The Cavendish Home for Boys and Girls
Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers
Victoria is perfect and particular, which has lead her to have only one friend in the whole world, Lawrence. When, like a handful of other kids in the neighborhood, Lawrence suddenly goes missing, Victoria must get to the bottom of it. She becomes suspicious of the Cavendish Home for Boys and Girls, an ominous and mysterious school nearby and takes it upon herself to investigate. The horrors she finds there are beyond what she could have dreamed up and she finds that she’ll not only have to save her friend but also herself.
I have a serious love of children’s horror novels, and Cavendish Home for Boys and Girls is near the top of that list. As far as horror goes, this is one of the most messed up children’s books I have had the pleasure to read. The things that happen in that school, while still being totally middle-grade appropriate, are gross, disturbing, and actually scary. Even as an adult, this book took me back to how I felt when I read The Dollhouse Murders as a kid, which is the litmus test against which I hold every other children’s horror book. Claire LeGrand also hits on so many good horror tropes – creepy houses, confined spaces, killer plants, mystery meat, insects! I could go on but I’ve already said too much.
The illustrations and book design rock to boot.
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