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I Belong

Review: A Study in Charlotte by Brittany Cavallaro

a study in charlotteTitle: A Study in Charlotte

Author: Brittany Cavallaro

Genre: YA Contemporary Mystery

Series: Charlotte Holmes (Book #1)

Publication Date: March 1, 2016

Format: Hardcover, 336 Pages

ISBN-10: 0062398903 (HarperCollins)

ISBN-13: 978-0062398901 (HarperCollins)

Reviewed by: Zed


The first book in a witty, suspenseful new trilogy about a brilliant new crime-solving duo: the teen descendants of Sherlock Holmes and John Watson. This clever page-turner will appeal to fans of Maureen Johnson and Ally Carter.

Jamie Watson has always been intrigued by Charlotte Holmes; after all, their great-great-great-grandfathers are one of the most infamous pairs in history. But the Holmes family has always been odd, and Charlotte is no exception. She’s inherited Sherlock’s volatility and some of his vices—and when Jamie and Charlotte end up at the same Connecticut boarding school, Charlotte makes it clear she’s not looking for friends.

But when a student they both have a history with dies under suspicious circumstances, ripped straight from the most terrifying of the Sherlock Holmes stories, Jamie can no longer afford to keep his distance. Danger is mounting and nowhere is safe—and the only people they can trust are each other.

Quick & Dirty: The descendants of the famous Sherlock and Watson unite in a promising start to a detective series.

Opening Sentence: The first time I met her was at the tail end of one of those endless weekday nights you could only have at a school like Sherringford.

Excerpt: Yes

The Review:

I have not read the original Sherlock Holmes stories but I adore the BBCs Sherlock television series so I have a tad bit of prior knowledge about Sherlock and Watson’s shared history. Before I begin the review, I must point out that I enjoyed it tremendously and was very close to giving this a five star rating.

This isn’t a retelling of the adventures of Sherlock and Watson, it is a story based on the descendants of the famous twosome, Charlotte Holmes and James Watson. The two naturally fall into the roles of their great-great-great-something grandfathers’ as detective and sidekick. The main difference is that these kids have grown up in the shadow of their ancestors’ famous histories and have a reputation to uphold.

“There is nothing interesting about explosions. She ruined a perfectly good lab that I had painstakingly assembled, bit by bit, from things I’d taken from Mr. Lamarr’s biology room – oh, don’t look at me like that, I’ve seen you toast marshmallows on those burners, you’re just as guilty as I am – and really the only thing I’ll miss were my copies of your great-great-great-grandfather’s stories. Categorically worthless.”

I loved both of the main characters. Charlotte is just as practical, observant and appears just as emotionless as Sherlock was described to be. She’s also inherited the same tendency to distrust everyone and use drugs as an outlet, much to James’s frustration.

“I’m bad with words.” She sat down next to me. “Too imprecise. Too many shades of meaning. And people use them to lie. Have you ever heard someone lie to you on the violin? Well. I suppose it can be done, but it would take far more skill.”

Then there’s James Watson, who has been developed as a brilliant character to complement Charlotte’s nature. He’s funny, smart and although he’s constantly trying to figure out the inner workings of Charlotte’s mind, he still ends up being many steps behind! James’s instinct to protect Charlotte, despite knowing that she’s a genius and more than capable of taking care of herself, was rather sweet.

“It’s fine,” I said, sitting at the edge of her bed. “You’re probably still catching up on sleep. It’s not healthy to go three days without it, you’ll start hallucinating.”
“Yes, but the hallucinations are always fascinating.”

In terms of the detective investigation itself, the mystery and danger was very convincing. Charlotte was framed for the murder so convincingly that there were several times when I too had my doubts!

“…Unfortunately, I was wearing this when I heard” – she indicated her outfit with a frustrated hand – “and so I decided to stay away from the dorm so that nobody would see me. It’s bad form to be dressed as a burglar on the night if anyone’s murder, much less that of someone you hate.”

This book is full of suspense, humour and a hint of romance and I enjoyed reading it sooo much. Then why wasn’t it given a five star rating? Although A Study In Charlotte was original in its own way, I couldn’t disregard the constant references to the original Sherlock and Watson adventures. The author was trying to recreate that magic and did an excellent job, but her use of those already hyped and well-loved stories to make this book work came across as a little cheeky. I look forward to reading the rest of this series to discover what other crazy adventures the new Holmes and Watson get up to!

Notable Scene:

I was forcibly reminded that she was from London, like me. For a moment, I felt so homesick I thought that I’d make an even worse show of myself and throw myself at her feet, beg her to read me the phone book in that extravagant voice that had no business coming out of such a thin, angular girl.

Charlotte Holmes Series:

1. A Study in Charlotte


FTC Advisory: Katherine Tegen Books/HarperCollins provided me with a copy of A Study in Charlotte. No goody bags, sponsorships, “material connections,” or bribes were exchanged for my review.


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