Standalone. Simon & Schuster Books (August 2012) Library
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.
Victoria likes everything just so. She likes organization, studying, and making sure her best friend Lawrence is doing what he is supposed to. Her grades, ever immaculate, have been always something she's had that make her parents proud of her. But, when Victoria discovers a B placed next to one of her classes all she can think about is finding a way to change her grade. She needs to make sure that her parents don't find out because without everything being simply perfect in her life who is she? Her stress gets to her enough that she disregards Lawrence's rather odd behavior and when she discovers him missing she feels awful. Lawrence's disappearance is explained by his parents as him just helping out a relative - she doesn't by it. Everything has been turned upside down ever since she got that B and ever since Lawrence went away. Victoria soon discovers mystery and deceit around The Cavendish Home for Boys and Girls. There is something going on in her town and Mrs. Cavendish is the prime suspect.
I loved Legrand's writing. It fit right in with the story she created. It was spooky and mysterious. I enjoyed most of the story. Even Victoria with her attitude towards perfection was a great character to follow although, she seemed to come to terms with things rather slowly. I loved that Lawrence was basically classified as a misfit. He wasn't good at many subjects other than music. He had a real passion and knew what he wanted out of life. Playing the piano made him happy but everyone else had a problem with it. Victoria nagged him about it (she secretly liked his piano playing) and it drove his parents crazy. Another thing I liked about the story was that it was very reminiscent of Coraline and Breadcrumbs. Mrs. Cavendish could have been Coraline's Other Mother. She even had an affinity for bugs. The way Victoria went after her friend reminded me of how Hazel from Breadcrumbs went on a journey to bring her friend back safely from harm. The only difference was I could tell there was possible rumblings of feelings between Victoria and Lawrence.
I honestly loved most of the story and I've rated it pretty high but as there was a lot of things I enjoyed about the story, there was a good many things I didn't. There were moments in the story that didn't sit too well with me. I don't know if the story was dragging on at some points or what but I had the unsettled feeling that I wished some parts of the story were rewritten. There is something huge I can point out about the book I didn't enjoy which was the amount of violence it had for an MG book. I mean Mrs. Cavendish was pure evil! She would make people live their worst nightmares and get rid of their "problems" in a horrible way. She would whip their hands until they were bleeding which unrealistically no one talked about after it occurred. I mean your hand must be stinging at least and you don't mention it at all? The Cavendish Home for Boys and Girls gets really dark very suddenly and if you don't like that type of book I wouldn't advise you to read it. If you are okay with the grim situations in this story than you might think it's fantastic and very much like Coraline with its own twists.