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Andrea K Höst

Australian writer of science fiction and fantasy.
The Cavendish Home For Boys and Girls - Claire Legrand,  Sarah Watts Victoria is not a nice girl. She's proud, enjoys her own superiority, lives by the rules, always wants things to be just so. Her goals are to be top of the class, to bring home report cards full of A's, to be feared and respected, to be praised. Friends hold no interest for her, but in Lawrence she sees a chance to make herself look even better, by taking on a project, a kind of self-assignment for extra credit.Lawrence, a lonely would-be musician fighting his parents' desire for him to be a dentist, doesn't get much say in the matter.Then Lawrence disappears.Aimed firmly for middle grade readers, this is a story about conforming, and the consequences of being different. In some towns, being different might lead to bullying. In Victoria's town, it leads to Miss Cavendish, a monster in respectable clothing, exploiting the town's desire to look good (which matches Victoria's).Quite a dark story, with no "wave a wand and everyone's better" conclusion. Victoria remains refreshingly herself, even when stepping outside the rules, and her tale kept me entertained, though there were moments where the story lost impetus. Well worth a read, particularly for fans of MG horror, but not quite re-read territory for me.