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Shelock & Holmes Mystery | Book Review: A Study in Charlotte by Brittany Cavallaro

A Study in Charlotte was a mixed bag for me…

Book Review: A Study in Charlotte by Brittany Cavallaro

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a study in charlotte brittany cavallaro

Title & Author: A Study in Charlotte (Charlotte Holmes Novel) by Brittany Cavallaro

Genre: Young Adult – Contemporary, Mystery

Release Date: March 1, 2016

Series: Charlotte Holmes #1

Publisher: HarperCollins

How I Got the Book: ARC via the publisher


“The last thing sixteen-year-old Jamie Watson–writer and great-great-grandson of the John 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 enigmatic, fiercely independent great-great-granddaughter, who’s inherited not just his genius but also his vices, volatile temperament, and expertly hidden vulnerability. Charlotte has been the object of his fascination for as long as he can remember–but from the moment they meet, there’s a tense energy between them, and they seem more destined to be rivals than anything else.

Then a Sherringford student dies under suspicious circumstances ripped straight from the most terrifying of the Holmes stories, and Jamie and Charlotte become the prime suspects. Convinced they’re being framed, they must race against the police to conduct their own investigation. As danger mounts, it becomes clear that nowhere is safe and the only people they can trust are each other.

Equal parts tender, thrilling, and hilarious, A Study in Charlotte is the first in a trilogy brimming with wit and edge-of-the-seat suspense. ”

Sherlock, Is That You?

I will tell you upfront: A Study in Charlotte wasn’t for me. But I will explain why AND let you know that I do think other readers will enjoy this one.

First, A Study in Charlotte has an interesting premise that I found confusing then pretty great. In the world Cavallaro constructs, Sherlock Holmes and John Watson are real people, and their great-great-great grandchildren are Charlotte Holmes and Jamie Watson, who both attend the same prep school and are about to get REAL up close and personal after threats are hurled and a MURDER is committed.

The novel is narrated by Jamie. Hmmm, yeah, Jamie is a rugby player and sounds like one. He has under-the-surface rage issues and some of his comments were very boy-ish, if you know what I mean.

Meanwhile, there’s Charlotte. She’s enigmantic, unaware of social cues and extremely confident/egotistical/arrogant. I would have loved her as a character except…that description already applies to my already-beloved leading man in Sherlock, the BBC TV series.

Whether intentional or not, Charlotte felt too similar to Sherlock, and I wished so much for a more unique character.

Then there’s the murder and mayhem bits. I liked how they were presented, but by the middle of the book, I felt less and less compelled to continue reading. This was mainly due to the characterization and narration (Jamie, you are a dull, dull boy).

However, the writing in A Study in Charlotte was great. I felt like I was swimming merrily through the descriptions, dialogue and quips. I desperately wanted to LOVE this book, but it just wasn’t my cup of tea.

Note: This book explores heavier topics like drug use and sexual assault.


The unrelatable voice of the story and the similarity to a popular TV series made this story unsuited to my personal tastes. But, if you aren’t overly familiar with Sherlock, enjoy mystery stories or are confident the above comments won’t affect you, I would say to try A Study in Charlotte!

About Lisa Parkin

I'm a hardcore lover of young adult fiction and have been reviewing books since 2011. Other interests include Downton Abbey, heat lightning storms, Harry Potter land and (begrudingly) one orange tabby.