How did I pick up A Study in Charlotte? Good question.

I was in Target, because duh, and swung by the book section. I don’t always get a book there but they often have good deals so I had to browse. And this particular trip I saw a book that had a beautifully designed cover.

Cavallaro, Study in Charlotte

When the sun’s so bright you can’t tell how beautiful the book cover is

Normally I don’t judge a book by it’s cover. I know you hire people for that sort of thing but authors work with words, so I try not to hold visuals against them. I always read the inside of the jacket or the back, I often look up books and the author.

That being said, a particularly beautiful book cover can still pique my interest.

Enter book one: A Study in Charlotte.

The first book in Cavallaro’s trilogy finds the great great grandchildren of the famous Homes and Watsons together at a boarding school in America. James, or Jamie, Watson is a smart and thoughtful teen, often ruled by emotions. He secretly aspires to become a writer someday and has imagined his and Homes’ first meeting for years.

Charlotte Homes is cunning and sharp, often robotic but occasionally still a teen girl. They’re first meeting doesn’t go quite like Jamie had imagined, but when a classmate they both publicly disliked ends up dead, they team up to clear their names.

It seems unfair to pin such a cliche on this book as the story was quite good, but I don’t want to give away too much. Just know there are bombs, old feuds, a long list of suspects, and plenty of poison. Enough romance to warm the heart without being cheesey.

As for the form of the thing; the characters were somewhat familiar (#imobsessedwithSherlock) but also unique. I appreciated that it dealt with all aspects of the original story, including Home’s drug use, with modern twists. The dialogue was good, the family history was were enjoyable, and the twists kept things interesting.

And honestly, the dynamic between Homes and Watson was one of the main reasons I enjoyed this book. Cavallaro was able to capture the spirit of the original pair, make it modern with all the modern angst, and add a touch of romance, without losing them. It was an impressive feat. If you thought the OG Watson got annoyed, imagine if they had texting.

Which is what I told my roommate who has since finished the first book, ordered the second, and finished that too. I promptly stole it and finished it this morning.

Book Two: The Last of August

***Light Spoilerssss*** (Diet drink trade mark pending)

Last of August

Cavallaro has some beautiful books

After a wild fall semester of adventure and near death, Charlotte and Jamie want a quiet Christmas break in Europe with their families. Too bad they’re Watson and Homes and they don’t know what quiet is.

Charlotte’s beloved uncle goes missing and the evil Moriarty family causes more trouble. Well, one Moriarty isn’t evil. That would be August. Formally Charlotte’s tutor, and crush, he now works for her brother Milo. There is art forgery, disguises, more poison, and international travel. Not to mention lots of deception.

Which brings up my biggest complaint of the book; Charlotte and Jamie’s relationship. She tends to keep things from him, for the sake of the case we’re told, but it was it was on all levels of their relationship. I don’t expect their relationship to be perfect by any stretch but the exact same issue was a little annoying.

I didn’t love Milo and some of the Moriarty clan were a bit too cartoon-ish in their villainy, but over all I still really enjoyed it. Unfortunately I can’t get into too much detail; then I’d be sure to give something away and it’s good enough that I want to do that. But seriously, that cliff hanger ending. Is the third one out yet?

Will Cavallaro’s books change your life? Probably not. Should you read the first and the second any way? Definitely.