Review: A Study in Charlotte by Brittany Cavallaro

Posted March 21, 2016 by Lizzie in Review / 1 Comment

Review: A Study in Charlotte by Brittany CavallaroA Study in Charlotte by Brittany Cavallaro
Series: Charlotte Holmes #1
Published by Katherine Tegen Books on March 1st 2016
Genres: Young Adult, Mystery, Retelling
Pages: 336
Format: Hardcover
Source: Purchased
Series Rating: five-stars
Buy on AmazonBarnes & NobleThe Book Depository

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.
A Study in Charlotte is the first in a trilogy.

Hello, Darlings!

I’ve been really forcing myself to go on a major book buying ban recently. I just have too many books that I have yet to read. BUT, this was one of the last books that I left myself buy. I am SO THRILLED that I did because of two reasons. 1. That cover drew me in, so pretty on my shelf! And, 2. It was a fantastic read. I loved nearly every aspect of this novel, with only one pet peeve that I will get to in a second. Because I always have a really hard time putting into words exactly why I liked something, I’m going to try and do this review a little different than normal! (Don’t worry, I think you might like it better this way) If you’re looking for an immediate hook read, something funny, or an amazing mystery, it’s all here. Correct me if I’m wrong, but I think Cavallaro is a debut author. After reading this one, she has definitely been put on my auto-buy author list. When I initially picked this up, I was not in the mood to read. I’ve been studying nonstop for midterms and training for a 5k – so basically on my downtime, I just want to stare at a wall. But, I had seen that this was getting some major love, and the cover was just staring at me on my shelf. I read it in two sittings, and it sling shot me into a serious reading binge this month that I am beyond loving this month. Speaking of loving here is a list of everything that I loved in this novel:

What I loved:

To be honest, I have not read any Sherlock Holmes novels, seen any of the movies, or any episodes of the tv show. Those things are all definitely on my list to get to, but I just kept putting it off. After reading this novel though, I cannot get out of a mystery solving mood. The novel’s main character James (Jamie) Watson, was so quirky and undeniably British. Cavallaro played off the two main characters being descendants of the real Sherlock and Watson, and I thought the way she spun everything together was perfect. I wish I could go into details about my favorite part of their heritage, but, spoilers! So, I will leave you with my undying love for Watson and his quirkiness. Charlotte Holmes was equally as hilarious. The comedy in this novel was new for me. It wasn’t necessarily laugh out loud funny, more like situational. Holmes’ response to Watson’s antics and vice versa were so genuinely hilarious. I did that quick nasal exhale laugh over and over again while reading about Holmes’ eating habits, or Watson’s fashion problems. I guess the proper way to describe it would be British humor!

Along with the characters, the mystery obviously took center stage. I cannot describe to you how much I tried to guess the ending before it was unveiled. I was literally taking notes and writing down my thoughts for possible motives and suspects. I think Cavallaro’s choice to make the murders replicas of previous Sherlock Holmes mysteries was so cool.  For someone who has yet to read them/is definitely not familiar with canon, I thought they were genuinely intriguing.

What I didn’t really love:

I gave this novel a 4.5 out of 5 stars. So, there really wasn’t much that I didn’t love! My only hitch with this novel was Watson’s voice. On numerous occasions, I forgot that I was reading from the point of view of a straight teenage guy. His voice read similar to past female characters that I have read, that after a while he started to seem like one. This most certainly didn’t take away from the story – I gave it 4.5 stars after all! But after a while, it really annoyed me. Watson’s attraction to Holmes felt natural, but also how every YA girl swoons over the hot guy. I found his significant amount of YA female tropes to be distracting. They felt out of place, but still successful in leaving the reader wanting some serious Watson+Holmes make outs. I guess I can’t say that his off character voice was bothersome, but it felt more inconsistent than anything. One moment he was all YA Trope male lead, then female. It left me feeling like I didn’t have a clear enough picture of who Watson was by the end.

Like I said above, I really enjoyed this novel! It just felt FUN, and honestly, I cannot remember the last time I thought of a book as fun. The twists and turns from the mystery, combined with unending Watson+Holmes-isms created a truly whimsical Sherlock retelling. I hope this turns into a series!!

So, what do you think?

Should I be feeling some serious Sherlockian shame over never having seen the show? Have you read this novel? What did you think! Let me know down in the comments or find me on Twitter @nerddelizzie


One response to “Review: A Study in Charlotte by Brittany Cavallaro

  1. Alecia

    Awesome review! Like you I haven’t seen or read any Sherlock Holmes stuff before but this novel’s blurb really drew me in! I love mysteries and quirky characters and James/Charlotte partnership sounds really fun! The cover is very attractive too and it’s what first captured my attention so yeah I can’t wait to read this one.

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