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A Study In Charlotte by Brittany Cavallaro // ARC Review

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A Study In Charlotte by Brittany Cavallaro, Published by Harper Teen, ARC received from the publisher through Red Ballon’s Teen Book Club in exchange for an honest review.

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.

A Study In Charlotte is a delightful Sherlock Holmes retelling filled with witty jokes and wonderful characters.

Before I even picked up this book I was a little in love with the concept. I love the Sherlock Holmes stories, and I tend to readily jump into modern adaptations of those stories. Sometimes those adaptations work, and sometimes they really, really don’t. This was one that worked wonderfully.

“In that moment, I would’ve followed her anywhere” 28, ARC

studyincharlottereadingMy favorite part of A Study In Charlotte was how the characters were descendants of the original Holmes and Watson. I have found that adaptations of Sherlock Holmes never seem to truly capture the original duo, so I was glad that this book didn’t even try. Instead, in the book’s universe both Sherlock and John were very real people, and have families descended from them. Both the Holmes and Watson families are a bit odd and carry certain traits of their ancestors. I just loved that whole concept, with a bunch of Holmeses and Watsons running around and putting themselves in danger, and with the Watson and Holmes of the same age becoming friends and solving crimes. Adorable.

“With role models like him, it was surprising I wasn’t already in jail” 47, ARC

I also really enjoyed how it was set at a boarding school. I recently heard Rainbow Rowell speak about Carry On, and she talked about how setting novels about kids at boarding school is a great way to get rid of parents. (without killing them all) I was kind of thinking about that while reading this book, and wow was boarding school a great setting for this book. It really added to the whole mystery – students at the school are dying and it could be anyone on campus who they might be living right next too.

A Study In Charlotte did a great job with talking about tough topics. This book deals with some pretty sensitive things such as crime, addiction, sexual assault, and I think it did those topics a great deal of justice. It didn’t dumb anything down, and dealt with the victims in the situation kindly while still dealing with that situation as the dark, scary, and harmful thing it is.

Charlotte and Jamie were honestly the best Holmesian descendant main characters I could have asked for. They were so perfectly Holmes and Watson but also not at all, because Holmes and Watson are their great-great-great-grandparents and they’re their own people of course. Their whole dynamic was fantastic. (I love them so much) I also feel for Jamie quite in a lot of different little ways. He’s a very relatable character who has a lot of very relatable problems, along with a few problems that aren’t quite so common. (please love him like I do)

“We’re talking about Charlotte Holmes, here. I think she has complicated relationships with the skeletons in her lab. Nothing is straightforward to her” 197, ARC

In conclusion: Great retelling, great characters, gorgeous cover. If you love Sherlock Holmes stories, you won’t be disappointed! 

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A Study In Charlotte by Brittany Cavallaro will be published on March 1st, 2016.