ARC Review – The Last of August by Brittany Cavallaro

book-review-the-last-of-august

The Last of August Cover

The Last of August (Charlotte Holmes #2)

Author: Brittany Cavallaro

Publication: February 14th, 2017

Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books

Format: e-ARC, 336 pages

Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary, Thriller, Retellings

Read: January 2016

Brittany CavallaroGoodreads

I received an e-ARC of this book from Harper Collins Children’s via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review. Thank you!

4.5-stars1

Synopsis
In the second brilliant, action-packed book in the Charlotte Holmes trilogy, Jamie and Charlotte are in a chase across Europe to untangle a web of shocking truths about the Holmes and Moriarty families.
Jamie Watson and Charlotte Holmes are looking for a winter break reprieve in Sussex after a fall semester that almost got them killed. But nothing about their time off is proving simple, including Holmes and Watson’s growing feelings for each other. When Charlotte’s beloved uncle Leander goes missing from the Holmes estate—after being oddly private about his latest assignment in a German art forgery ring—the game is afoot once again, and Charlotte throws herself into a search for answers.
So begins a dangerous race through the gritty underground scene in Berlin and glittering art houses in Prague, where Holmes and Watson discover that this complicated case might change everything they know about their families, themselves, and each other.

Trigger warning for mentions of rape, drugs and violence.

Critically

Plot – 4 out of 5 stars
I always feel like these books are over saturated because there is so much going on with the plot at all times. There’s mystery and suspense. It’s really dark and intense and sometimes very confusing as well. There are always a lot of twists and turns and I didn’t see anything coming which is both good and really bad. The ending was really abrupt and kind of cliffhanging and that’s probably my biggest complaint. It left me with a giant question mark.

Writing Style – 4 out of 5 stars
I really like the author’s writing style. It’s very vivid as well as detailed and descriptive. It’s so fast paced but at the same time very confusing. The main character, Jamie, is left out of a lot of information and so that affects the overall narrative of the story, the reader tends to be just as lost and confused and angry as him throughout the story which is both good and band. When we get a bit of a switch up in the POV, I like how both voices are very distinct and unique.

Characters – 4 out of 5 stars
I’m becoming a huge fan of this cast of characters. However, they are all extremely flawed and extremely complex and maybe not the best people. I don’t think I’d be their friends in real life though I love reading about their craziness. Jamie is getting a lot more reckless and brave in this book. He tagged along and was kind of like the sidekick in the first book but now he’s kind of tired of that role and wants to be a lot more involved in solving the mysteries that are going on though he sometimes pushes it way too far for his safety. He’s a lot angrier and desperate than he was in the first book but he’s also just as loyal and open and kind. I liked seeing how he’s developing as a character though I want more from him as well. Charlotte kind of drives me crazy. She’s reckless and destructive to herself but also really smart and cunning. She opens up a lot more in this books so I feel like the reader gets to know her more in this one but I also feel like there’s still more to learn! I want to know every nook and cranny of her personality because she’s such a complex character but we’re not there yet. The actual relationships between the characters (including the side characters) are my biggest issues with this series. The relationship between the two main characters is problematic and sometimes even toxic in a way that puts me off sometimes. There are also no great familial relationships or relationships between parent and kid that are really healthy. All of them are kind of wrong and weird and uncomfortable and though it makes a lot of sense for the plot and the kind of characters they are, I don’t think its the best theme to explore.

Emotionally

I think I loved this book just as much as the first one but everything is getting so much more complicated and I didn’t really think that was possible.

The plot is intense. We follow Jamie and Charlotte after the events of the first book as they are in England for the winter holidays. However, their vacation turns into a search across Europe to find Charlotte’s beloved uncle. While and after I read these books, I know that I’ve enjoyed them but at the same time, they are so dang confusing! So many things are happening all the time and it’s like you’re being bombarded with different pieces of plot at the same time. The main character and narrator is lost and/or excluded from a lot of information so the reader is left confused and just as clueless and he is. I always feel like I’m missing something and it’s both a good thing and a bad thing. Good because it keeps me engaged and interested in the story, because I want to get to the bottom of what’s going on but bad because it can get tiring very quickly and it’s also very confusing which is not fun at all haha. What I really enjoy about this series is that there are always a lot of twists and turns to the plot and you never really know where the story will go for sure or how it will develop and that has been something really hard to accomplish in the books I’ve read recently. There’s a reason that I compared the first book to the Robert Downy Jr. Sherlock movies and this second book also holds up to that comparison. If you haven’t read it, the movie tends to show a specific scene one way and then towards the end you see the details and what really happened and how everything’s come together to be a happy ending once it’s over and these books are just like that. There was a lot of action and mystery and drama. I wish things would’ve been explained throughout a little more because in this one in particular, the ending is still very confusing. That feeling of finally understanding what was going on never came and things wrapped up way too fast. I still don’t really know for sure what happened and how everything really went down and considering the ending leaves off on a very dire situation, I’m both scared and excited to see how the trilogy will conclude.

I was really surprised to see Jamie become kind of volatile in this one. He was much more quiet and earnest in the first book but in this one, he got tired of being the sidekick and the underdog. He wants to be more involved in the investigating, in being undercover, honestly just more involved in helping Charlotte solve the mysteries instead of just being the collateral damage or baggage that she has to take care of. I liked that attitude because it showed so much more growth to his character but he would definitely take it too far sometimes. He’d become reckless and didn’t think things through the way he should have and that was dangerous for his well being. However, he’s also really loyal to Charlotte still though their relationship made me a bit uncomfortable at times in this book. It’s really complicated, sometimes even unhealthy and toxic and I don’t know how I feel about those kinds of things being seen as acceptable to teens. It’s such a fine line between having complicated feelings toward one another and not really knowing how to be around and good to each other because of that and being destructive and unhealthy towards each other in a way that makes them more of antagonists than partners. I really hope the author manages to shift their relationships more positively for the last book.

I’m gonna talk a bit about the side character though not all of them. Charlotte breaks my heart quite honestly. I’m always freaking out and worried about her well being and health. She’s so smart, so determined, so cunning and I love the attitude she has. She never backs down from the things she knows are true and she’s always there to protect her family (some of it). However, some of her behavior and coping mechanisms are really unhealthy and toxic. She has issues with drugs and her mental health is in a really vulnerable place. No one is really trying to help her besides Jamie and he can’t really do much since they are both teens dealing with a lot of crappy shit together. I just wish she had more of a support system than she actually does. In this book, as the title says, we meet August. He was mentioned a lot in the first book because of his past relationship with Charlotte and all the trauma that caused and I was really looking forward to seeing how he would be but I was really disappointed. He was actually kind of wimpy and spineless. He talked a lot about being above all the drama and hatred between the families in this book but it was more something he was trying to convince himself of than something that was actually true. He was rude and mean and created distance between Jamie and Charlotte on purpose. I just didn’t like how automatically he was involved in things and I knew he was gonna make things worse than necessary. Lastly, I just want to say that I’m really disappointed by the lack of supportive and positive adults in this series. Considering the kinds of families Charlotte, August and even Jamie come from, it’s understandable that they all be a bit dysfunctional but I don’t think it was necessary to make all the familial relationships strained or downright unhealthy. Even the adults that seem to have compassion and that seem to look out for the teens aren’t really as invested as I would like them to be.

Overall, I really enjoyed this book but the plot is really intricate and complicated which can be very confusing for the reader. I liked some of the characters’ development but I think that the relationships in this book can be very unhealthy and toxic and I hope that improves in the last book.

So that’s it for this post! I’d love to know if any of you have started this series. I haven’t really talked to anyone about it, so if you’ve read it, whether you liked it or not, I’d love to chat with you. Thanks so much for reading and I’ll see you on my next post!

send-off

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