A Bad Beginning by Lemony Snicket
The three Baudelaire children are orphaned and sent to live with supposed relative, Count Olaf. But find their living situation is miserable and their guardian is only after their inheritance. Although cleverly written, the story is truly unfortunate. The adults portrayed in the books are either imbeciles, villains, or likely to be killed. However, my children enjoyed the story and we ended up reading the entire series.
Snicket, Lemony, and Brett Helquist. The Bad Beginning. Thorndike Press, 2000.