I’m kind of a sucker for anything Sherlock. He’s one of my favorite literary characters, and I actually like almost any iteration of him I’ve come across. Sherlock-inspired books are nothing new, but something about Brittany Cavallaro’s young adult debut novel stood out to me, and I picked it up as soon as it hit shelves. Naturally, I didn’t read it until eight months later, but that’s besides the point. I was in the mood for a light(-ish) young adult read, and A Study in Charlotte was exactly what I needed.
(From Goodreads) 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.
Obviously, I’m a huge fan of Sherlock Holmes – in almost any shape or form – so it’s no surprise I like this book. I thought the plot itself was actually really creative. I loved how the different characters played into the story, and that Conan Doyle’s Watson and Holmes were real. It was kind of fun to see the descendants of the original characters. I really enjoyed that Holmes in this story was female, because I usually identify with smart, nerdy female characters (though, regrettably, I am nowhere near as smart as Holmes – either one of them). The romance between Charlotte and Jamie was predictable, but I like that it played out in an unusual way. I also really enjoyed Jamie as a character, and the Watson family history of dealing with Holmeses.
Still, there were a few things that prevented me from loving this book. While I liked the story overall, it did start out pretty slowly. It took me probably 100 or so pages to really get into the story. Despite exciting things happening, they just didn’t have the impact I wanted them to. I also didn’t like the sexual assault plot point. For most, if not all, of the novel, it was treated almost casually, and I honestly didn’t think it was necessary at all. I think, for me, the novel would have been more successful if it had been set at a college. The characters were a bit too mature for high school students, and I don’t think the sexual assault thing would have bothered me quite as much.
I did enjoy A Study in Charlotte for the most part, and plan on picking up the sequel when it comes out in a few months. This wasn’t my favorite book, but it did have potential, and I can’t resist Sherlock Holmes.
Have you read A Study in Charlotte? What did you think? Are you planning on reading the sequel?