I'd be lying if I said I wasn't a little apprehensive about A Study in Charlotte. Holmes and Watson at boarding school, in Connecticut? Please…
Whether they came in the form of an actual teenaged Holmes, a descendant, or a younger sibling, I've read a fair share of …lets call call them rather adventurous young adult books based on Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's stories. And they all had one thing in common, I only enjoyed them because I do enjoy almost anything Sherlock Holmes, which I can't say about Brittany Cavallaro's A Study in Charlotte …because I quickly realized that it's more than just another reinterpretation of the classic. But let's start from the beginning…
When Jamie Watson ends up at the same American boarding school as the infamous Charlotte Holmes, it seems like the two teens are destined to be anything but friends, even though Jamie spent the greater part of his life dreaming about going on adventures with the descendant of his great-great-great-grandfather's best friend. In old "be careful what you wish for" fashion, these dreams come true when another student – who happens to be a mutual enemy of the two – is murdered and everything points towards Jamie and Charlotte.
Even though the suspenseful mystery is filled with (really clever!) references to the original stories, the characters – especially Jamie …I mean Watson, whose narration is compelling, witty, and sometimes awkward in the best possible way – are strong enough to stand on their own. Yes, they are Holmes and Watson, but they aren't just Holmes and Watson, and I wouldn't hesitate to recommend this book to someone who has never read a Sherlock Holmes story in their life. Granted, I have a soft spot for boarding school mysteries, and basically dedicated my entire academic career to teenage detectives, but it's not often that a book keeps me up until 4 in the morning because the cliffhanger endings make it impossible to put it down. So no matter if you're a fan of Conan Doyle's famous detective, or if you just in the mood for a clever and edgy mystery - A Study in Charlotte won't disappoint.
…and even the Connecticut thing makes perfect sense, I promise!
Peace, Love, and Lobsters