Cavallaro, Brittany. A Study in Charlotte
March 1st 2016 by Katherine Tegen Books
ARC from Young Adult Books Central
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.
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.