Actual rating 3.5Well, hello for the first time in a long time dear readers.I apologise from the bottom of my heart for my absence but life happened and I needed to take some time. But I did get some reading done whilst I was gone. And of the books I have read lately there have been precious few that I have actually been excited for in any way, shape or form. And one of the few is actually the middle grade horror-esque yarn by Clare Legrand, The Cavendish Home for Boys and Girls.Now I waited for this book to come out… for an age (why in the hell does Australia take so long to get absolutely anything from the states?). And when I first started reading it, I tore into it with the ferocity of a hungry piranha that happens across an unwary piece of meat… except, y’know… I didn’t eat the book.I was absorbed in the simple, yet beautiful way that Ms Legrand composed her story. With the way that she crafted the air of tension and unease that permeated the opening with children vanishing and then reappearing after a time… different. Yet despite the obvious skill that was used to weave a world of dark mysteries, I never felt truly engaged.Our young heroine is Victoria; she is for all intents and purposes, the class swot. The brain if you will. And she despises anything that negates, tarnishes or in any way throws in to doubt her status of perfection. And I just could not relate to her. I didn’t care for her, she’s cold, she’s aloof, and she’s so wrapped up in the minutiae of the world that she doesn’t comprehend others. She is one of those kids who doesn’t have friends, she has projects. And I do suspect that that is the point of her as a character. To be a stark contrast to the, comparatively speaking, normality of the children who are taken.But after the first few chapters is when it all starts to get a bit weird. We follow Victoria’s investigation into the strange and hidden secret of her towns history and to that of the orphanage that sits atop a small hill on a road like that of many a well to do community. And the weirdness takes on a darker edge, an edge of myth meeting startling reality in a way that, if I were younger and much less jaded, would probably have creeped me out rather than scared me silly, because that is the crux of this story.It’s not a scare your pants off kind of childish horror that a series from the 90’s *cough*goosebumps*cough* wanted to be, but is more a psychological thriller for pre-teens… which then has monsters and bugs and creepy assed fricking marionettes and lots of other things that are scary as all hell to kids. I enjoyed this book… not as much as I was hoping but still a lot, however it fell into that trap that so often does befall books recently…When I was reading it, I didn’t really want to stop. Yet when I put it down, I didn’t really want to pick it back up again either… Not for any particular reason other than a great sense of… meh. It wasn’t that it was bad, honestly it was better crafted than a lot of fiction for younger readers… ah that reminds me (wanders off to continue stamping on Alice in Zombieland “I STILL HAVEN’T FORGIVEN YOU, YOU PIECE OF SHIT!”).Where was I? Erm… ah right, it IS, and I cannot emphasise this enough, probably the single most creepy middle grade book I have ever read. And it IS readable to much older audiences (looks at his greying hair in the mirror… I’m only 25 ffs, why so much grey?) but if you want my opinion, this book would be best served to all by reading it, in an appropriately dramatic fashion, to your children before bedtime… wait, you don’t want to creep your kids out before bed? That’s not normal!? Oh… right… that must just be me then.I do recommend this book, but try to read it on a cold rainy day, when there is little else to do and you’ll probably make it through in one sitting, because otherwise… you’ll just get distrac… oh look, shiny… pretty foil…Happy reading,Archer.