“I wrinkled my nose at her, and she hit me in the arm. God help me. I couldn’t stay mad at her, even if she did turn out to be a cold-blooded killer. I was in way, way too deep.”
A Study in Charlotte by Brittany Cavallaro
Star rating: ★★★★ ☆ 4/5 stars
Summary: James Watson leaves London for prep school in America when he is offered a scholarship. He meets Charlotte Holmes and quickly becomes partnered with her in trying to clear there names when a murder takes place at their school.
Review: I really liked the spin Cavallaro did on this book, I thought it would be a gender bent retelling but it actually wasn’t. She writes it as though the original Watson and Holmes were real people in this world and James and Charlotte are both great (several times repeated) grandchildren. I thought this was a really fun spin on it.
I wasn’t sure how I liked some of the elements used in this story. I didn’t like that Charlotte was raped as a way to make her a murder suspect, there are so many other ways you can do that and because Charlotte is a girl it just seems like the convenient way to hurt her. I also didn’t like that she started using drugs at 12. There seems to be that Watson got more of his own personality but Charlotte was mainly a copy of Sherlock, she does have some of her own personality but it seems like it is far less developed that Watson’s.
Still, the story was enjoyable. I liked the mystery and the reveal. There is some humor as well throughout and it’s an overall good read. I kept being surprised by how young both of them are and that’s actually a good thing. So often I read YA novels where the main characters are 16 but act way older than that. Cavallaro does a good job writing them accurately and reminding the reader of how young they are.
I do like the relationship between Watson and Holmes. I thought it developed well and I’m eager to see where it goes in the next book. I think it’s set up to be a fun trilogy. I’m hoping Charlotte gets more development in the next books. She did seem more fleshed out in her epilogue so I’m wondering if maybe my issues of feeling she’s not as developed is due to James possibly being an unreliable narrator. He does tend to have a hard time reconciling Charlotte’s reality with the fantasy of her he constructed.
Recommendation: If you’re a fan of Sherlock Holmes I think this is worth checking out. I have noticed that in the reviews a lot of people that are fans of the BBC show have rated it lower but honestly hardcore BBC Sherlock fans tend to be snobs about Sherlock. Which is hilarious to me because Arthur Conan Doyle literally did not give two shits about Sherlock and accurate depiction of him in other media. But you know, if you’re actually open minded and don’t think the be all end all is Bandersnoot Clubfoot then I think you could enjoy this book.