A Study in Charlotte

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4.0
 
2.7 (2)
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A Study in Charlotte
Genre(s)
Age Range
13+
Release Date
March 01, 2016
ISBN
9780062398901
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The first book in a witty, suspenseful new trilogy about a brilliant new crime-solving duo: the teen descendants of Sherlock Holmes and John Watson. This clever page-turner will appeal to fans of Maureen Johnson and Ally Carter. Jamie Watson has always been intrigued by Charlotte Holmes; after all, their great-great-great-grandfathers are one of the most infamous pairs in history. But the Holmes family has always been odd, and Charlotte is no exception. She’s inherited Sherlock’s volatility and some of his vices—and when Jamie and Charlotte end up at the same Connecticut boarding school, Charlotte makes it clear she’s not looking for friends. But when a student they both have a history with dies under suspicious circumstances, ripped straight from the most terrifying of the Sherlock Holmes stories, Jamie can no longer afford to keep his distance. Danger is mounting and nowhere is safe—and the only people they can trust are each other.

Editor reviews

1 reviews

Descendants of Holmes and Watson
(Updated: January 02, 2016)
Overall rating 
 
4.0
Plot 
 
4.0
Characters 
 
N/A
Writing Style 
 
N/A
In this Young Adult novel, we meet Jamie Watson, who has been moved from London to a prep school in Connecticut to be near his father and play rugby. There, he meets Charlotte Holmes. Yes, their families are the same ones involved in detective stories. Charlotte is a bit of a loner and a problem; she has significant drug problems and was sent to the prep school after an incident with a tutor back in England. Jamie is drawn to her, and jumps to her defense when a crass fellow classmate insults her... and the classmate is later found dead in a manner reminiscent of a Sherlock Holmes story. The two start to investigate and become good friends, only to realize that they have been set up, not only as suspects for the murder, but also by their families. When another student is attacked, they must ramp up their investigation, and delve deep into their shared family histories that include the still evil Moriarty family.
Good Points
The language and situations put this firmly into the young adult category, as does the soul searching that both Charlotte and Jamie have to do in regards to why they were sent to the school. The mystery is convoluted in a way that would make Holmes himself proud, and the family ties, and the artifice that Holmes and Watson were real people with descendents is explained in a very believable manner. The supporting characters, especially the villains, are well drawn and add a lot to the suspense.

The thing that made this book stand out from so many other Sherlock reboots is the language. I don't usually effuse about whether or not a book is well written, but the turns of phrase throughout this book are clever and amusing. Certainly, readers who enjoy any incarnation of Holmes will enjoy this, as will mystery readers, but this also can be recommended to teens who want a good prep school story or just a fun, well-written literary romp.
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User reviews

2 reviews

Overall rating 
 
2.7
Plot 
 
2.5  (2)
Characters 
 
2.5  (2)
Writing Style 
 
3.0  (2)
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A good read
Overall rating 
 
3.0
Plot 
 
3.0
Characters 
 
3.0
Writing Style 
 
3.0
Jamie Watson is not happy to be attending Sherringford, a prep school close to where his estranged father lives. He’s the great-great-great-grandson of the famous John Watson and it just so happens that the great-great-great-granddaughter of Sherlock Holmes also attends Sherringford. Charlotte Holmes has always been a fascination of Jamie’s but when they do meet, it doesn’t go well. When a student turns up dead, taken right out of a Sherlock Holmes story, and Charlotte and Jamie find themselves as the main suspects, they team up to investigate and prove they’re being framed.

As a fan of Sherlock Holmes, I was really excited for this retelling. I was hoping the for same feel of the originals but with characters who had their own identity and I thought the spin on things were interesting, with Sherlock and Watson being real people and the generations after them continuing on with their legacy. There was some suspending belief required, much the same as reading a Nancy Drew or Hardy Boys book where teens can solve all these crimes that stump the police.

The book was told from the POV of Jamie and I did like his character. He struggled with a lot of things; anger at his father for leaving, anger at moving to America, anger at the school bully, and that was something he had to learn to deal with because it got him into trouble. He had some quirks that felt Watson-esque but did feel like his own character. I had a harder time with Charlotte, who mostly felt like a teen girl version of Sherlock instead of her own character. I never felt like I got a sense of who she was outside of her being a ‘Holmes’. She did bring up the same frustrations I have with Sherlock so that part was successful and I did enjoy a lot of her bantering with Jamie when it wasn’t mean.

The plot was fun to read, which seems a little weird considering it was a murder mystery plot, but it was fun. There were a lot of great character interactions that I enjoyed and Jamie and Charlotte played off each other well. I loved all the nods to the Sherlock stories, with the villain using the stories, taunting Charlotte and Jamie with them. It brought back feelings of reading the original stories, or reading Nancy Drew and Hardy Boys, a feeling I love. There were a lot of twists once the pieces started coming together and maybe a little too much info-dumping near the end but nothing that was majorly unforgivable.

I do wonder how people who aren’t familiar with Sherlock will take Charlotte since she could be very harsh and wasn’t very likable. Will people unfamiliar with them be able to see why Jamie is still so drawn to her? Overall, it was fun to read and an interesting twist on a favourite.
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the characters are just a bad copy of the classic Holmes and Watson
(Updated: March 14, 2016)
Overall rating 
 
2.3
Plot 
 
2.0
Characters 
 
2.0
Writing Style 
 
3.0
"We weren't Sherlock Holmes and John Watson. I was okay with that I thought. We had things they didn't, too. Like electricity, and refrigerator. And Mario Kart."

I feel so torn about this rating. I was so very excited about this book when I marked it as to read almost a year ago. I love Sherlock Holmes, I love the movie adaptations, I love the characters inspired by him and I am a sucker for the BBC series (you're invited over for a marathon any time you like!). This book though felt like it needed the great name of Shelrock Holmes just to boost the interest of love-blinded fangirls such as myself.

"Come if convenient. Even if it's not ... just get here."

The story sees the two very English Jamie Watson and Charlotte Holmes, the great-great-great-grandchildren of The Watson and The Holmes, attending the same bording school in America (I know what you're thinking, too much of a coincidence? Well, no. An actual explanation is given later on in the book so we're good there). Charlotte has been raised in the Holmes household, in which deductive skills and sentimental detachment are taught since childhood. Because that's what Holmeses do. Jamie wants to be a writer. How original being the grandson of you-know-who. Now, the two don't know each others but Jamie soon develops an irrational sense of protection towards the girl and often fantasises about running around solving crimes together. She soon gets pissed at his sense of entitlement. Again, they don't know each others but they become besties over a murder that tries to frame them. All of this happens and we're barely on Chapter 3. The crime is not engaging at all. Holmes hides the majority of clues and acts just like classic Sherlock. The problem though is that being her a 16 year old, and not possessing the charm that makes us forgive that ass that Holmes in reality is, she passes for bratty and pompous. She has a drug problem, barely eats, has a lab in which does experiments and plays the violin. I don't want to say that the author could have created a whole new character but that's what I'm actually saying. Charlotte Holmes is a bad copy of the original Holmes and no, I'm not just saying that because she's a girl, I've done a lot of self analysis to try to erase any trace of hidden misoginy learnt throughout the years. She might have been a good character had her personality been original and not recycled.

"I fervently hoped that I was the only visitor she'd ever had to this lab. Or else she was most definitely going to jail."

Even her brother (Milo, how convenient) works for the government and is super duper powerful. No way! I would have forgiven all of this if the author had just gender bent the original characters and moved them into a contemporary setting. She decided to use the dynamics between the classic characters for different ones. Jamie Watson has even an anger issue! You don't say! Reminds me of Freeman's Watson but that's probably a coincidence as well. ("What do we say about coincidence? Universe is rarely so lazy." I know BBC Mycroft, but if I don't at least pretend I believe that I'll pass for bitchy!)
Plus, Charlotte and Jamie keep calling each others Holmes and Watson! For god's sake! You're 16!! Who calls their friends by surname nowadays?! Please, tell me again how that's not supposed to make you compare them to the original ones and forgetting how depersonified they actually are!

I'm sorry I'm being this angry but I had great hopes for this book. The friendship is too rushed and every interaction between the two main characters lives in the shadows of the old literary ones:

"When I caught her taking twenty minutes to eat a single almond, I began wondering if there was some kind of Watsonian guide for the care and keeping of Holmeses."

No there isn't because people are not the copycat version of their past relatives.

As I said before the murder case is not engaging, there's not a twist to be seen and everything just falls flat. Just like my motivation in keeping up with this series.

Still, as this is my personal review, I wouldn't want to put off anyone *she said after having bitched about everything this book stands for for the last five minutes*. If you still want to read it I'm not the judge of anyone! Again, I'm probably this angry because I had huge hopes for this book. Might have been different if I hadn't hyped myself up for the past year.

Last, but not least, the book cover is a pleasure for the eye!
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