Recently I was on the lookout for “crossover” books (for older children and younger teens) that fit into the scary / dark / creepy category to share with my colleagues to help answer one of our most popular questions from our patrons. I came up with a list of titles, and as soon as I’d completed the list THIS book came in, and when I read it I realized that it should’ve gone to the top of that list. (FWIW, Doll Bones by Holly Black also looks like a strong contender for that list, but it just came out so I haven’t read it yet).
The Cavendish Home For Boys and Girls by Claire Legrand is one of the best crossover books I’ve read in years, and it would be a great book to put into the hands of any readers who loved Coraline by Neil Gaiman because it has a similarly dark and creepy feel. And while the reading level is appropriate for older children and younger teens, the story is so engaging and well-written that it can entice older readers (even grownups!) who enjoy scary stories. Oh, and while right now the book is only available in hardcover (so you should each get at least one copy for your collections NOW), it’s coming out in paperback in August (so you can order more copies to satisfy more readers!)
Victoria is as close to perfect as a girl can get. Her hair, her clothes, her manners, her grades, everything has always been perfect. One of the only things about Victoria that isn’t perfect is her friendship with with a boy named Lawrence, because Lawrence isn’t perfect at all. Lawrence is quiet, and shy, and awkward, and always going around looking messy with his shirt untucked. He’s really kind of embarrassing. He’s definitely not the kind of friend a perfect girl like Victoria should have. But then one day Lawrence disappears, and nobody seems to care. It’s almost like the other kids and teachers don’t even remember him. But Victoria remembers him, and Victoria cares.
As she starts investigating Lawrence’s disappearance, Victoria starts learning about other boys and girls who have gone missing from the same neighborhood. Victoria finds clues that point her towards a weird house in the neighborhood called the Cavendish Home For Boys and Girls. The more she investigates the home, the more she learns about how many of the boys and girls who go there come back looking and acting … different than before.
And Victoria also learns that some of the boys and girls who go to the home never come back at all.