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A Study in Charlotte (Charlotte Holmes Novel) Paperback – January 3, 2017
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From School Library Journal
Gr 9 Up—What if Sherlock Holmes's great-great-great-granddaughter went to boarding school with Dr. Watson's great-great-great-grandson? They might strike up a friendship as sophomores. Charlotte Holmes and James Watson do, at the money-conscious Sherringford, a prep school in Connecticut. Holmes (as she is known) has an analytical, antisocial bent and a bit of a drug problem. Watson, who narrates, has a short fuse and quickly becomes a suspect in a date rapist's murder. Together they begin an investigation, putting their inductive and deductive skills to the test. A familiarity with classic Arthur Conan Doyle tales is helpful, though most references are explained in the story. Both Holmes and Watson are prickly teenagers in a plot that includes poison, explosions, Moriarty's descendant, and a deadly virus. The case wraps up neatly, with the indication that Holmes and Watson will team up again in the near future. This novel presents a dark view of boarding school, with some drinking and other risqué behavior. Suggest to fans of Maggie Stiefvater's "Raven Cycle" series (Scholastic). Slightly younger readers might try Colleen Gleason's "Stoker and Holmes" series (Chronicle), featuring Holmes's niece and Bram Stoker's sister. VERDICT An additional selection for most school libraries.—Maggie Knapp, Trinity Valley Sch., Fort Worth, TX --This text refers to the Audio CD edition.
“A thrilling twist on a classic. Readers will be pulled in by both the riveting mystery and Charlotte Holmes, a brilliant heroine with secrets of her own.” (Maureen Johnson, New York Times bestselling author of the Shades of London series)
“Cavallaro’s crackling dialogue, well-drawn characters, and complicated relationships make this feel like a seamless and sharp renewal of Doyle’s series. An explosive mystery featuring a dynamic duo.” (Kirkus Reviews (starred))
“Debut author Cavallaro brings Arthur Conan Doyle’s sleuths (or their distant relatives, anyway) into the 21st century, casting Holmes as a brilliant young woman and Watson, who narrates, as her admirer and accomplice...An involving murder mystery, and a promising start to a planned trilogy.” (Publishers Weekly)
“Fans of television’s Elementary and Sherlock will avidly devour this book...a joyous excuse to watch one of the literary world’s most beloved pairings come together.” (Booklist)
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Firstly, I absolutely loved how "Sherlock-like" Charlotte is portrayed. She is twisty, damaged, brilliant mini-version of his, represented in the 16-year old girl's body, all the way to small details and bad habits. Definitely, not your typical young adult heroine, and I loved her all the more for that. I'm still not sure what exactly made Jamie Watson be so drawn in to her (a kind of moth to the light effect, I suppose), but the good part is that Jamie doesn't really know either. The relationship between characters are complicated, deep and are being questioned by both parties all the time, hence it gives it much more credibility, without making a reader consistently ask "Why the hell are they even talking to each other?". Truth is, they both aren't sure themselves. I really appreciated this dark. thought-provoking portrayal of main heroes in the book - it's definitely engaging and makes you contemplate while reading.
What I appreciated even more, is that this whole Charlotte/Jamie "thing" didn't take over the mystery itself, and the events unfold at the very fast pace. Murder-solving is definitely very involved, and I was holding my breath while reading to see what happens next. Needless to say, the climax was fabulously deviant and tied up rather nicely. Definitely, job well done here!
I've noticed that, for the most part, people either really do or really don't want to read anything that has connection to Sherlock Holmes (there is rarely a gray area), so being a fan of everything Sherlock-related, I highly recommend this YA mystery to all those from former category. It's a quick, gloom-themed pleasure that will remind you why Arthur Conan Doyle was a genius, and why you keep reading everything that has to do with a character he created many decades ago.
First of all, I'm actually not a childhood Sherlock Holmes fan (though I have immensely enjoyed the Cumberbatch version) so a lot of the references were unknown or new to me. I say this to illustrate that you absolutely DO NOT have to be knowledgeable about the original stories to enjoy the pants off this book.
This book was written with the slightly distanced voice I have always admired and enjoyed in English stories, and the author does such an impeccable job weaving that style in with the very authentic American-teens-in-boarding-school setting. The marriage of those two things was so flawlessly executed I just wanted to applaud.
The characters, while they drew on the Sherlock stories of legend, were so obviously her own, and while I enjoyed Jamie Watson immensely as the sentimental narrator - for me it was really detached-and-ruthlessly-efficient Charlotte that stole the show. She was unlikeable and harsh and brilliant and I fell absolutely in love with her from her first appearance. It's the first time I've ever been compelled to twist the infamous #bookboyfriend hashtag for my own purposes:
Charlotte Holmes is my #bookgirlfriend. Forever.
ANYWAY - the plot was rich with nods to the original Doyle stories, but Cavallero makes them utterly shine in this rendition. I went back in the story to scour the text for clues. I gasped and swore and clapped when the plot twisted and turned. I was completely taken by the story and the people that populated it, and the epilogue was just the icing on the cake.
BUY THIS BOOK. LOVE IT. and don't be surprised if I shout these things into your actual ears if you ever run into me at a bookshop.
Most recent customer reviews
This book was one of the gifts I got for my birthday from my fiancé back in October and I am so happy I decided to pick it up...Read more