Definitely a young adult novel, although not billed as such. This is like a cross between a Charles Dickens hard luck tale and a Stephen King creepfest. There's a chunk in the middle where it dwells too long on the grave-robbing antics, but otherwise it's quite entertaining. Worth reading just for the weird characters. There's Dolly(man with woman's name), the giant murderer who sleeps underneath the mattress. And Mrs. Sands, the very tall landlady who says everything at maximum volume, even when she's deathly ill. And the dwarf who "drops in" (heh heh) for supper and socks. I really liked Ren, the scrappy little one-handed kleptomaniac orphan boy. He does bad things, but he has a conscience and is always trying to make it up to people after he steals from them or hurts them.Hannah Tinti has a bizarre imagination. I would read another book from her. Now I want to read The Lives of the Saints just to see what people can be made to believe when it's put in a religious context.