Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Review: A Study in Charlotte by Brittany Cavallaro

A Study in Charlotte by Brittany Cavallaro
Series: Charlotte Holmes #1
Published: March 1st, 2016
Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books
336 pages (eARC)
Genre: Young Adult Contemporary/Mystery
Acquired this book: Via Edelweiss in exchange for honest consideration
Warning: May contain spoilers
{GoodReads || Buy this book: Amazon || Chapters/Indigo}

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.

If you read my reviews regularly, I know what you’re probably thinking: Another Sherlock book? Yes, another Sherlock book. I can’t get enough of them, and luckily authors keep feeding my love of (read: obsession with) all things Sherlock Holmes and John Watson. It’s no secret I love Sherlock, and it’s also no secret I’ve read a ton of Sherlock-inspired books. They’ve ranged from good to great, and A Study in Charlotte falls squarely in the ‘great’ category. So great, in fact, it’s a new favourite.

This book has the perfect blend of classic Sherlock elements and wonderfully original content. It’s clear the author has an extensive knowledge of the original Sir Arthur Conan Doyle stories, and it shone through on the pages, making the characters familiar and yet unique. Jamie Watson and Charlotte Holmes are the descendants of the infamous Dr. John Watson and Sherlock Holmes, who, for the purpose of this book were real people. Over the last hundred-plus years, the descendants of this famous duo have stayed pretty true to type, especially the Holmeses, who are known for being clever, analytical, and eccentric, with definite sociopathic tendencies. Charlotte Holmes is no exception. She was raised to observe, make deductions, solve problems, and possibly above all else, not let her emotions get in the way of what needs to be done. Don’t make attachments, keep a safe distance, don’t feel. She does a pretty good job of this until Jamie Watson enters her life.

I loved Jamie. He had a great voice, making him one of my new favourite narrators. Being inside his head was absolutely fascinating. It’s been awhile since I got completely sucked into a story, but I got sucked into A Study in Charlotte. There were several scenes I was so engrossed in, I had trouble coming back to reality. As a reader, this is one of the best feelings, but it’s become incredibly rare for me, which is part of why I loved this book so much. It was so compelling, so intriguing, and so well written, I didn’t want to do anything else but sit and read.

Charlotte was very much a modern-day Sherlock. She was cold, harsh, blunt, and incredibly independent. She was used to doing things on her own and in a specific way, so she tended to boss Jamie around and disregard his opinions, and for the most part, he let her. She was a chameleon, able to adapt to her surroundings, be what she needed to be when she needed to be it, and it was absolutely fascinating watching Jamie watch her. He was captivated by her, but not blind to her faults. Their relationship was far from a typical contemporary YA romance, but that’s kind of the point. It was exactly how a relationship between a Holmes and a Watson should be: begrudging acceptance of friendship on Holmes part, Watson keeping Holmes from spiraling into the oblivion of her own dark mind, complete trust, and chemistry that simmers quietly and makes you yearn for something to happen between them.

I am so impressed with Brittany Cavallaro’s debut. A Study in Charlotte is compelling, engaging, suspenseful, and basically everything I could hope for in a Sherlock book. The characters and their relationships are complex, the plot is full of twists and turns, and the writing is absolutely gorgeous (I lost count of the number of passages I highlighted in my Kindle). I can’t wait for more of these characters, and I kinda want to cry thinking that I’ll likely have to wait over a year for more. I was lucky enough to receive an ARC, but I’ll definitely buy a copy, because I know this will be one of those rare books I take the time to reread.

Have you read A Study in Charlotte? What did you think? If you haven't read it, do you plan to? Do you enjoy Sherlockian stories? What was your last 5-star read?

1 comment:

  1. Great review!

    I love Sherlock so I hope to pick this book up soon! :)


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