“A Study in Charlotte” by Brittany Cavallaro

A Study in Charlotte (Charlotte Holmes #1) written by Brittany Cavallaro

Published by: Katherine Tegen Books on March 1, 2016

Review Source: Publisher, Edelweiss

Genres: Young Ault, Mystery / Thriller, Retelling

Plot: A modern, gender-switched, teenaged retelling of Sherlock.


Review: A Study of Charlotte was a mixed bag for me. Here is the quick and dirty:


  • The concept of Holmes and Watson having descendants that are teenaged and gender swapped is an awesome twist on classic characters.
  • The writing is sophisticated and well structured.
  • There is plenty of action to draw in new or reluctant readers, and the author does a wonderful job of weaving in pieces of classic Sherlock.
  • It has a little bit of everything. There is romance, mystery, danger, and even some darker themes which will help this title appeal to a wide audience.
  • There is a setup for potential sequels.


  • James and Charlotte’s relationship could have used a little more development to validate the level of intensity it took on. Their quick dedication and unwavering trust within one another hinges on unhealthy and codependent. While I realize that these types of relationships can echo reality (young love can be intense and sometimes misguided), it’s still a bit unsettling to see it so frequently in YA fiction.
  • There are some tough topics that are addressed in the book. Rape, drinking, and heavy use of opiates (from pills to injecting morphine) are all present in the book. While I am not opposed to YA books having things like this in them, I felt that all the characters pretty much chalked it up to a proclivity of being a Holmes. There is disapproval, but it is tepid. Not every book has to make a stand against a character’s vices or flaws, but it made Charlotte and James feel shallow and a bit contradictory to me. It felt off that you could have characters that were emotional enough to instantly form an unbreakable bond, but who kind of went “meh” when it comes to the obviously self-destructive tendencies that Charlotte has. I feel like most people would slow it down a bit if they found out that their new love interest has track marks.

As a whole, I did enjoy the book, even though I cringed during particular parts.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars

Who Should Snag It:  I would recommend this for fans of suspenseful mysteries that have a bit of high society dysfunction, such as Pretty Little Liars by Sara Shepard or anything by Ellen Hopkins.

*I would like to thank Edelweiss and the publisher for providing me with a free ARC in exchange for a fair and honest review*

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