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Saturday, January 9, 2016

Review: A Study in Charlotte by Brittany Cavallaro

A Study in Charlotte by Brittany Cavallaro
Series: A Study in Charlotte #1
Publication Date: March 1, 2016
Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books
Young Adult novel
Pages: 336
Genre: Mystery, Retelling
    buy the book from The Book Depository, free delivery
The last thing sixteen-year-old Jamie Watson–writer and great-great-grandson of the John 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 enigmatic, fiercely independent great-great-granddaughter, who’s inherited not just his genius but also his vices, volatile temperament, and expertly hidden vulnerability. Charlotte has been the object of his fascination for as long as he can remember–but from the moment they meet, there’s a tense energy between them, and they seem more destined to be rivals than anything else.Then a Sherringford student dies under suspicious circumstances ripped straight from the most terrifying of the Holmes stories, and Jamie and Charlotte become the prime suspects. Convinced they’re being framed, they must race against the police to conduct their own investigation. As danger mounts, it becomes clear that nowhere is safe and the only people they can trust are each other.
     Equal parts tender, thrilling, and hilarious, A Study in Charlotte is the first in a trilogy brimming with wit and edge-of-the-seat suspense.

*An advanced reader's copy was provided by the publisher for an honest review*

Trigger Warning: This book contains rape and drug abuse.  Both are treated  professionally and none of it is just for shock value.  There is no reference to either subject in the blog review below.

  This book surprised me.  When I read the titled I rolled my eyes but picked up the book anyway cause I love the Sherlock universe and thought this would be fun to rip apart. I was wrong to judge this book. If you love Sherlock Holmes spin-offs and remakes I highly recommend this book.  Even if the premise makes your eyes roll.  Even if you think you're too mature for such a book, pick it up.

The characters are shadows of the originals: different enough to be enjoyable but similar enough that it feels like a wink towards the past.  Jamie is a gem and Charlotte is fun, mysterious and capable of wonderful flaws.  The book makes it pretty clear that they are still growing as detectives and are capable of mistakes.  The both are fairly well rounded: Jamie, while more human than Charlotte, has anger and violence issues and Charlotte is narrow-sighted and selfish, but clever and fascinating. They are very human and still teenagers.  Their relationship is...pretty nice. It's a nice dynamic, and they both play off each other perfectly but, if you've seen Sherlock on BBC it's not going to surprise you.

The writing sort of where the book suffers, and while I wouldn't call it bad by any stretch of the imagination, this book is getting compared to one of the most popular novel series in literature.  The language Jamie uses is very mature and highbrow: I'm getting my degree in English Lit and Linguistics and I was still scrambling for my dictionary at times.  Also, I did think that Charlotte loses some of her Sherlockian aura in favor of being a teenage girl, but that's up to the reader to decide if they like her better that way.

Charlotte Holmes is a fun story for anyone who appreciates a good mystery.  You don't have to have read Conan's stories to appreciate the books, but it certainly adds a layer to the book that I found enjoyable especially when references are made to the stories.  You might get lost at times without some background in the universe, but still A Study in Charlotte is wonderful.

I honestly don't have anything target puns to say, it was a good book.