Title: A Study in Charlotte by Brittany Cavallaro
Genre: YA Retelling – Mystery/ Crime
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.
Firstly you know every now and again I have to start off my reviews with mentioning the book cover. I love the cover for A Study in Charlotte. The book is a beautiful mix of navy and pink lettering.
I found this book from Epic Reads who made a book trailer which introduced me to this book and drew me in. Without this video I wouldn’t have known about this book as I haven’t seen it anywhere else around the booktube and blogging sphere. Goodreads has 11,000 reviews and it definitely deserves more hype!
I absolutely loved Charlotte Holmes and Jamie Watson and their journey to becoming friends. They are seemingly forever thrust together due to their families history but I like how they naturally come together on their own.
These two characters couldn’t seem more apart, Charlotte is stand offish and struggles with emotion but it is clear that her childhood hasn’t been normal. We learn throughout the book how she was raised and well I wouldn’t call it raised but rather ‘trained.’ Rather than have a childhood she is taught how to creep across a floor undetected or solve a diamond heist.
Jamie was a character who added comedic moments in the book to break up the tension between himself and Holmes as well as the drama and mystery. I loved these moments and there are few dotted throughout. Jamie represents a broken family, he moves to Connecticut leaving his mother and sister in London and has to meet his father again after years apart. The relationship with Jamie’s father is drawn upon and dealt with and we see him struggle with the idea of seeing his father again after so long especially as his father is remarried with another 2 children of his own.
A Study in Charlotte is a YA retelling of Sherlock Holmes and Watson. Interestingly this book follows the great-great -great-grandchildren of Sherlock and Watson – Jamie and Charlotte as they attend a boarding school in Connecticut. I have never read any of the original stories for Sherlock Holmes or seen the TV Show with Benedict Cumberbatch but I was drawn straight into this story and loved how it included the intertextuality of the original novels of Sherlock. You definitely don’t need to have read the original stories to understand this retelling.
The plot of A Study in Charlotte is filled with mystery and crime following a murder, but I need to mention that this book may be triggering for some people due to its feature of drug abuse and rape. The rape does not physically happen in the story but is mentioned a few times as a past event. This aspect was something I didn’t expect to be included in the book and I think Brittany dealt with it very well by showing the character who suffers from the event to be emotionally effected still. I won’t reveal who this character is and ruin a plot point for you.
The description of Brittany’s writing was brilliant, a perfect pace to match the unravelling of a murder investigation. Her description of the crime scene is also amazing as I could truly picture the layout of each crime scene. I could also picture as Sherlock’s mind went into “solving mode” I could picture her behaviour and facial expressions and the book is filled with tension and shocks to keep you on your toes.
I’ve not ready many YA mystery books, I think this is my first proper one but I thoroughly enjoyed it. I loved the crime, mystery and betrayals as well as how this book dealt with real issues from estranged families to rape and drug culture.
The setting for A Study in Charlotte is Sherringford a prep school in Connecticut. I really enjoyed the boarding school setting as I have only read boarding schools in fantasy novels so it was nice to see a setting like this in a new light with a YA Mystery genre. The fact the setting was a boarding school allowed there to be more mystery and drama throughout the book as parents begin to remove their children as the murder/events begins to unravel.
Overall I would have to give A Study in Charlotte 5 Stars, I adored my reading experience of this book and I think it offered so much within its pages; the tense relationship of Holmes and Watson, intertextuality, murder case,rape and drug abuse. There is so much packed into this book and the pacing is perfect. I read this book in a day as I couldn’t put it down as one thing happened after another. I can’t wait to read book 2 to see what is next for Holmes and Watson.
Book 2 – The Last of August is now out!