A STUDY IN CHARLOTTE by Brittany Cavallaro review + giveaway!

Sunday, February 28, 2016

Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books
Publication Date: March 1st, 2016
Pages: 336
Song I Played While Reading: Learning For Your Love by Marcus Marr
Rating: 4.5 stars

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.

I don't read much mystery, nor have I ever been a huge fan of Sherlock Holmes. People always tell me to watch the BBC TV show (which I kind of want to do now, after reading A STUDY IN CHARLOTTE), but the only Holmes-related thing I've ever watched is the Robert Downey Jr. movie, which I thought was fantastic. 
adored A STUDY IN CHARLOTTE. Seriously, this was so much fun! Reading this was as easy as breathing, as if I was right there in the story with our characters, racing to figure out this mystery. Charlotte and Jamie, or Holmes and Watson, were two characters that had a startlingly amount of depth to their relationship. Not only was it realistically written, with no witty one-liners layering every conversation or one trying hopelessly to flirt with the other, but they worked together. It's difficult to put into words, but everyone obviously knows the original Homles and Watson, right? To me, they were like that dynamic duo; they just fit together, occasionally balancing each other out, though most of the time getting on each other's nerves. Nothing was forced.
Jamie was loyal, kind, occasionally sentimental, and just an all-around great guy. He wasn't overly flirtatious and confident, like a lot of male leads are, but he also wasn't bland and whiny. He was created at the perfect middle ground. Charlotte was just an awe to be around, simply because of her brain and the way she thought. I can't fathom thinking the way she does. How the hell does one become so observant? That's a rhetorical question, since I know the answer to it, BUT STILL. SO JEALOUS. 
There was an underlying current of bleakness to the storyline that was oddly satisfying to me, mostly because I like my characters to have some level of understanding of how shitty the world can be. I'm not saying I don't like naive characters, but they can sometime be too fluffy, ya know? I want to see the dark side of people, especially with Charlotte. She had everything so finely tuned inside of her it was like talking to a robot. So when things finally starting coming up, I was grateful. 
Like I said earlier, the writing was smooth and super easy to read. I had no issues with it and thought it was strong for an author who was sort-of debuting her first YA novel. The storyline was intriguing and never once felt dull to me. I wasn't sure what was gonna happen next, since things progressed much more quickly than I had originally thought. It kept me on my toes. 
Overall, this was extremely fun and spunky! Anyone looking for a mystery novel, or anything related to Sherlock Holmes, will find this as an absolute treat. 

Favorite Quotes
"I belonged here, I thought, with her, as surely as anyone belonged anywhere.
As weird as here was.
Because there was just so much else crammed in that space, and any one part of would have made her Prime Suspect #1 in Every Murder Ever."

"Abbie turned around from the stove where she was making pancakes. "Oh no, Mal attack! Sorry about that. I wanted to let you sleep in."
I shrugged, juggling Malcom to my other arm. "It's okay, he was just saying hi. Have you seen Holmes? I need to find her, and kill her."

"Against the bright window, she was like a shadow gone abstract, the instrument tucked under her chin. She moved the bow with exquisite slowness. A high note, and then a languorous descent. 
She paused, mid-note, like some beautiful statue. It wrecked me, watching her."

"She patted me on the shoulder and took off down the path, leaving me behind, both charmed and insulted. The side effects of hanging around Charlotte Holmes."

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Brittany Cavallaro is a poet, fiction writer, and old school Sherlockian. She is the author of the poetry collection Girl-King (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. Currently, she's a PhD candidate in English literature at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, where she teaches creative writing, detective fiction, and lots of other things. She lives in Wisconsin with her husband, cat, and collection of deerstalker caps. Find her at her website, brittanycavallaro.com, or on Twitter @skippingstones.

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