Rummanah Aasi
  I am a big Sherlock Holmes fan. I've been trying to fix my Sherlock show hole by watching and reading other mysteries until the new season starts. I was really excited to hear of new YA series that feature the great detective and was really looking forward to reading A Study in Charlotte by Brittany Cavallaro. 

Description: 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.


Review: I really wanted to like A Study in Charlotte as it had everything that I enjoyed: Sherlockian plot and characters, mystery, and even just a hint at a promising romantic relationship, but there were some things that really annoyed me and dulled my excitement.
  In Cavallaro's debut novel descendants of Dr. Watson's and Sherlock Holmes' try to live up to and with their ancestors' legacies. Stuck at Sherringford, a Connecticut boarding school, Londoner expat James Watson craves excitement, action, and romance. He tries to vent his rage on the rugby field during practice and hone his writing skills at night. When he hears of a girl named Charlotte Holmes, who is a genius, plays violin, and has helped police solve crimes as a toddler, James believes he is predestined to be best friends with Charlotte given their ancestor's relationship. When a student turns up dead after harassing Holmes and fighting with Watson, and his death scene is staged like "The Adventure of the Speckled Band," Watson and Holmes become both suspects and detectives.
 While I had no big issues with the mystery that held my attention, my main problem with the book came from the main characters. There was an overabundance of winks and elbow nudges to the original Sherlock stories that plagued this book. Normally, I'm all for literary allusions but in A Study in Charlotte, it came off as forced and appeared everywhere instead of cute easter eggs sprinkled in the story. Both Watson and Charlotte were confined to their ancestor's personality traits such as Holmes' anti-social behavior and opiate fixation and Watson's fanboy-ish obsession with Holmes that they didn't come off across as real teenagers for me who had their own personalities. There were a lot of topics that the author could have explored to make her book different and her own such as death, drugs, rape, and betrayal. I think readers who are unfamiliar with the Doyle's short stories may not be bothered with this aspect of the book, but it really did feel like I was reading a Doyle retelling set in modern times than an actual modern, fresh take on Sherlock Holmes. I'm not sure if I'll continue this series, but I think I'll give the Every series by Ellie Marney a chance instead.

Rating: 3 stars

Words of Caution: There is some strong language, underage drug use, and mentions of sexual assault that take place off the page. Recommended for Grades 9 and up.

If you like this book try: Lock and Mori by Heather Petty, Every Breath by Ellie Marney, Death Cloud by Andrew Lane, Stoker and Holmes series by Colleen Gleason
3 Responses
  1. Now that I know to expect the winks to the original series, it probably won't bother me as much as if I didn't know. This sounds interesting and as long as the mystery is good, I'm good. :)


  2. Kindlemom Says:

    I've seen a lot of reviews for this and they all seem to run along the same line as your's. That everyone wanted to love this but just couldn't quite for one reason or another.
    I think for now, I will pass on this one but I loved your review and thanks for being so honest!!


  3. Anne Bennett Says:

    I didn't even know this was based on Sherlock Holmes. For some reason I thought it was a nod to Charlotte Bronte. Ha!


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