BOOK REPORT for A Study in Charlotte (Charlotte Holmes #1) by Brittany Cavallaro

Cover Story: Sherlockian Toile

BFF Charm: Be Mine

Swoonworthy Scale: 7

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Talky Talk: Modern Watson

Trigger Warnings: Drug Addiction, Stories of Rape

Bonus Factors: Sherlock Holmes, Series Starter

Relationship Status: It’s Elementary


Cover Story: Sherlockian Toile

This is a fabulous cover. The colors are excellent, the illustrations (which would totally fit in on a themed toile) are clever, and I really like the handwritten nature of the typeface.

The Deal:

James Watson, known by his friends—much to his consternation—as Jamie, is a descendant of the storied John Watson. As a kid, Jamie used to fantasize about (and romanticize) having adventures with Charlotte Holmes, the only descendant of John’s partner Sherlock Holmes near his age. But it’s not until his junior year in high school, when he’s shipped off to boarding school in Connecticut, that the two actually meet, and Charlotte’s nothing like Jamie ever imagined. She actually doesn’t want anything to do with him, until one of their classmates is murdered—and they’re the prime suspects.

BFF Charm: Heck Yes

Jamie has some issues, particularly that he’s overly aggressive and has a hot temper, which leads to the occasional fist fight. But he’s also intelligent, sensitive, and caring, and has a great sense of nerdy chic style. I’m not typically one for aggressive dudes, but there’s something super appealing about James Watson, regardless. (Plus, he’s been living in England for about a decade, and so has a bit of an accent, which only adds to said appeal.)

Swoonworthy Scale: 7

The swoon in A Study in Charlotte isn’t your typical butterflies in the stomach, heart-racing swoon. Instead, it’s the kind of swoon that makes you—or me, at least, since I’m a hopeless romantic—begin to imagine all the things that come after a first kiss.

Talky Talk: Modern Watson

Brittany Cavallaro writes the way I’d want to write if I were an author. For example:

Grabbing my arm, Tom began shouldering us to the back of the tiny kitchen. I felt like I was being pulled through a dark, dank wardrobe into some boozy Narnia.

She infuses her characters with wit and feeling, and they leapt from the page in ways that both made me laugh and made me want to give them an overly long hug. Jamie’s the kind of guy that high school me would’ve had a huge crush on, but would’ve also been totally OK with being his friend just to be around him. Charlotte’s the kind of girl that seems effortlessly cool and aloof, but is actually so much more, if you can crack her tough shell. These characters are certainly based on their ancestors, but they’re also their own people, and they shine.

Trigger Warnings: Drug Addiction, Stories of Rape

The fact that Sherlock Holmes was a drug addict and recreational user of opiates and cocaine is a known part of his stories, but many adaptations shy away from that part of his character. A Study in Charlotte doesn’t—and it can be hard to read. Particularly when said drug use leads to a rape, and the repercussions of such a horrid act.

Bonus Factor: Sherlock Holmes

It’s no surprise that I love a good Sherlock Holmes adaptation, especially when they put a fresh spin on the stories. A Study in Charlotte features both a modernization of the stories and a gender swap, and the characters feel fresh, even while they’re reminiscent of their predecessors.

Bonus Factor: Series Starter

Sometimes, it can be frustrating to realize that the end of a great book is not actually the end. Other times, it’s exciting, because you look forward to what’s to come. I feel like A Study in Charlotte is more the latter than the former.

Casting Call:

Nicholas Hoult as Jamie

Rooney Mara as Charlotte

Relationship Status: It’s Elementary

From the very first moment of our date, Book, I knew I was going to like you. And even though the stories you regaled me with weren’t the most original, they felt fresh. I can’t wait for our next adventure.

A Study in Charlotte is available now.

Mandy lives in Austin, TX, where she's a technical writer by day and a pop-culture junkie by night. When she's not ensconced in a book for Forever Young Adult, Mandy can be found swooning over superheroes, dreaming of The Doctor and grinning at GIFs.