Recently, somewhere, I came across Winterspell by Claire Legrand. It was published at the end of September, and when I read the synopsis of the story, it sounded like something I’d want to read. Of course there is a waiting list at my library (shout out to @PlanoLibrary!), so, as I do sometimes, I decided to read something else by the author whilst waiting for my title to be available. I was not disappointed.
Briefly: Victoria likes order. Clean room, shining hair, perfect schoolwork. She’s competitive in all aspects of her life. Messy things like untucked shirts, bad grades and friends are not part of her universe. Except for Lawrence, though he’s more of a project than a friend. He’s unkempt, has a grey streak in his hair akin to a skunk’s and he only cares about music.
Belleville is the kind of perfect town whose citizens are the right sort of people. So Victoria fits in; Lawrence does not. And then he goes missing. And then Victoria realizes that other “messy” children have gone missing. And no one seems to notice or care. What is going on?
All answers seem to be waiting at The Cavendish Home for Boys and Girls.
Didja Like It?: I love books like this. Sometimes, it seems you have to put in a lot of effort with books; they make you work for it, with the outcome not always rosy (ie, it is not worth it). This was one of those books that effortlessly pulled me in immediately and gave me a great, immersive read. Uncovering the mystery in this town, why the parents, other adults and most of the children are seemingly oblivious to plight of their children/classmates was a treat. There’s the sour neighbor with the obnoxious dog; the new teacher who maybe sees more than he should; the adults who smile a little bit too much; and the recurring warning to be careful.
Anything Else to Mention?: There are lots of beetle-y type bugs mentioned throughout the story…so the fact that the publisher thought to include insect endpapers and pictures of bugs on the actual pages is a great touch that adds to the creepy crawly atmosphere. There are also actual illustrations! What a delight.
To Read or Not To Read: While it can be a little gruesome at times (but that’s the point), it is the perfect choice to read anytime (especially as we head into Halloween). And then there’s that ending…
The Cavendish Home For Boys and Girls by Claire Legrand was published August 28, 2012 by Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers. Ink and Page picked this book up from the library. So there.
Genre: Young Adult/Middle Grade Fiction Fantasy Mystery
Ages: 10 and up
You Might Want to Know: A little gruesomeness. But it’s all good.