The Cavendish Home for Boys and Girls


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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 Mrs. Cavendish’s children’s home 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.


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

” . . . a terrifying tale laced with chilling secrets and stunning revelations.”New York Public Library’s Children’s Books 2012: 100 Titles for Reading and Sharing

” . . . 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 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

“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

Written in brisk prose reminiscent of Roald Dahl’s, The Cavendish Home for Boys and Girls showcases a gratifyingly smart debut by author Claire Legrand. The clever writing assumes that its readers are intelligent thinkers, with vibrant verbs and grim humor marching the story purposefully along with its spirited heroine and her quest.” – The Midnight Garden

. . . a creepy crawly story that’s perfect for any young horror fan.” – Novel Sounds

This book is dark and frightening and twisted and seriously freaky. . . . Cavendish examines what might happen if rules, the keeping of rules, and the protection of How Things Should Be go too far.” – Bookshelvers Anonymous

If Stephen King wrote for children I imagine it would turn out a little something like this.” – More Than Just Magic

Recommended for: fans of Neil Gaiman’s Coraline and classic children’s horror, anyone who may find themselves influenced by beautiful cover art and extremely confident girl heroines, and readers of all ages who like their stories a little bizarre, a lot dark, and all the way clever.” – The Adventures of Cecelia Bedelia


My Cavendish Playlist

Music is a huge part of my writing process — especially film scores.

While outlining and drafting, I compile a playlist that follows the story scene-by-scene, basically providing me with a musical template as a foundation for the actual writing.

Below, you’ll find a few selections from my playlist for The Cavendish Home for Boys and Girls. I hope discovering this music gives you a richer sense of the story!


“Where Is Mr. Barrie?” from Finding Neverland by Jan A. P. Kaczmarek:

“Ballet De Suburbia (Suite)” from Edward Scissorhands by Danny Elfman:

“Victor’s Deception” from The Corpse Bride by Danny Elfman:

“Dolly Suite, Op. 56, II. Mi-A-Ou” by Gabriel Fauré:

“Up and Out” from Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Danny Elfman:

“Dog Poo” from Milk by Danny Elfman:

“Shrewd Thespians” from The Brothers Grimm by Dario Marianelli:

“Victoria’s Escape” from The Corpse Bride by Danny Elfman:

“Baby Monitor” from Signs by James Newton Howard:

“The Forest Comes to Life” from The Brothers Grimm by Dario Marianelli:

“Charlie Declines” from Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Danny Elfman:


International Sales

Germany, Heyne

Brazil, Authentica Editora (Gutenberg)


Extras & Interviews

More about the inspiration for Cavendish, the characters of Cavendish, and my writing influences

An interview with Cavendish illustrator Sarah Watts

Insights about some of my favorite tracks from my Cavendish playlist, and how they helped me write the book here, here, and here

An interview with Simon & Schuster art director Lucy Ruth Cummins

A conversation with Cavendish heroine Victoria Wright and her best friend Lawrence Prewitt

And here, a conversation with Mrs. Cavendish herself, and her gardener, Mr. Alice

The role of music in Cavendish, and in my own life

A podcast interview with the bloggers at Girls in the Stacks, in which I discuss my inspiration for Cavendish, the process of writing it (and selling it!), and more fun tidbits about those darn bugs (read Cavendish, and you’ll meet them!), as well as sneak peeks into future projects

All about my favorite middle grade heroines, and how they helped me create the character of Victoria Wright

The things that scare me, and how they influenced Cavendish

The challenges — and fun parts! — of writing horror for middle grade readers

A bit about the style, wardrobe, and architecture of practically perfect Belleville, Victoria’s hometown (with pictures!)

With questions specifically for readers, teachers, parents, and librarians — what makes Cavendish a unique reading experience