Welcome to the website of Claire Legrand, author of fantasy and science fiction books for children and teens!
Claire’s first novel, The Cavendish Home for Boys and Girls, is available now from Simon & Schuster Books For Young Readers. You can read the first chapter below!
Her second novel, The Year of Shadows, is available now from Simon & Schuster BFYR!
Her third novel, Winterspell, a re-telling of The Nutcracker, releases Fall 2014 from Simon & Schuster BFYR!
She is also one of the four authors behind The Cabinet of Curiosities, an anthology of creepy short stories for middle grade readers coming May 27, 2014 from Greenwillow Books/HarperCollins!
Be sure to explore Claire’s blog for giveaways, ramblings, and unicorn-related fun! (If you’re REALLY serious about unicorns, you should check out the UNICORNS page. Then you should talk to Claire on Twitter about it because it’s pretty much her favorite topic of conversation. Well, that and tacos.)
The Year of Shadows
AVAILABLE NOW from Simon & Schuster Books For Young Readers
Olivia Stellatella is having a rough year.
Her mother left, her neglectful father — the maestro of a failing orchestra — has moved her and her grandmother into his dark, broken-down concert hall to save money, and her only friend is Igor, an ornery stray cat.
Just when she thinks life couldn’t get any weirder, she meets four ghosts who haunt the hall. They need Olivia’s help — if the hall is torn down, they’ll be stuck as ghosts forever, never able to move on.
Olivia has to do the impossible for her shadowy new friends: Save the concert hall. But helping the dead has powerful consequences for the living . . . and soon it’s not just the concert hall that needs saving.
Praise for The Year of Shadows
“As in The Cavendish Home for Boys and Girls (2012), Legrand shows twin knacks for creating creepy supernatural elements and thoroughly scary experiences for her central characters.” – Kirkus Reviews
“Legrand . . . has created a horror-tinged tale of triumph over loss and the destructive nature of hopelessness, that is full of well-rounded characters, a spooky gothic mood, and eerie glimpses into the past lives of the ghosts.” – Booklist
“The characters are well drawn; the specters are particularly appealing. At its heart, this not-too-scary ghost story is about relationships and repairing the hurt that people cause one another.” – School Library Journal
“The blend of spooky but mostly harmless thrills, and family drama makes for a compelling storyline, and Olivia’s grief over her mother’s departure and her subsequent anger at her father are both realistic and relatable. Olivia is likable even at her snarkiest, and the ways in which she comes to care for the ghosts and even a few living people are sometimes touching. The secret behind the shade’s existence adds a bit of complexity to the missing mother story, and the happy ending feels well deserved for a central character who has had her fair share of sadness.” – Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books
“Claire Legrand’s fantastically spooky The Year of Shadows will keep you turning its pages well into the night, even though the floorboards are creaking and funny shapes lurk in the corner of your eye. Though we soon see that sometimes ghosts are the least of the things that haunt us, the book assures us that with spirit and hope we can create light in the most shadowy of places. Also, like all the best books, it has a really great cat.” – Anne Ursu, author of Breadcrumbs and The Real Boy
“A sad, happy, strange book, with some of the most memorable ghosts I’ve ever read. It’s full of shadows, but it’s also full of sparks and light and big, glowing scenes, and while it’ll break your heart more than once, it somehow manages to glue it all back together by the end. I loved it.” – Stefan Bachmann, author of The Peculiar and The Whatnot
“Dear, fellow readers. I needn’t have worried about a sophomore slump – because The Year of Shadows? It is all kinds of awesome. It’s awesome and powerful in a very different way than Cavendish; while there are ghosts and horrific elements, The Year of Shadows isn’t really a horror novel, per se. It’s a resonant book about love, and loss, and an angry, hurt girl caught in the middle of it all. And I freaking loved every second of it.” – The Book Smugglers
“Author Claire Legrand has a winning heroine in the tough-talking, internally fragile Olivia, whose sarcastic narrative voice is engaging and emotionally real as she makes many unexpected discoveries and survives harrowing adventures.” – Common Sense Media
“Legrand’s expert writing goes straight through the flesh, the bones, and the heart.” – The Midnight Garden
“It’s a novel full of magic, mystery, life, and family. If you enjoy MG novels with a dark vibe that manages to be both sad and beautiful, this is one you should put on your list!” – Xpresso Reads
“Claire Legrand’s sophomore novel features lovely writing, both sassy and creepy ghosts, and a heartwarming tale of learning to let people in.” – YA Books Central
“Any book that handles loss and longing as beautifully as this book deserves to be read.” – Bookshelvers Anonymous
“What a lovely surprise this book is. . . . Even now, having read it, I still find it defies easy categorization, but I can tell you this: this story made me smile and made me cry, and just owned me start to finish. A lovely, lovely story.” – BookYurt
“Olivia’s journey to healing, forgiving and understanding is a marvelous spooky time!” – Northshire Bookstore
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a NYPL Best Book of the Year, 2012
available now from Simon & Schuster Books For Young Readers
Praise for Cavendish:
“The Cavendish Home for Boys and Girls is weirdly charming and creepy. I loved the intrepid girl hero Victoria and her determination to save her best friend from the scariest Home ever. An enormously fun–and shivery–read.” – Sarah Prineas, author of The Magic Thief series
“A heartwarming friendship tale . . . A thoroughgoing ickfest, elevated by vulnerable but resilient young characters and capped by a righteously ominous closing twist.” – Kirkus Starred Review
“The too-serene-to-be-true town of Belleville harbors some creepy secrets in Legrand’s debut, a sinister and occasionally playful tale of suspense. . . . Legrand gives Victoria’s mission a prickly energy, and her descriptions of the sighing, heaving home—a character in itself—are the stuff of bad dreams.” – Publishers Weekly
“Insidiously creepy, searingly sinister, and spine-tinglingly fun, this book also presents a powerful message about friendship and the value of individuality.” – School Library Journal
“The combination of the Stepford-like town and the atmospheric home provide a deliciously creepy backdrop to this precise blend of dark humor and genuine horror. . . . Victoria is . . . oddly endearing, and readers with their own color-coordinated planners will thrill to see her leadership skills and sheer determination save the day.” – Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books
” . . . an amazingly fun and creepy read . . . a beautifully written, gleefully horrific novel that is perfect for readers young and old. . . . this is Horror, yes. But Horror with a Heart.” - The Book Smugglers
“[Mrs.] Cavendish is a villain reminiscent of Miss Trunchbull from Matilda, with her sense of duty to improve unruly children and her mechanisms for punishing them. Legrand’s third-person narrative adopts a proper, know-it-all attitude for Victoria’s story, which makes for a hilarious read-aloud. Watching the heroine grow throughout the novel may well inspire readers to accept others, despite their oddities; it’s a theme sounded in an entertaining fashion. Readers will anticipate Claire Legrand’s next flight of fancy.” – Shelf Awareness
“The Cavendish Home for Boys and Girls is funny, compelling, and seriously, deeply creepy . . . First-time novelist Claire Legrand is an excellent, imaginative writer . . . “ – Common Sense Media
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