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Charlotte Holmes #1

A Study in Charlotte

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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.

321 pages, Hardcover

First published March 1, 2016

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About the author

Brittany Cavallaro

21 books2,890 followers
Brittany Cavallaro is a poet, fiction writer, and old school Sherlockian. She is the New York Times bestselling author of the Charlotte Holmes novels from HarperCollins/Katherine Tegen Books, including A STUDY IN CHARLOTTE, THE LAST OF AUGUST, THE CASE FOR JAMIE, and A QUESTION OF HOLMES. She's also the author of the poetry collections GIRL-KING and UNHISTORICAL (University of Akron) and is the recipient of a National Endowment for the Arts fellowship. She earned her BA in literature from Middlebury College and her MFA in poetry from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. She lives in Michigan with her husband, cat, dog, and collection of deerstalker caps.

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 8,389 reviews
Profile Image for Emily May.
1,946 reviews292k followers
March 2, 2016
2 1/2 stars. This was fun in parts, but it really didn't do for me what it seems to be doing for a lot of readers and critics.

A Study in Charlotte follows the descendants of Sherlock Holmes and John Watson as they solve crimes on a modern-day college campus. In this story, both Sherlock and Watson were real people and Arthur Conan Doyle was Watson's literary agent, who helped publish the tales of their cases.

Many years later, Charlotte Holmes and Jamie Watson find themselves caught up in some copycat crimes that appear to be framing the two, using scenes directly out of the old stories.

My first thought is that this book, while not without some humourous moments, is simply not needed or different enough. It is yet another version of a modern day Sherlock and it's hard to stand out when you go up directly against Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman (yes, I love BBC Sherlock!).

It does not attempt to go to new levels or explore new things. Perhaps the most interesting difference is that "Sherlock" is now a teenage girl, and yet her personality is identical to that of the original Sherlock Holmes. She's his great-great-granddaughter and yet, somehow, she talks with the exact same voice, pauses frequently to make deductions, has the exact same habits (including a drug problem), and truly feels like the exact same character.

And, to be honest, the original Sherlock and the BBC Sherlock are kind of assholes - it's the nature of the character. But, in both cases, it is offset by a quirky charm and a sharp wit. I don't think Charlotte ever quite pulls off the charm aspect, appearing merely as a bratty teenager who interferes in crime-solving. She is very intelligent, occasionally amusing, but never lovable.

As I said, the book is entertaining in parts. Watson's naivete creates some funny scenarios and the writing flows well. It's just... I'd rather watch BBC Sherlock instead. And I don't feel like you need to do both.

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Profile Image for Emma Giordano.
317 reviews116k followers
May 19, 2018
I have to say, this book really took me by surprise! I knew as soon as I heard about a YA-Sherlock Holmes retelling that I would take well to this story, but I was not prepared for how much I loved it!

CW: murder, talk of rape, substance abuse

A Study in Charlotte is a truly fun and entertaining young adult mystery novel with a fabulous first installment. The plot was engaging, well-written, and unexpected. I especially enjoyed how the author weaved in actual tales of Sherlock Holmes as a way for the antagonist to taunt the famous pair of comrades. I felt the mystery was really well-done, keeping me guessing throughout the entirety of the story and surprising me in the end.

I found Jamie and Charlotte to be complimentary protagonists to one another. Charlotte is extremely intelligent and calculated, albeit a little unhinged, and Jamie is grounded and supportive, if a little impulsive. I adore the fateful friendship between these two and adored getting to watch their shared ancestry develop into an individual connection. While romantic feelings are formed during this story, Charlotte and Jamie are best friends first, and I would not consider A Study in Charlotte a romance novel. It was refreshing to see a true friendship develop into what MIGHT be a very slow-burn romance in the future, but to focus on their platonic relationship first.

I really love this series so far and absolutely plan on completing it! I would definitely recommend to those who enjoy some fun young adult thrillers with interesting protagonists!
Profile Image for Hailey (Hailey in Bookland).
603 reviews87.3k followers
October 10, 2017
This was tons of fun! I’m a Sherlock fan, but not a super fan by any means. I’ve watched the BBC show and know the basics about the story but I’ve never actually read Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s tales (though I plan to!) So with my knowledge of Sherlock in mind, I thought this was an excellent tribute. Watson was just as I’d imagine him, and Sherlock was fascinating, as per usual. Together the pair made an incredible power couple. This has some hints of romance that I thought would annoy me but I actually didn’t mind them surprisingly. I liked the fact that Holmes and Watson weren’t fictional characters and the MCs were their descendants. It made for a unique element. Following the murder mystery in this book felt like watching Sherlock, but high school edition, and I loved it. A really great retelling overall!
Profile Image for Melanie.
1,156 reviews97.9k followers
January 26, 2019

“I felt like I was being pulled through a dark, dank wardrobe into some boozy Narnia.”

This was the most unexpected treat! I thought that I might enjoy this one, but I never expected to fall completely head over heels for it, especially after reading A Study in Scarlet the night before starting this! This is a reimagining of Sherlock and Watson, but told in the perspective of their descendants, Charlotte and Jamie, in modern day! And, oh my gosh, this was just fantastic!

Jamie Watson recently left the UK to attend a Connecticut prep school because of a rugby scholarship, and he isn’t thrilled to be leaving his home away from his mother and to be closer to his father and his new family. Charlotte Holmes also attends this school, but she spends most of her days in her laboratory testing her genius and solving mysteries. And these two’s paths cross because (yeah, you probably guessed it) a recent murder that happened on campus. Oh, and they are both being framed for it!

“We weren't Sherlock Holmes and John Watson. I was ok with that, I thought. We had things they didn't, too. Like electricity, and refrigerators. And Mario Kart.”

But this book was for sure a lot darker than I was originally expecting. I mean, it obviously deals with murder mysteries, but it also deals heavily with drug addiction and sexual assault. And I just enjoyed how themes like rape and addiction were constantly at the forefront of the story, and how Charlotte is slowly reclaiming part of herself, while telling more and more of her truth. I just feel like themes like this need to be more normalized, especially in school settings, and I think it was really respectfully done, too.

I said this in my review for A Study in Scarlet, too, but with both stories I just think it is pure genius to tell the story in Watson’s perspective. And it really helps that Jamie Watson is the softest and sweetest boy in existence. But I just think seeing Charlotte through his eyes was so pure and just added something to the story that would have been impossible to achieve in any other way of telling the story. And just in general, this story is very character driven, and I easily fell in love with both of the stars, which was for sure something I wasn’t expecting going in.

“The two of us, we're the best kind of disaster. Apples and oranges. Well, more like apples and machetes.”

Yet, the heart of this novel is for sure a murder mystery, and I was impressed by how much it kept me on my toes! I really didn’t see the twists coming, and the ending utterly surprised me. I truly loved it, and I thought it was expertly done. And I think Brittany Cavallaro really crafted something so smart and wove something so beautifully.

Overall, I really enjoyed this one! I am so excited to see how August Moriarty is going to come into play, especially with the title of book two being The Last of August! But I loved this reimagining, I loved these characters even more than who they are based off of, and I was completely enthralled with this dark story. I can’t wait for Jamie and Charlotte’s next adventure.

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Content and trigger warnings for talk of suicide, talk of past sexual assault, talk of past rape, murder, a lot of talk about drug use, drug addiction, mild self harm (allowing glass to be pushed deeper in the skin), and drugging.
Profile Image for megs_bookrack.
1,471 reviews9,378 followers
August 31, 2022
When Jamie Watson gets shipped off to boarding school in Connecticut, he is sad about leaving London behind.

After arriving though, he quickly finds himself elbows deep in intrigue and thinking nothing about 'shoddy ole' London.

In an alarming twist of fate, Charlotte Holmes, the descendant of the infamous Sherlock Holmes, also attends this very same boarding school. Coincidence?

I think not.

Jamie, the descendant of John Watson, the very one who penned those cute little Sherlock Holmes tales, has heard all about Charlotte and wants nothing more than to be her friend.

In the flesh, Charlotte is beautiful, edgy and addicted to opiates. What's not to love?

Before long they are seeing each other on the reg and Charlotte seems to be warming to him.

This is made especially significant by the fact that she's not particularly warm with anyone.

After a fellow student, one that Charlotte has had a horrifying encounter with, ends up dead and another on the brink of death, the duo must work together to prove they are innocent of the crimes.

It is clear that Charlotte and Jamie are being framed and in ways reminiscent of cases the original Sherlock and Holmes investigated.

This was a pretty good story. There was nothing bad about it, but it never really reached a level where I was attached, or intrigued by it.

I read it. It happened, then it was over and I moved on very quickly. I guess I was hoping for a little more, if I am being honest.

I'm not sure if I will continue on with the series. I may read the synopsis of the next one, as well as some of the reviews, to see if I should pick it up.

For now, if I had to choose a YA Mystery series to continue with, it would be the Stalking Jack the Ripper series over this one.

Profile Image for ♛ may.
805 reviews3,775 followers
December 23, 2017
Full review posted

My heart has been needing this book for longer than I realized I needed this book.

- THIS. BOOK. IS. BLOODY. BRILLIANT. For a number of reasons
- Aside from the fact that I read this book in less than a day and that I physically could NOT stop reading it, this book is the murder mystery you’ve always needed
- You got a snarky know-it-all girl
- You got a nerdy precious boy
- So after a murder took place on school grounds and Holmes and Watson are the primary suspects, bc well, they had a fall out with the victim a few days back…all the evidence is pointing towards them
- Now these kids gotta take it into their hands to solve the puzzle
- Damn can I just say how much I love the dynamics between Jaime and charlotte ???
- They’re adorable and rude and precious and bloody genius
- Except for my baby Jaime, he can be a little dense sometimes (its okay, he’s doing his best) and literally miss whats RIGHT THERE
- There is great friendships featured too, along with fem power (obvs) and Jaime being the literal greatest cinnamon roll
- He’s an aspiring writer too, I mean, does it get more adorbs than that??
- I have grown an overnight passion for Sherlock holmes retellings and I ain’t stopping anytime soon
- Thank goodness the author realized she is a gift to this world and wrote two more books in the series

“And even so, before I had ever met Charlotte Holmes, I was sure she was the only friend I would make in that miserable place.”

4.5 stars!!
Profile Image for Chelsea (chelseadolling reads).
1,474 reviews19.2k followers
August 3, 2018
This was a rip-roarin’ good time! Not at all what I was expecting but it was definitely v enjoyable. Also I am a fan of Charlotte’s big dick energy. Such fun!
Profile Image for Lucy Tonks.
436 reviews703 followers
June 27, 2021
I really hoped this would be better. But in the end I just felt like the story was ridiculous. I'm utterly disappointed by this. I didn't expect to love it by any means, but I didn't expected it to be this bad. I'm a very big fan of the Sherlock BBC tv show featuring Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman, so this being related to Sherlock Holmes I expected to at least enjoy it, but nope. And now please enjoy this Sherlock gifs filled review! (also I get pretty mean in it, so if you love this book, I do not mean to offend you. I'm just saying my thoughts and opinions on this book)

Buddy read this with my two favourites Krizzie and Mashie. Buddy reading this with you guys made the experience less painful haha.
Bookish detectives buddy read #4

In this book we follow the descendents of Sherlock Holmes and John Watson, Charlotte Holmes and Jaime Watson as they try to uncover who is trying to frame them for the death of a boy that goes to the same school as them.

The premise sound interesting. Promising even. But... well, from my rating you can clearly see that was not the case.

Me when I read the sypnopsis:

Me while I was reading the book:

Also me:

This book tried so hard to be like Sherlock and Truly Devious combined, but failed. Miserably. It tried to be witty and funny, but just ended up being ridiculous. There were so many times when I was either cringing or laughing out loud because of how ridiculous these whole situations were.

The audiobook was the only thing that kept me from DNf-ing it. Well, the audiobook and the buddy read of course. But I'm not saying that because the audiobook was amazing and excellet and such, no. It was easy to listen to it and it helped me finish the book faster.

The whole time I was reading this Charlotte just radiated "I'm not like other girls" vibes.

Can you feel my pain?
I understand why she was made to be this qUrKiEr character, Sherlock is pretty wierd too, but here, the way it was portrayed, just made her character feel full of troupes.

Jaime on the other hand was a pretty acuratte replica of John Watson. Isn't he supposed to be a descendant of him? Then why does Jamie feel like a ripoff of John Watson with less of a personality?

Reading from Jaime's, and only Jaime's POV was painful. Because Charlotte is the one doing most of the work, we are kept a lot in the dark until the very end of the book. Which yeah being a murder mystery book, it's understandable, but after a while it just gets annoying. Also Jaime didn't even contribute that much to the story. he was just there to watch Charlotte work! I don't think he even made one discovery on his own! Because of how little we knew through out the book, I got bored very often. I just wanted the answers!

But nope, I had to endure reading this whole book, then getting all of the answers at once. And at that point I didn't even really care. I was just bored and annoyed and I wanted the book to be over. I actually read the second half of the book in one sitting just so I could be done with this book.

I don't even know what to say about the overall mystery. It wasn't predictable. It really wasn't. But as every aspect in this book, the end reveal was also ridiculous. This book was filled with just so much drama and I was not here for it.

Although I didn't like this book, I still wanna try and continue this series, but if I don't pick the next book up soon, I most likely won't. I do actually hope to read The Last of August in April, so wish me luck.

In the end, this book just was not my cup of tea, but that doesn't mean other people won't enjoy it. No, this is just my opinion and if you do decide to pick it up (even if i don't recommend it), I hope that you like it.
Profile Image for chan ☆.
1,041 reviews47.6k followers
July 17, 2018
oxy addicted female sherlock holmes & a soft hipster watson

this was fun and dark and twisted. everything that one could ever want from a sherlock story, right? i'm not sure what i was expecting but i don't think it was this. i guess i assumed since it would be a retelling that it would be a little lighter and more fun.

but i didn't laugh a lot. i did feel things though.

first off, the characters were great. watson was easy to read, probably because he was narrating. and holmes was just fucking fascinating as most renditions of holmes are. both were well adapted for the 21st century and i liked that they were related to the original holmes and watson. and that their meeting was sort of destined to happen (even though it was cleverly orchestrated).

one little thing that i liked was the way that watson talks about holmes before he's gotten to know her. it's a subtle sort of hero worship that i think we can all in some part relate to. like meeting a favorite youtuber in person. the warring feelings that he has... that he feels he can innately trust her but how stupid that sounds. it just resonated with me strangely. and was something that definitely stood out to me.

obviously, the mystery aspect of this is what kept me from setting this book down. it was satisfying and the twists were great. the conclusion was less showy than i would have liked but it worked to an extent.

and honestly, i'm just interested to see what happens next. what crimes will be solved. will holmes and watson fall madly in love? dunno but i'm definitely going to find out.


i'm just a big dumb sucker for boys named jamie; can't wait to read this
Profile Image for ˗ˏˋ lia ˎˊ˗.
278 reviews373 followers
March 8, 2021
“i don’t need someone to fight for me. i can fight for myself.”

a sherlock holmes ya retelling? oof, count me in. as i love the bbc sherlock tv show and i’ve been craving rewatching it for the past few days, i knew this was the right time to read this one. and that was absolutely correct. i almost would’ve finished it within 24 hours since i only had about 20 pages left last night, but i was really exhausted and i didn’t want to rush it because i had enjoyed it so incredibly much thus far and the ending shouldn’t be any different.

the writing style definitely took me by surprise. honestly, i didn’t have much expectations concerning that aspect. the plot was really well-written and the characters were developed nicely. what i loved the most, however, was that there were elements of a slow burn romance, but it isn’t the typical insta love trope that i kind of had expected.

charlotte and jamie are SUCH great characters! jamie was exactly like you would imagine a modern day watson to be, and charlotte of course was intelligent, no doubt, but the savageness!! ugh, queen. she is someone you can’t help but love. the plot in general was really intriguing and kept me guessing until the end with some nice twists and turns. let’s be real, i didn’t expect to enjoy this as much as i have, but i’m so incredibly glad and literally immediately picked up the sequel, which rarely happens.

→ 4.5 stars
Profile Image for krista ☽✧.
172 reviews527 followers
March 28, 2021
“We weren't Sherlock Holmes and John Watson. I was ok with that, I thought. We had things they didn't, too. Like electricity, and refrigerators. And Mario Kart.”

Buddy read with my fellow mystery detectives Lucid Lucy and Mashiee

Changed my rating from 3 stars too two stars because i never thought about this book again , it just didnt stay with me at all and i just coudnt connect. this isnt necersarry a bad book but just not my book.

A study in Charlotte. is the first book in the mystery series called Charlotte Homes by Brittany Cavallaro. This story is inspired by the original Sherlock Holmes series. It follows the great granddaughter of Sherlock and the great grandson of John Watson who is apparantly also in the original stories. Disclaimer ; i never readed the original sherlock stories , i didnt watch the movies or the tv show basically i know nothing about this Mr. Sherlock besides that he solved mysteries , this is my opinion of this book without knowing what happends in the original stories , this also might be why i didnt love this book. so we follow these two teenagers James aka Jamie and Charlotte Holmes. They are at a boarding school together both because of different reasons. Jamie knew about Charlotte allalong and really wants too meet her which he does as they are being forced too work on murder cases together as they both seem too be suspects on a murder of a fellow boardingschool student. They basically try too figure out who actually killed this person and who is framing them as they believe they are being framed by someone.

The story is told in first person trough the eyes of James/Jamie so it doesnt have a dual POV which i wished it had.

I am just going too make a list here of Cons and Pros and do a different style then normal in this revieuw. Keep in mind that i didnt readed the original stories and that i dont know a single thing about this sherlock dude and all the other dudes from the original story. .

- This has the being forced too work with eachother but not really liking eachother at least from Charlotte her side in the begining , trope i love this trope and it was quite entertaining troughout the book too see their banter that came because of this situation and the dynmaic it created and them slowly being friends and maybe more during the time they spend together
- Charlotte I liked Charlotte and find her an intresting charracter that isnt perfect and has a lot of layers too her and is definitly morally grey , i just didnt like not reading from her POV and only from jamie his POV. The last chapter was from Charlotte her POV and that was my favorite chapter.

Meh ☾ - the dynamic between Charlotte and Jamie i sometimes liked for example their banter and how Charlotte slowly let Jamie in and he helped her with her struggeling but Jamie was a bit stalker ish which i didnt like and kept repeating the same things about her over and over again and idk , from his side it felt kinda a bit insta love ? i dont know how too explain , this revieuw is a mess because idk what too think of this book.

the writing was fine , nothing special for me , nothing too bad.

- only one pov this one pov situation we have in this book wasnt nice for me in this case. I would have liked the story more if we also got Charlotte her pov as she is much more intresting , i actually didnt felt any connection towards Jamie which made it hard too read from his POV and he was just so boring for me and then being stuck in his head isnt nice.
- Boring plot i actually found the plot pretty boring and it didnt keep me that invested , like if i was reading it then it was fine but i didnt think about it while not reading which is for me what makes a book good. This can also have something too do as i know nothing of sherlock dude so this is a '' new '' story for me so i dont get the references etc. so i also cant say about this book if that is done well. [ hm krizzie maybe you shouldnt even have picked this book up lmao. ]
- just not really a connection too the story that is probably why i didnt love this because when i read a story i need a spark , i need too keep thinking about it when i am not reading etc. and this didnt have that for me.

Overall i would describe this book as '' just fine '' it wasnt something that i loved a lot but i didnt hate it and while reading i did enjoy it mostly. I just didnt really connect too the whole story besides Charlotte her charracter and sometimes the dynamic between the two main charracters. This can also be because i havent readed anything sherlock dude. So maybe people who have actual knowledge like this more. But it didnt blow away Lucy who does have knowledge so idk.

This isnt a bad book in my opinion but i just didnt connect with it enough too love it..

for people who readed the series based on my thoughts on this one do you guys reccomend reading the sequel too me ??
Profile Image for Tatiana.
1,386 reviews11.8k followers
July 20, 2017
Well, this was utterly ridiculous as far as mysteries go.

And also ham-handed in its handling of both rape and drug use.
Profile Image for Nastassja.
423 reviews976 followers
Shelved as 'did-not-finish'
April 2, 2016

DNF at about 50%

*This review contains spoilers*

I am going to lay this book aside for now. Maybe it has to do with me finishing The Winner's Kiss recently, which made me a mess and in no shape for reading anything else. At least partly The Winner's kiss is to blame, but mostly I am disappointed with A study in Charlotte, because it started like such a promising light funny read and then turned - abruptly - into something dark with serious issues, which weren't handled properly in my opinion.

What I liked about this books is that we have a world where MCs are actually descendants of famous James Watson and Sherlock Holmes; it's like a parallel universe and it was fun. We hear the story from Watson's first POV and he is such a hilarious guy! And what I liked even more is that a killer orchestrates his murders according to the original The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes. If you are a fan, you can imagine how much fun it is to follow your favorite stories in this book. But then me met Charlotte Holmes and here my problems slowly started to creep out of the ground and strangle my interest for the story. First of all, Charlotte is absolutely unlikable character. She is too similar to the original Holmes which is not good in this case. I'll explain. Original Holmes is not a pleasant person. He is quiet unlikeable and vile. He does drugs, he is not the most sociable person, he mostly tolerates humanity because it serves his needs, he is a genius and geniuses are mostly introverts. It's understandable. But original Holmes has charm, even with his traits, he is a pleasant character to read about (mostly). Let's look at Charlotte. She does drugs (started at the age of 12), she smokes (the least of her sins) she is rude to people, she is an introvert, she is a genius (tons of tutors and money can make a genius out of an oaf). She plays violin. Overall, she is the exact female version of Holmes. She is only 16-years-old. Do you know how all the qualities above look on a 16-years-old teenager? Right. Like on an angry depressed brat. She doesn't look special from the side, she looks like an average teenager going through the "hard phase" of their maturing. Which makes her highly unlikeable, to me at least, as a character whom I supposedly must admire according to Watson who can't stop admire Charlotte on every page of the book. If you don't have problems with admiring, you are welcome to read this book. For me, the loss of connection with MC is a way to nowhere.

My second and most important claim about this book is rape. Charlotte was raped by a guy who wasn't the most decent human being and raped Charlotte when she was under influence of drugs and couldn't say no or protect herself. Now, I am absolutely appalled by the way this rape part was presented to us. The guys who raped Charlotte was killed and Charlotte and Watson (he beat the guy) were main suspects for a while. It seems like rape was a plot device to make our characters suspects, and rather than that the topic was easily swept away, because, gah, dealing with aftermaths of rape is not that important. Or why tell your parents that you were raped, because they will only pity you and you don't need their sympathy when you are the almighty Holmes. Many people will probably disagree with me, but I mainly try to avoid rape in books, it's a trigger for me, and when I have to deal with such issues in books, I'd prefer them to be handled reasonably, not just because it's convenient for the plot.

I was going to write one paragraph for this review, but my thoughts and feelings got the best of me and wouldn't let me go until I lifted this weight off my chest. Mostly, I think that this book is a kind of book you have try for yourself and decide whether you like it or not. I can say that my decision to DNF it mostly "it's not you it's me" decision. This book is just not for me, which doesn't make it automatically not your book either. On the contrary, many people find the story compelling and don't have the same issues as I did. I won't even rate it on purpose, because I believe my rating won't be honest or objective. I 'll better go and find something really funny to get me over "hard time".

Profile Image for Trina (Between Chapters).
853 reviews3,765 followers
April 14, 2019
I'm crying that I finished this already and the next book isn't in at my library yet.

Fast paced, hooked me right off the bat. I appreciate books that jump right into the thick of things, especially mysteries.

Audio review: The narration was very good but I will admit that the mystery lost me a little and I would have probably preferred the print format to be able to flip around and put everything together better.

tw: addiction, rape, murder, poison, bombing on a school campus, inappropriate use of the term 'spirit animal.'
Profile Image for Rachel  (APCB Reviews).
331 reviews1,191 followers
March 5, 2016
Quick-Fire Review: I don't know what's more alluring, the cover or the synopsis. I especially admired the book's ties to the Sherlock Holmes mysteries and was wildly impressed by how fluid and natural the connections were between the two. This book balances the line between paying homage to Holmes mysteries and also being fresh and original. A Study in Charlotte brings a thrilling plot, spot-on characterization, whip-smart writing, and a puzzling mystery that will keep you guessing until the very end. Although there's no cliffhanger, I'm anxious for the next book!

Read the full review @ A Perfection Called Books

Detailed Review:
Although this book isn't one I'd usually pick up since I'm not an avid reader of mystery novels, the synopsis was too alluring to pass up and I quickly became obsessed with the premise of this novel. I've always had fond memories of Sherlock Holmes. When I was younger I used to watch old black-and-white tv series episodes with my father. I'd feebly attempt to solve the mystery and delight in the fact that I was never right. The eccentricity and pure brilliance of Holmes along with the intricacies of the crimes, the Watson companionship, and the revealing ends left a charmed imprint of Sherlock on my childhood.

Throughout this novel, Brittany spreads her love and knowledge of Sherlock Holmes to readers in such a fresh way. I love the idea of Holmes and Watson being real and their descendants solving crimes together. This book balances the line between paying homage to Holmes and also being fresh and original. I especially admired the book's ties to the Sherlock Holmes mysteries and was wildly impressed by how fluid and natural the connections were between Holmes stories and A Study in Charlotte. It's so creative and fun to see how one of the most famous fictional-sleuthing duos is re-imagined as reality.

Given how authentic the connections are between this book and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's stories, it's no surprise that the characterization was perfect. Charlotte mirrors Holmes' quirks and addictions. Her speech and actions are uncannily similar to him, yet she's still her own person. Her insecurities, troubles, and motives are where she really diverges from Holmes, and I'm glad Charlotte wasn't portrayed as a carbon copy of him. Her perceptiveness and reasoning skills are riveting. Her character is so fascinating, and I'm glad this story is told from Watson's point of view which makes her even more mysterious and a better study. Oh my dear Watson! I love Jamie. He's likable and funny and the perfect person to temper Charlotte.

I love the evolving relationship between Charlotte and Jamie as we see them learn to trust each other and become so much more. I ship it! That is all I shall say on the matter. The dynamic between Charlotte and Jamie manages to keep up with the golden interactions between Holmes and Watson. The interactions are hilarious and awkward and as strange as you'd expect.

Someone is framing Charlotte and Jamie for the death of a student at school in a sick imitation of Holmes' most famous mysteries. As more and more suspicious activities arise, the two team up and attempt to clear their names. I loved how this mystery developed and heightened throughout the book. There are so many twists and turns in the plot, you have no idea who you can trust! The complexity and attention to detail in the plotting of the crimes are creepy yet artfully done. The plotting is pure genius and meticulously planned. I'm in awe of the sheer scope and connections and threads scattered throughout this novel that manage to seamlessly come together at the end.

Brittany's writing is stellar and completely absorbing. Her wit and humor shine through in this novel as does her talent for writing. A Study in Charlotte ends fairly resolved, and there are two more books in the series to come! I thoroughly enjoyed this book and can't wait to see where the newest Holmes and Watson take us next.

A Study in Charlotte brings a thrilling plot, spot-on characterization, whip-smart writing, and a puzzling mystery that will keep you guessing until the very end.

In a gif:
Profile Image for Erin .
1,214 reviews1,123 followers
September 15, 2018
I first have start off by stating that I have never read any Sherlock Holmes books, I've never seen a Sherlock Holmes movie, and I've never seen any of the tv shows about Sherlock Holmes. I don't really know all that much about Sherlock Holmes at all.

I liked A Study In Charlotte but I don't know if I would have liked it more or less had I not gone into this book almost completely blind of the history. This book has been sitting on my shelf for ages and I don't even know where it came from. I don't remember buying it but I could have and I don't remember receiving it as a gift but its possible. Where ever it came from, I'm happy I had it because I think this book has opened up a whole new world for me. Now I not only need to read the rest of this series but I need to read the actual Sherlock Holmes series and watch the shows too.

No rec because I'm not sure Sherlock Holmes lovers would like this book and non Sherlock Holmes may like myself become slightly obsessed with all things Sherlock.

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Profile Image for Paige  Bookdragon.
938 reviews608 followers
March 14, 2016

I'm a fan of Sherlock Holmes, so when I saw this book is about the descendants of Sherly and Johnny, I know I have to read it because...


First of all, I went into this book with an expectation of murder, mystery and purely platonic relationship between the main characters. Despite shipping BBC's Sherlock and John (because how can you not ship Benedict and Martin?), I still love the relationship between the original Sherlock and Watson.

They have the best friendship ever and I was hoping that the author will retain that beautiful relationship in this contemporary book.

Well, I was disappointed.


Not only this book has some frigging romance in it (wasn't much but still..), the mystery is also something that makes me roll my eyes and the main character, Charlotte annoys me sometimes.


Let me start with the romance thingy first. It was not that stressed in the story. It wasn't insta-love, thank goodness and it was just put around the later chapters in the book. What really disappoint me is that the relationship between Charlotte and Jamie in the beginning of the story is something that Sherlock and John has.

Jamie is wary of Charlotte but is amazed by her deduction skills
Charlotte, being a Holmes, is an ass, but deep down, she cares for Jamie too.

But then Jamie started caring for Charlotte too much for the friendship level and eventually, it was implied ( no spoiler as to what happened) that romance has now invaded the book.



The second thing is the mystery in this book. I love mysteries that doesn't confuse the fuck out of me. I want to understand what the hell is going on and who's who in the story. A Study in Charlotte has so many characters mentioned that I get confused sometimes. Maybe it was just me though but it really affected my focus on this book.


Then there's Charlotte Holmes. She's a pure "Holmes" and I like that. That means, an ass, dramatic and thinks highly of oneself. I'm not really sure why but when Sherlock (the original one) and Benedict's Sherlock play the Holmes character, it was endearing despite the assholiness of the characters.

Charlotte doesn't have the charm. She came off as a stuck up bitch to me and even though I like her sometimes because I can see the Holmes trait in her when she prattles about her deductions, she didn't became a favorite character of mine.


These are the top 3 things that really stand out why this book didn't became a favorite. Despite having some issues with it, I still enjoyed reading it somehow and even finished it.The narrator (Jamie) is quite funny and I think that helped quite a lot.
Profile Image for Madison Warner Fairbanks.
2,174 reviews284 followers
August 17, 2021
A Study in Charlotte by Brittany Cavallaro
YA contemporary retelling of a Sherlock Holmes and Watson mystery.
There are rules to being a Watson to a Holmes. As the two teens are forced into their roles by their manipulative parents, the legend, and issues are continued for another generation.
Charlotte and Jamie are being framed for a student that is murder in the dorm. Charlotte unravels the clues and makes deductions while Jamie trails behind and fixes things.

I’m amazed by the brilliance of police and Holmes simply by being observant and knowing patterns and such. But I’m a surface reader and was bothered by the drugs, the manipulation and the acceptance of the roles they must play.
It was clever overall in the solved mystery.
Profile Image for Emily.
Author 15 books68.7k followers
July 27, 2015
I WOULD give a disclaimer that Brittany Cavallaro is a friend of mine, but the fact is, our friendship really blossomed AFTER I read this book. As in, I read this book and was like, "How do I make you mine, Brittany Cavallaro? I want to live in your beautiful brain."

I really don't know where to start. How about with the writing? Absolutely gorgeous. Cavallaro is an accomplished poet and even in this YA novel, that really shows. Her sentences aren't "purple" or overwrought, but they do shine. Her writing's clean and Jamie's voice is so strong and singular. It's the perfect balance of classic Watson and Brand New Fully Realized Human Being Bursting onto the YA Scene. I have such a soft spot for this sweet, nerdy, book-loving babe of a teenage boy. I'm not totally sure how she did, but Cavallaro created a boy who reads as authentically a teenager and still, somehow, in a very real way, as dreamy. As in, Jamie Watson is the boy I would've had a crush on in high school.

And Charlotte Holmes is the girl I would've desperately wanted to befriend and also been a little bit afraid of. Also she is my current #1 style icon. Charlotte is so real. She's dark, brilliant, disturbed, and intense. She's difficult and self-assured and wonderfully multi-faceted. She's dealing with really big things, things that have happened to her and things that she's done. One thing I so love about this book is that there's no bait and switch with the "unlikable female protagonist" trope, if that makes sense. I was sympathetic to her from the beginning, partly because she's just such an intriguing genius that she can get away with a lot, but when Charlotte suggests deep dark secrets, she means deep, dark secrets. She lives with guilt and regret and it's fascinating and moving to watch how she deals with her past, and to follow her deepening friendship (and possibly more? who know! you'll have to READ) with Jamie.

I also love-love-love all the tie-ins to classic Sherlock. This isn't a simple retelling. There's a lot more going on here, a lot of tangled history between the Watsons and Holmeses, that will appeal as much to Sir Arthur Conan Doyle fans as to BBC Sherlock fans as to good, old YA mystery/thriller fans. Because GET THIS: Brittany Cavallaro is a Sherlockian Scholar with experience teaching "detective fiction"!!!

In short, this book is gonna leave you thoroughly Sherlocked.
Profile Image for Theresa.
510 reviews1,561 followers
July 20, 2018
nope, nope, nope, dnf'ing this at 110 pages.

WHAT THE HELL IS THIS MESS. This should not be allowed to be classified as some sort of Holmes/Watson retelling. It's very evidently only using that premise to sell books and for the author to not have to bother much with character building.

Let's start off with the writing style because it's so bad. I guess the author was trying to have some sort of distinctive writing style, but it ended up just being terrible with expressions like:

Holmes smiled in a closed-mouth kind of way.
At first glance he gave an impression of grocery-store averageness.
Holmes graced me with one of her quicksilver smiles.

like wtf does that even MEAN?!

Jamie is weirdly protective of Charlotte, and pulls a lot of vomit-inducing alpha male shit like getting mad at her for having, oh my God are you ready for this, having had sex with someone before she even knew him? A literal DAY after they even met each other for the first time? He also states how he feels ashamed after crying and considers it a weakness. Cue heavy eye-rolling on my part.
Their entire "relationship"/"friendship" was a sham in my eyes. The real Watson and Holmes have an actual origin story, there's actual cause for their friendship, whereas these two just vaguely know of each other, meet each other and are instantly the best of friends. Even though Charlotte, in true Holmes fashion, is portrayed as stand-offish and distant, this rule obviously doesn't apply when you're trying to force a relationship. The added sexual tension just makes it worse.

By distinction the worst part, however, was that this book tries SO HARD to make Charlotte into Sherlock and Jamie into Watson despite them being literally only very, VERY distantly related to them at this point. After several generations of new blood mixed in you'd think that they wouldn't have the EXACT SAME PERSONALITIES as their ancestors, but I guess then you'd be wrong. Charlotte even plays the violin for goodness sake.

I really, really tried, for you guys and for me, to finish this book so that I could film a proper rant video about it and discuss all of this in more detail (if this is what I come up with after just 100 pages I'm sure there'd be much, much more to hate by the end) but I just don't have the energy. I violently hate this book. It's so bad. Just don't ever go near it, really.
Profile Image for Bridget Hodder.
Author 4 books82 followers
November 13, 2015
I was well and truly Sherlocked before picking up this book--which I did with both hope and trepidation. You see, those of us who love the Sherlock world always want more. And there's a limited supply. Or, to qualify that statement: a limited supply of quality additions to the oeuvre. (Do you like that word, "oeuvre"? I hope so. I feel it is a very Sherlock word.)

I'll cut to the verdict: YES!!! PARTY AT 221-B!

Because Sherlock is back-- in female form, with a totally empathetic, very perfectly Watsonian guy as her Watson, writing down her exploits, narrating the story, and falling in love with her. Although he knows way better than to do that. Because they're both descended from their original namesakes, and we all know the original Holmes & Watson were soul mates, but not precisely healthy.

Did I hear you say that Sherlockian gender-bending's been done already? Yes. But not like this. Not by someone who really understands the characters and their relationships (oh yes, I did say "relationships", which is a close relative to the word "ship", and if you ship Sherlock/ Watson, be of very good cheer). All our favorites are here in this story-- and the essence of their personalities, what makes them who they are, is unaltered. The author shows us that, even if you put these two sleuths (or one sleuth and one best friend) into different bodies, a different era, different situations with different problems...at least two things can stay the same: who they really are, and how we feel about them.

I just finished this book, and I feel fantastic about it. How are you feeling? Hey kid, wanna awesome Sherlock story?

Try this one. I got it for free in exchange for an honest review, but for you--I don't know, maybe 17 bucks when it comes out next year?
Profile Image for Sara (sarawithoutanH).
459 reviews2,959 followers
August 10, 2017
So I enjoyed this way more than I thought I would. It reminded me a lot of the sort of books I enjoyed when I was younger and gave me a BBC Sherlock meets Veronica Mars sort of vibe. The writing style also pleasantly surprised me because I expected it to be a lot more elementary than it was. I really liked both Charlotte and Jamie as characters. The only thing I found a bit cheesy was the whole being related to the original Sherlock and Holmes; it was a little too "Disney Descendants" for me. Other than that, I had a great time reading this book. Although, I listened to it on audio and the narrator wasn't anything special - his British accent was fake and terrible - so I don't necessarily recommend reading it that way.
Profile Image for Maureen.
493 reviews4,206 followers
December 3, 2018
I enjoyed this book SO much! It's kind a Sherlock reboot in staring a female Sherlock and I really loved how she and Jamie ended up working together to solve the CRIME!
I also really loved the dynamic between Jamie and Charlotte, their dialogue was always on point and their relationship was just complicated enough to be intriguing and interesting without being annoying.
Can't wait to finish the rest of the series!
Profile Image for Hilly.
692 reviews1,241 followers
October 9, 2019
3.5 stars

I am kind of in love with Jamie Watson? He's the sweetest human being and his humor is 👌

I don't know why I picked this up, I think I felt overwhelmed by my audiobook TBR that day so I just completely ignored it and chose a new audiobook to listen to while walking from and to university. I'm glad I did, this was so fun! The narrator was simply perfect for this book and he read everything as if he was Watson, which is probably the best way to narrate an audiobook.

I found the first half of the book stronger than the second half, but I think this is only a personal preference. I loved seeing Watson and Holmes getting to know (and insult) each other at the beginning lol. Their banter was great.

I really had no clue about who could have murdered Lee, but this was because as a reader I didn't get enough information from the characters to solve the crime before them, so that was a bit of a shame. On the other hand this book managed to keep me interested and made me laugh multiple times. It read like a funny mystery, however it didn't shy away from harder topics like drugs and rape.

Once I get my hands on the next book, I'll be reading that as soon as possible so I can reunite with Jamie Watson again 😙
Profile Image for Shaun Hutchinson.
Author 25 books4,595 followers
March 11, 2018
I loved this. I’ve had this book on my shelf for a while but never got around to reading it. The cover made me think it was for a slightly younger audience. If I’d known Anica Rissi had edited it, I would have definitely picked it up sooner.

Brittany Cavallaro’s Sherlock and Watson may not tread a lot of new ground, but their story is still fresh and exciting. I love that we’re dealing with a whole family of Sherlocks and Watsons and Moriartys. There’s something really unique about that. But for me the best part of the book was the relationship between Sherlock and Watson. The pure vulnerability that exists between them is quite lovely and very YA. Not something we see in the BBC Sherlock. I enjoyed this so much that I immediately bought the next two in the series.

I have seen a lot of reviews talking about how Charlotte lacks the charm of her other Sherlock counterparts, and I feel like I need to call BS on that right now. Sherlock is an asshole, full stop. Giving the character a pass when it’s played by Benedict Cumberbatch or Jonny Lee Miller because they’re cute is ridiculous. Just because they’re charming doesn’t make the character any less of an asshole. And, frankly, Cavallaro writes Charlotte with far more emotional vulnerability than any of the modern takes on Sherlock, so how about we stop giving passes to damaged, asshole men just because they’re cute, and shitting on women playing similar roles? Cool?
Profile Image for Sarah Elizabeth.
4,689 reviews1,267 followers
December 14, 2015
2.5 stars
(Source: I received a digital copy of this book for free on a read-to-review basis. Thanks to HarperCollins and Edelweiss.)

“We’re being toyed with,�� I said. “But why would he want us to know he’s after us?”

If I didn’t have a rule about finishing books that I started, then I would have not finished this.

Firstly, I’ve never read any Sherlock Holmes books, so I have no idea if this is a good rendition, and I’m not even going to go there.

I didn’t really like the characters in this, and I didn’t like the fact that Charlotte, who is supposed to be so clever takes coke and oxy! And yes, I googled it and Sherlock Holmes took drugs too, but they were apparently legal in the time in which he took them.

The storyline in this wasn’t bad, and there were some clever plotlines, but the pace was just slow, and maybe it was just the writing, but it really didn’t suck me in at all, and I just wanted it to be over. I think this was probably a case of wrong-person, wrong-book for me, but I just didn’t enjoy it unfortunately.

5 out of 10
Profile Image for Jeff Zentner.
Author 10 books2,159 followers
October 16, 2015
This book had a long way to go to win me over. I've just never been more than the most casual fan of the Sherlock Holmes character/archetype (I do like the Cumberbatch version). Plus, hasn't this character been written about more than any other in all literature?

Well, this book handily won me over and then some. A lot, actually. Who knew that all I needed to love the Holmes archetype was to see him take the form of a ferociously brilliant teenage girl?

I loved everything about this book. The voice is phenomenal. The plot is gripping. In a book with a plot and characters this great, I'd easily forgive bad writing. But guess what? The writing is magnificent too.

One final item of note: to write a character this brilliant at observation and deduction requires brilliant powers of observation and deduction. This is surely the high wire act of any Holmes story, and Cavallaro performs it with backflips.
Profile Image for Marissa.
209 reviews180 followers
January 17, 2019
A Study in Charlotte is a fast paced and fun mystery novel. It is kind of like a Sherlock and Watson reimagining but with them being actual people and the main characters as their great, great, great grandchildren. And these grandchildren end up being forced into a situation where they are framed for a murder and have to work together in order to figure everything out.

We follow Jamie Watson, who is going to Sherrington on scholarship. He can be kind of stupid sometimes, but I do love his personality. He is just a really great character. And then there is Charlotte Holmes. She is smart and cocky and strong. He comes off as cold and mean, but as the story goes on, you really get to see her softer side.

The plot is an extremely fun ride. I love all the twists and turns this book has. I had suspicions about who the culprit was, but I was never sure of anything. I also enjoyed Brittany Cavallaro's writing, and how she wrote the novel. It is set in first person POV from the POV of Jamie, and the novel read like journal entries that Jamie wrote, like how Watson chronicled the adventures of Sherlock.

Overall, it was a fun and engaging story with great characters and a lot of emotions attached to these wonderful characters. I highly recommend!
Profile Image for ✨    jami   ✨.
655 reviews3,854 followers
October 13, 2018
“We weren't Sherlock Holmes and John Watson. I was ok with that, I thought. We had things they didn't, too. Like electricity, and refrigerators. And Mario Kart.”

this is one of those times I just wanna reiterate that a THREE STARS means I LIKED IT. there is this weird thing here 3 stars = bad. This book isn't bad. I liked it. I just didn't REALLY like it, or love it. But I had a lot of fun reading it, and I plan to continue the series. I can see so much potential for this series, and these characters. But this book felt like too much set up for ~the next book~.

A Study in Charlotte follows the great granddaughter of Sherlock Holmes and the great grandson of John Watson. In this world, Watson and Sherlock were real, and Arthur Conan Doyle was their benefactor who published the books. Thus, the Sherlock, Watson and also Moriarty families all have living descendants who continue on the legacies of their famous forefathers.

We follow Charlotte Holmes and Jamie Watson, who've just started at a new boarding school together. Despite getting off on a bad foot, the two are forced to work together after someone starts murdering student at their school in Holmes mystery-esque ways and framing the two for it.

“A voice cut through the blood-roar. “Watson,” Holmes shouted, at what sounded like an enormous distance, “what the fuck do you think you’re doing?”

my favourite thing about this was the mystery I really liked how this mystery kept me on my toes. Until the very end I had no idea which theory to believe and there is SO many red herrings and potential suspects I felt hopelessly lost. The twist at the end got me SO good and I always love being surprised at the reveal in a mystery!

I also loved the modernisation of the story and the world-building around the Sherlock/Watson's. It was really interesting how the families in these stories had status in the world and that people were kind of .. reverential about the characters? It was super cool that the Moriarty's were also included and I liked that there was heaps of complex dynamics between each different family, with the Watsons/Holmes/Moriarty's all having these complicated relationships.

Finally, the relationship between Charlotte and Jamie specifically was really interesting. There is much more potential for growth here as the series progresses but it's a good start. I liked that they started off badly together and then they're forced together. No offence but the "forced to work with someone you don't like until you inevitably end up liking them" is a great trope.

“She was altogether colorless and severe, and still she managed to be beautiful. Not the way that girls are generally beautiful, but more like the way a knife catches the light, makes you want to take it in your hands.”

The modernisation was fun, I liked that it was set in a school setting and they had more access to technology and information than the originals. But it didn't really go far enough in my opinion and this is my major criticism.

So much of this series felt really similar to BBC Sherlock in terms of characterisation and plot. Charlotte didn't really deviate much from Sherlock in terms of personality and that was really annoying. It felt more like they were The Same Person instead of related. I felt like Cavallaro could have done so much more with her character and made her a bit more complex/dynamic then she was.

Jamie had potential but it was kinda lost. I felt like his character was both trying to be A Sweet Soft and also an Angry Violent it was confusing. So much of his personality and thought process basically revolved around Charlotte and I wish he had more characterisation that was unrelated to her.

I also felt like I had kind of seen so many things here before, in either Sherlock or Elementary. Although the way the families were set up was fun, and unique, and it was cool to see these characters as teenagers, everything else felt a bit Done Before which was disappointing.

Finally, I really really wish this book had more female characters. Charlotte is the only one really and there's always this "she's not like other girls" thing going on which I HATEEE. Like, she doesn't shop like the other girls, she doesn't gossip and she isn't silly and all that? it's kinda vague but it's also There?? I didn't like it?? I was waiting for SOMONE else to be a girl, like one of the Moriarty's (August!!) or anyone but .. nope. I think pitching this as a new take on Sherlock and then only making one (1) character a girl was kinda .. a wasted oppurtunity. There's also pretty much no diversity which Sucks.

“I wanted the two of us to be complicated together, to be difficult and engrossing and blindingly brilliant.”


Despite some bumps in the first book I think this series has POTENTIAL. The characters are set up in a way where I can see them as both individuals and a pair going through lots of character development. Also, the outside characters introduced like Charlotte's brother Milo and the Moriarty brothers have LOTS of potential. I like the direction this is going in. The sequel looks like it'll be less insulated and focus on a much larger mystery which is already getting me hype.

Overall .. I liked this book. It didn't blow me away or have me madly racing to finish it or buying up the next books immediately but it was fun and enjoyable to read. I really hope the potential I sense here pays off because if it does I can see myself loving the remainder of this series.

tw: rape, murder, poisoning, violence, drug use, drug addiction,
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