Genre: Young Adult literature, detective lit
Synopsis: Jamie Watson is new to Sherringford, a boarding school in the United States. He’s there on a rugby scholarship, which he’s not too excited about. What he is excited about is the fact to meet Charlotte Holmes, a person he’s only dreamed about meeting ever since he heard of her. After a rather unpleasant introduction, he realizes that just because Watsons and Holmes have an intimate history doesn’t mean that they will have any sort of friendship. But it isn’t until the two are framed for a murder on campus that the two must learn to work together or be killed in the process.
Review: If you’re a fan of Sherlock Holmes and young adult literature, then I highly recommend this book. It’s filled with intrigue, teenage drama, and a lot of references to the original works.
One thing that I really appreciated about these books is the fact that the Sherlock character, Charlotte, is a girl. I’ve don’t think I’ve ever seen something like this before (with the exception of Elementary’s Joan Watson), and neither had the author, hence her inspiration to write this novel. Additionally, I loved the way that she wrote Charlotte. Obviously Sherlock has quite a few flaws such as being too blunt, not telling Watson anything, and of course, his drug problem. Charlotte has those too, and a few more to boot since she’s an incredibly smart woman in a man’s world. Topics such as the drug problem can be difficult to discuss, but I think Cavallaro does it well. Charlotte goes back and forth between using her drug of choice, even after going to rehab two or three times.
Another thing I really appreciated is the fact that, in the same tone as the original stories, this book is from Jamie’s perspective. He’s constantly left out of the loop–which works for us as the audience. I’ve seen a lot of criticism about first person pov novels, and how they tell the reader what’s happening instead of letting the reader make assumptions for themselves. But because Jamie is so often left out of the loop, or Charlotte passes information on to him without him having observed the evidence himself, we as the audience are allowed to make deductions as to who committed murder, and why. Not that I’m any good at solving mysteries, but hey, at least I tried, right?
What I also enjoyed about this book is how Jamie and Charlotte go through different kinds of character growth. Jamie must realize that Charlotte isn’t all that he imagined her to be, and even as he gets to know her better, she’s still not who he expected her to be. Charlotte, on the other hand, struggles between having grown up in a family where she’s expected to be emotionless and learning to let those emotions come back into her life.
However, one thing that I’ve been constantly going back and forth on since I read this was Charlotte and Jamie’s relationship. At the beginning, Jamie only wants to meet Charlotte, just wants to be her friend, just wants to solve crimes with her, just like Sherlock and John did. But as time passed…well, you can probably guess. He definitely gets a little bit infatuated with her. While I was reading the book, I was rooting for them, rooting for the two to get together, or at the very least have a little heart to heart. But the second I’d put the book down, I was a little annoyed that the two were likely going to get together, on account of Charlotte being a girl and Jamie being a boy.
Then again, I wonder if that’s possibly a response to the gay subtext that’s been present in the original stories and other variations of Sherlock’s adventures, or whether it’s just the fact that a boy and a girl can’t simply be best friends. Who knows. But I think it brings up a few good discussion points, especially in regards to Doyle’s work and more contemporary representations.
Overall, I really enjoyed this book. It was funny, stressful, and all around delightful. It’s a perfect book to read under a tree with a vanilla latte.