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A Study in Charlotte by Brittany Cavallaro

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A Study in Charlotte by Brittany Cavallaro A Study in Charlotte by Brittany Cavallaro
Narrator: Graham Halstead, Julia Whelan
Series: Charlotte Holmes #1
Published by Harper Collins on March 1, 2016
Source: Library
Genres: Mystery, Young Adult
Length: 8 hrs 41 mins
Format: Audiobook
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Jamie Watson has always been intrigued by Charlotte Holmes; after all, their great-great-great-grandfathers are one of the most infamous pairs in history. But the Holmes family has always been odd, and Charlotte is no exception. She’s inherited Sherlock’s volatility and some of his vices—and when Jamie and Charlotte end up at the same Connecticut boarding school, Charlotte makes it clear she’s not looking for friends.

But when a student they both have a history with dies under suspicious circumstances, ripped straight from the most terrifying of the Sherlock Holmes stories, Jamie can no longer afford to keep his distance. Danger is mounting and nowhere is safe—and the only people they can trust are each other.

I have a soft spot for Sherlock Holmes, so when someone (I forget who) said they enjoyed this take on the characters, I had to put it on my to-read list. Jamie Watson and Charlotte Holmes are descendants of the famous duo and they “just happen” to meet at boarding school. In Connecticut. But don’t worry, the story will get to that. Coincidences are never really coincidences in a Holmes world.

Charlotte is pure Sherlock, complete with drug problems, brilliant deductions, and violin-playing, which comes off a little differently in a 16-year-old girl. She can be tough to like, but we’re seeing her through Watson’s eyes, and he’s either falling in love with her or is obsessed with her or both. When a student they both hates ends up dead, everything points at them, so of course they have to solve the mystery. What else could a Holmes and Watson do? The mystery was clever, with plenty of connections to the original Holmes stories.

I enjoyed the writing, the descriptions and metaphors were well-done. I especially enjoyed the Watsonian guide for the care and keeping of Holmeses that Jamie’s dad has put together.

I listened to the audio version and I think the narrator did a good job being Jamie, since the story comes from his point of view. The epilogue is told by Charlotte, who doesn’t really have much to add. I’m glad the same narrators are doing the next in the series.

This is a YA book and it does deal a lot with drugs. It also deals with a rape, which may be a reason some won’t want to read it. I’m not sure it was handled the best way either, it made sense to the plot and the characters, but is not a good example of how the crime should have been reported/prosecuted. The kids don’t really have much supervision, which makes it easier to investigate/sneak around campus, but also easier to end up over your head.

I do kind of wish Watson and Holmes could remain just friends, but I have the feeling one, if not both, is hoping for more.

This book trailer makes me almost wish it was a movie.

About Brittany Cavallaro

Brittany Cavallaro is a poet, fiction writer, and old school Sherlockian. She is the author of the Charlotte Holmes novels from HarperCollins/Katherine Tegen Books. She’s also the author of the poetry collection GIRL-KING (University of Akron) and is the recipient of a National Endowment for the Arts fellowship. She earned her BA in literature from Middlebury College and her MFA in poetry from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Currently, she’s a PhD candidate in English literature at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. She lives in the Bay area with her husband, cat, and collection of deerstalker caps.

Reading this book contributed to these challenges:

Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn

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Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn
Narrator: Julia Whelan, Kirby Heyborne
Published by Random House Audio on August 26, 2014 (first published May 24, 2012)
Source: Gift
Genres: Mystery, Crime Fiction, Thriller
Length: 19 hrs 11 mins
Format: Audiobook
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On a warm summer morning in North Carthage, Missouri, it is Nick and Amy Dunne’s fifth wedding anniversary. Presents are being wrapped and reservations are being made when Nick’s clever and beautiful wife disappears. Husband-of-the-Year Nick isn’t doing himself any favors with cringe-worthy daydreams about the slope and shape of his wife’s head, but passages from Amy's diary reveal the alpha-girl perfectionist could have put anyone dangerously on edge. Under mounting pressure from the police and the media—as well as Amy’s fiercely doting parents—the town golden boy parades an endless series of lies, deceits, and inappropriate behavior. Nick is oddly evasive, and he’s definitely bitter—but is he really a killer?

Gone Girl was all the rage a couple of years ago, but I didn’t get around to listening to it until now. I shouldn’t have put it off. It was unique, well-done, definitely attention-grabbing, maybe not quite unputdownable, but close.

Nick and Amy are not nice people. Neither is really the good guy, although you do sympathize with Nick. The audio had two narrators, one for Nick and one for Amy, which I thought was a great choice. It always takes me a while to get used to anything different than one narrator of the same gender as the main character, but this format worked so well with the story it was the perfect choice. Both narrators did a great job capturing the points of view, the dark humor, the nuances in the phrasing. I think that listening to it probably made it even better than reading it in print would have.

I can’t say much about the plot without ruining it, but it did keep me guessing, wondering what the truth was, who the bad guy was. I knew it wasn’t as straight forward as it first appeared, mostly due to the hype when the book and then the movie came out, but I wasn’t sure how it was all going to fit together. I have to say I love how Flynn plotted the whole thing. And the ending was perfect for the rest of the story.

Now, I have to convince my husband to watch the movie with me. One of the guys at work told him not to watch it because it would make him paranoid.

About Gillian Flynn

Gillian Flynn is an American author and was a television critic for Entertainment Weekly. Her first novel, Sharp Objects, won the 2007 Ian Fleming Steel Dagger for the best thriller. Flynn, who lives in Chicago, grew up in Kansas City, Missouri. She graduated at the University of Kansas, and qualified for a Master’s degree from Northwestern University.

Reading this book contributed to these challenges:

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