel with a couple moral twists such as excepting others as they are, and living with the high standards of perfection. "You like things to be just so, no matter what the cost. So does she. So does everyone around here." The book gets a bit long in the middle, but recovers with high suspense. ( )
  standhenry | Jul 16, 2017 |
This book was pretty much as I expected. It didn't haven't any shocking twists and turns (though the epilogue was SPOT ON! I loved it!) I would recommend this book for someone in the middle grade reading level. It's a good story, I've just read it before, you know? Still good, still enjoyable, just not for me. 3.5 out of 5 stars. ( )
  Beammey | Jan 23, 2016 |
Twelve year old Victoria is perfect and practical in every way until she gets a B in music. Not only is it an ugly smudge on her otherwise perfect record, it's a huge personal embarrassment. The only thing that comes close is her best friend, Lawrence. Well, he's more like a 'project' for Victoria to see if she can get him to tuck in his shirt and comb his skunk-like hair and stop obsessing so much about his stupid piano. But when Lawrence goes missing - and no one really seems too worried about it - she suspects it might have something to do with the strange orphanage at the end of the street. She also suspects she might care more about Lawrence than she thought.

This book is nothing if not creepy. Mrs. Cavendish and her Home reminded me a lot of Mr. Leland Gaunt from Stephen King's Needful Things. Both are manipulative and have a real mean streak, but while Gaunt is hell-bent on chaos, Mrs. Cavendish is striving for perfection and order. And if you like a creepy story this might just be right up your alley, but as I read it with my ten-year old daughter I found it a bit too dark. Kirkus Reviews called it a "heartwarming friendship tale," but the "friendship" part was burried under some torture, a little cannibalism, and a whole lot of general creepiness. Victoria isn't exactly an endearing character with her fussiness and superiority - which turns out to be a real parallel with Mrs. Cavendish - but she's likeable enough. And the writing is very good, but for me it was just a little too dark and creepy - for a YA book and my 10-year old, that is. ( )
  J.Green | Aug 26, 2014 |
Victoria Wright has a perfect life in the perfect town of Belleville. A prissy young thing, she is smart, pretty, and lives in a perfectly appointed home with practically perfect parents. In fact, the only thing that isn't perfect in Victoria's life is her "friend," Lawrence, a rather disheveled and odd young boy, but Victoria's friend, nevertheless - perhaps because no one else can suffer her compulsive need for perfection. The fact that her town contains an orphanage of sorts, The Cavendish Home for Boys and Girls, has never given her pause. In fact, no one in Belleville gives it much thought. Run by the charming, beautiful and well-mannered, Miss Cavendish, it somehow blends into the very fabric of the town. However, when Lawrence goes on an unexplained and lengthy trip to visit "a grandmother," Victoria begins to suspect that something in town may be amiss. The Cavendish Home for Boys and Girls may not be what it seems.

Dark and decidedly creepy, The Cavendish Home for Boys and Girls will thrill middle grade readers looking for a good scare. You will be hard pressed to find a more sinister villain than the beautiful Miss Cavendish. Be careful of wishing for perfection. It does not come without a price!

http://shelf-employed.blogspot.com ( )
  shelf-employed | Sep 26, 2013 |

This was a delightful birthday present from Susana (thank you!!!). I had my eye on this book for ages - I'm quite shallow, I'll be the first to admit it, and pretty book covers are my siren's call. Mostly, what ends up happening is that the saying "Don't judge a book by its cover" proves itself right more often than not.

But not with The Cavendish Home for Boys and Girls!
Legrand has a gift for spooky descriptions:

"For a flash of a second, Mr. and Mrs. Prewitt’s pretty smiles changed into enormous, wolfish grins. Mrs. Prewitt’s fingers clutched her bowl so hard that it smashed into pieces.
Hundreds of fat black berries rolled across the floor like bugs. Victoria stared and wondered if they really were bugs, because some of them seemed a bit . . . leggy.

Speaking of bugs, the book has an amazing presentation: scattered throughout its pages you are bound to find creepy bugs that will catch you unaware and freak you out.

But it's not just the spooky descriptions that are wonderful: the characters are incredible. Victoria, in particular, is amazing. She's the model child: perfect grades, perfect looks, perfect manners. So she decides to make sloppy, weird, head-in-the clouds Lawrence her very special project.

Not that he's interested in being her project...

"So, at lunch one day, Victoria marched from her lonely table to Lawrence’s lonely table and said, “Hello, Lawrence. I’m Victoria. We’re going to be friends now.”
Victoria almost shook Lawrence’s hand but then thought better of it because she feared he might very well be infested with lice or something. Instead, she sat down and opened her milk carton, and when Lawrence looked at her through his skunkish hair and said, “I don’t really want to be your friend,” Victoria said, “Well, that’s too bad for you.”

In a spooky, gloomy prose, Legrand explores themes such as friendship and the importance (or unimportance) of conforming to societal expectations. Pretty heavy stuff for a kids' book, but it doesn't feel like that at all, the writing is that masterful!

Also worth mentioning are Sarah Watts' illustrations, that match the eerie atmosphere of the book and are just lovely.

( )
1 vote Isa_Lavinia | Sep 10, 2013 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Legrand, Claireprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Watts, SarahIllustratorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
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Book description
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.
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Practically-perfect twelve-year-old Victoria Wright must lie, sneak, and break the rules when her investigation of the disappearance of her best--and only--friend, Lawrence, reveals dark secrets about her town and the orphanage run by the reclusive Mrs. Cavendish.… (more)

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