About the Book: 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.
My Two Cents: This is a perfectly spooky read for October. But underneath that creepy, mysterious exterior are some really lovely and moving themes of familial love, devoted friendship, individuality, and loving people not in spite of their differences, but because of their differences. And I’m always a sucker for a book with some good classical piano woven in.
Grade Level: 4-6 (might be a little too scary for some younger readers)
Claire Legrand’s website, including a soundtrack for scenes in the book
Audio of Rachmaninov playing his Piano Concerto No. 3 (The whole song is amazing, but imagine Victoria humming about the first 20 seconds as she tries to avoid being captured in the spooky home.)
Video of the Faure duet that Victoria and Lawrence play together (this song may appear again later in the story…)
Halloween Gingerbread Mansions–yours could look like the Cavendish Home!
A very rare (and spooky) roach from South America that glows in the dark!
More to Read:
Another spooky book about smart, brave girl who discovers a twisted reality nearby: Coraline by Neil Gaiman
Another adventure book with an insect front and center: Masterpiece by Elise Broach
Another story about friendship in a town where nature is more than what it seems: The Mostly True Story of Jack by Kelly Barnhill
Be sure to check out this great science activity from ecologist and author Heather Hawke that goes right along with this book!