Book Review: A Study in Charlotte by Brittany Cavallaro

Before getting into the review, I just wanted to say that I finally picked up this book in January after reading A Study in Scarlet thanks to Catch up on Classics  and I’m so happy I finally read this! (Also, can you tell I’m really behind on reviews 😭)

A Study in Charlotte by Brittany Cavarallo Cover and Review

Title: A Study in Charlotte

Author: Brittany Cavallaro

Published by: Katherine Tegen Books

Publishing date: March 1st 2016

Genre: YA Mystery

Pages: 321

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.

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Trigger warnings: substance abuse, sexual assault, murder, anger management issues. 

A Study in Charlotte is an enthralling and entertating read, that brings a unique spin to a beloved classic, with characters that are as captivating and complex as the ones in the original version.

The fact that the main characters are related to the original Watson and Holmes gives this book an interesting and unique premise that it’s very well executed. What makes this work is the little details like the fact that Jamie is an unapologetic fan of Doctor Watson’s writing and his stories, while Charlotte criticizes the liberties he takes with the narration of some of the cases, but at the end she loves the stories as well. Another details is the guide to being friends with a Holmes that is passed down in the Watson family, which was a really hilarious touch. There are more little details that tie the premise together and make it feel plausible because of how well integrated they are to the story.

The real strengh of the book lays in the main character, Charlotte and Jamie, and the relationship between them. They have an engrossing and strange dynamic, they feel like they were meant to be friends but still they have to actually get to know each other and learn to trust each other. Their dialogue and banter is incredibly entertaining, and the honest moments when one or both of them are being vulnerable are so precious that I feel like crying just thinking about them.

Jamie is just the sweetest boy, but not in a ‘Mr. Perfect’ kind of way, he is still a flawed and complex character. He’s a great narrator for the story and it’s really interesting to see him be this boy that romanticises people and situations and likes to write in his free time, and at the same time, witness him struggling to keep his anger management issues under control.

Seeing Charlotte through Jamie’s eyes is such a enthralling experience. She is brilliant, sarcastic, blunt, calculating and bossy, but she also has insecurities and she has been hurt before, she is a bit lost and lonely and a fantastic main character. Through Charlotte’s journey, Cavallaro explores heavy subjects like substance abuse and sexualt assault and she does it in a raw and delicate way that it’s captivating and heartbreaking at the same time. This two subjects are present thorughout the book and are never forgotten or dissmissed, we get to see how they affect Charlotte’s live and her reactions and perceptions of things.

My one problem with this book is that the case wasn’t that interesting to me for a big portion of the book, because for a long time there are no new leads or the clues they have lead nowhere, so the case lost importance to me. This book is still a 5 stars read because during that time where not a lot is happening with the case, I was still fascinated by Charlotte, Jamie and their relationship. Also, there’s a point, when the case starts to move along and things get interesting and there’s twists and turns that I didn’t see coming at all, and it makes up for that portion of the book when the case didn’t seem that interesting.

Overall, I found this to book to be highly engaging and I couldn’t help but fall in love with the characters. I would totally recommend it!

Rating: 5 stars 
Have you read this series? Are you planning on reading it? Are any Sherlock Holmes retellings or adaptations that you would recommed? 

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8 thoughts on “Book Review: A Study in Charlotte by Brittany Cavallaro

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