Review: A Study in Charlotte – Brittany Cavallaro

23272028Title: A Study in Charlotte (Charlotte Holmes #1)

Author: Brittany Cavallaro (twitter) (website)

Publisher//Release Date: Katherine Tegen Books// March 1, 2016

Genre: YA, Mystery, Retelling

Source: Purchased

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Synopsis: The last thing Jamie Watson wants is a rugby scholarship to Sherringford, a Connecticut prep school just an hour away from his estranged father. But that’s not the only complication: Sherringford is also home to Charlotte Holmes, the famous detective’s great-great-great-granddaughter, who has inherited not only Sherlock’s genius but also his volatile temperament. From everything Jamie has heard about Charlotte, it seems safer to admire her from afar.

From the moment they meet, there’s a tense energy between them, and they seem more destined to be rivals than anything else. But when a Sherringford student dies under suspicious circumstances, ripped straight from the most terrifying of the Sherlock Holmes stories, Jamie can no longer afford to keep his distance. Jamie and Charlotte are being framed for murder, and only Charlotte can clear their names. But danger is mounting and nowhere is safe—and the only people they can trust are each other.

Rating: 4/5

I feel like I’m finally getting around to reading all these books that I wanted to read last year but never did because of….I don’t know, one dumb reason or another. And A Study in Charlotte is one of those books.

I don’t really have a specific reason why I picked this up at this specific time and place other than I needed a retelling for the Biannual Bibliothon to fill one of the challenges. But, believe me when I say that I do not regret picking this one up.

Let’s break it down:

What I Liked:

  • The World. It’s kind of weird to mention the world in a contemporary novel, but its worth it. Basically its our world, but the characters from Sherlock Holmes’s stories are real and the stories are nonfiction – but the adaptations all still exist. And the various generations Holmes and Watsons – and of course Moriartys – have existed and played their parts over the years.
  • Holmes and Watson and their relationship. I LOVED Holmes and Watson. They were both very likable but very flawed. They both had each other looming over them their entire lives, along with their infamous ancestors and family reputations and finding their own ways. Holmes is very complicated and she covers up a lot with her attitude and vices. And yes, the Holmes drug use from the original is here – they make it plain from very early. There’s another thing involving Holmes that I didn’t see coming that I think also plays very much into why she is the way she is. I also love the kind of budding romance between them. It was all kinds of adorable and. bluntly, I ship it.
  • Jamie Watson as the Narrator. I’m just throwing this out there because Jamie’s narration made me literally LOL on several occasion. Holmes did as well,with her personal epilogue. Mostly, I just kind of loved Jamie. Sixteen year old me would have a major crush on Jamie. Current me kind of does too.

What I Was “Meh” on:

  • Holmes and Watson’s Relationship. I don’t know but something about how they became friends just rubbed me the wrong way. He seeks her out and they just sort of fall into friendship. It’s InstaFriends. I thought it was weird. Maybe it’s me?
  •  Kind of Confusing Mystery. Bluntly, there’s a lot of minor characters that figure into the mystery that got me a little confused. I wasn’t sure what direction the plot was going to it confused me a bit as to who everyone was – of the minor character – and what role they would end up fulfilling. That being said, the original Holmes stories always confused the hell out of at about the midway point so, no harm no foul.
  • Secondary Characters. They’re kind of bland? I didn’t really get a feel for many of them. Jamie’s Dad, Holmes’s Brother and honestly….that’s it. The rest kind of came off as stock characters that you would find in any mystery or boarding school story. There wasn’t anything bad about them but they weren’t super special. I’m looking forward to finding out more about them in the sequel though.

What I Didn’t Like:

  •  Pacing. There were moments that I felt the story drag a little, especially in the middle.. I would put the book down and I would need a little convincing to pick it back up. Once I did, it was fine and I was back in the story. But there wasn’t always a drive to know what was going to happen next and the brakes I was taking were a little off-putting because I had to take time to remember what was going to when put it down.

tl;dr: A Study in Charlotte is a solid retelling of the with a teenaged Holmes and Watson with an imaginative setting and a great main duo, but has some pacing issues around the middle. I would say if you like the BBC adaptation of Sherlock or you like a good mystery, I would definitely check this one out.


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