A Study in Charlotte (Charlotte Holmes #1)
Author: Brittany Cavallaro
Publication: March 1st, 2016
Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books
Format: Kindle Edition, 336 pages
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary, Thriller, Retellings
Read: March 2016
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.
Plot – 3.5 out of 5 stars
I was kind of confused in the beginning, because the reader gets thrown into the plot right away. However, once you get your bearings, I found it really interesting but overly saturated. There’s a lot of things going on at once. There’s mystery, suspense, drug abuse, rape and obviously murder investigations. There’s a lot of twists and turns and revelations and this book is surprisingly dark yet funny. I really enjoyed myself while reading.
Writing Style – 4 out of 5 stars
Honestly, this book as well as the writing style reminded me a lot of the Sherlock movies starring Robert Downey Jr. It was so vivid and descriptive and detailed. It had a very distinctive style that made it very easy to picture everything that was going on. There were parts that we kind of young but still entertaining and funny while still having other sections that are deep and series. The narrative was distinct with the characters and while we get more of one in the beginning, there’s a very distinct difference between the main characters’ voices.
Characters – 4 out of 5 stars
I really liked the characters in this book. I still feel like I need to know more about them but as this is a series, I am hopeful that we’ll get to know them more as more books come out. Our narrator, Jamie Watson was cool. It’s really weird to me to read from a male’s point of view, it throws me off a bit in the beginning but I liked him. He was kind of slow which made the reader a little behind in the plot but he’s sweet. He’s a daydreamer, and really loyal to the people he loves. However, he’s snarky and kind of has a temper which comes out strongly in this book. I would’ve liked to see more development from him but I enjoyed how his relationship with Charlotte developed. I loved her! She’s cunning and sarcastic and incredibly smart. She has a matter of fact way of thinking and speaking. But she’s incredibly closed off in the beginning so it was hard to get to know her as well. I’m glad that while opening up she doesn’t lose her unique personality. There are a lot of side characters in this book and that could’ve been overwhelming but it was done very well. I feel like they could’ve been more complex and developed but I still enjoyed their involvement in the mystery.
I feel like I enjoyed this book more because I don’t really know much about the original Sherlock Holmes.
The plot is messy. We follow Jamie Watson when he’s sent to a boarding school where Charlotte Holmes is studying and they get caught up in a murder mystery that has an uncanny relation to their ancestors adventures. I don’t know a lot about Sherlock Holmes, I haven’t read the books so I think that it affected my enjoyment of this book in a good way. However, this book reminded me a lot of the Robert Downey Jr. Sherlock movies, because of the relationship between the main characters but especially with the way the story plays out. These are the kinds of plots that feel messing and confusing but because they constantly keep you guessing. You never know how all the pieces connect until the very end when the main characters let you in on the secrets. Things get revealed along the way but it doesn’t make sense to the reader until the end. I was interested in the outcome but it was a little hard for me to keep up with the fast pace and all the different clues and dangerous situations. There were so many different things going on and there were clues that popped up throughout the book. I felt really overwhelmed as I read it but it helped keep me lost about the outcome of the mystery. It’s been very easy for me to figure out the outcome of books lately, specially if they’re mysteries so it was a breath of fresh air to be completely lost.
Jamie is kind of like your typical male teenager but at the same time he’s not. He’s been overpowered by a legacy his entire life and has kind of fantasied about what his relationship with Charlotte could be. I found that to be a really interesting part of his characterization because it’s not really something I associate with teenage boys. He’s also very sweet, loyal, caring and determined. I loved how he gives his all into the people that he loves as well as into the things that he hates. It’s like he can’t help but be and react and feel with his whole body and self. There were some parts where I found him juvenile but that might have been more of my problem than his. His thought process and dialogue could take a turn toward the too much testosterone but really, what did I expect? Yet, I still felt kind of disconnected from him even though he’s the narrator. I hope to be able to connect with him more in future books.
Charlotte is just downright special. I really enjoyed the complexity and intensity of her character, especially for a teenage girl. With the background this book has, the way her personality comes out is so realistic to having such high and imposing expectations about what her future should be. It explains her attitude, the way she talks and how she deals with tough situations. I loved how she was a badass but intellectually, she picked up clues very easily and pretty much dominated anything she set her mind to.
I liked that the romance took a while to develop. Sometimes YA debuts rush the romance because they know it’s something that readers enjoy but it ends up finally fake and uncomfortable. This was not the case in this book, you can tell there’s something brewing in the characters, not just because of their interactions but because of those life-long expectations on how they’re supposed to interact together, but it doesn’t become concrete right away. They’re strangers who become friends who come to care enough about each other to become best friends and that has the potential to be something more. It was really sweet and realistic and refreshing to see it develop that way. There’s also a theme of family in this book as well as their peculiar dynamics. Jamie’s family is a little weird and maybe on rocky terms but Charlotte’s family is a whole lot of crazy. I really wanted to see more of that aspect though it made sense that it wasn’t explored in this particular book because of the plot.
Overall, I really enjoyed this book. I found it to be a good, solid start to a new series. The plot was interesting and entertaining though a little bit confusing and overwhelming. The characters were complex and intriguing though I wish I could’ve connected to them a bit more. I’m interested in seeing more from all the different aspects of this book.
So that’s it for this review! Let me know if you’ve read this book and what you thought of it. Let me know what you think of my review. Thanks so much for reading and I’ll see you on my next post!