A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this book.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that The Cavendish Home for Boys and Girls is funny, compelling, and seriously, deeply creepy. There's a spooky boarding school where, besides teachers who beat and torture the imprisoned students, there are strange creatures, peculiar food, and sinister goings-on. To say nothing of lots and lots of malevolent bugs. But kids who like scary books will go for this tale and its snarky 12-year-old heroine, Victoria, whose self-image as Ms. Perfect evolves over the course of her efforts to save her friend from the school.
- Parents say
- Kids say
What's the story?
Everything is perfect in the town of Belleville, and no one's more perfect than 12-year-old Victoria Wright, the perennial top student in her class. Then Victoria starts to notice that there's something a little strange about the fixed smiles and altered behavior of people all over town. It seems to be connected to a mysterious school, THE CAVENDISH HOME FOR BOYS AND GIRLS, into which all the kids who are less than perfect are vanishing. When her best friend/ongoing project Lawrence, a dreamy, sloppy music lover, vanishes, Victoria makes it her business to find him and bring him back. In the process of dealing with many sinister forces and scary, world-shaking events, including abandonment by her parents, the girl who's gotten by on sheer brains and attitude finds hidden resources in herself, other kids, and maybe the Home itself.
Is it any good?
First-time novelist Claire Legrand is an excellent, imaginative writer, and here she offers readers appealing characters, building suspense, and growing paranoia. The spooky vibe is helped along by Sarah Watts' Gothic black-and-white illustrations, which are both sinister and comical. There's also the frequent bit of food for thought, as when Victoria is suddenly struck by the similarity of her efforts to remake Lawrence and Mrs. Cavendish's transforming kids into smiling robots.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the appeal of horror books and movies. Do you think it's fun to be scared? Why or why not?
Do you think it's better to be perfect and always do what's expected of you, or be yourself even if it's not popular? Why? Does the book make you see this differently?
What would you hate the most if you were sent to the Cavendish Home?
- Author: Claire Legrand
- Illustrator: Sarah Watts
- Genre: Horror
- Topics: Magic and Fantasy, Bugs, Friendship, Misfits and Underdogs, Monsters, Ghosts, and Vampires
- Book type: Fiction
- Publisher: Simon & Schuster
- Publication date: August 28, 2012
- Publisher's recommended age(s): 10 - 17
- Number of pages: 352
- Available on: Nook, Hardback, iBooks, Kindle
- Last updated: July 13, 2017
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