posted at Wednesday, June 22nd, 2016 at 8:00 AM | Mini Reviews, Reviews, Young Adult
I received this book for free from Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.A Study in Charlotte by Brittany Cavallaro
Series: Charlotte Holmes #1
Published by Katherine Tegen on March 1, 2016
Genres: Retelling, Romance, Mystery, Contemporary
Amazon • The Book Depository • Audible
The last thing Jamie Watson wants is a rugby scholarship to Sherringford, a Connecticut prep school just an hour away from his estranged father. But that’s not the only complication: Sherringford is also home to Charlotte Holmes, the famous detective’s great-great-great-granddaughter, who has inherited not only Sherlock’s genius but also his volatile temperament. From everything Jamie has heard about Charlotte, it seems safer to admire her from afar.
From the moment they meet, there’s a tense energy between them, and they seem more destined to be rivals than anything else. But when a Sherringford student dies under suspicious circumstances, ripped straight from the most terrifying of the Sherlock Holmes stories, Jamie can no longer afford to keep his distance. Jamie and Charlotte are being framed for murder, and only Charlotte can clear their names. But danger is mounting and nowhere is safe—and the only people they can trust are each other.
One of my biggest pop culture knowledge fails is Sherlock Holmes. I haven’t read the books or seen the BBC show. I’ve seen one of the movies with RDJ and I’ve read the Every series by Ellie Marney, which you should definitely read if you haven’t. I definitely felt my lack of Sherlock knowledge while reading A Study in Charlotte, where the books are massively plot-relevant. I think I probably would have been a bit more into this one, if I could appreciate the references.
As it is, I did quite like A Study in Charlotte. It’s nice to see a female Sherlock, for sure, and to have the Watson guy clearly be inferior to her in intelligence and also be very emotional. I also thought she managed to pull of the Holmes and Watson were real people thing pretty well. Obviously, there’s some suspension of disbelief needed, but I liked how Cavallaro tipped her hat to reality with Sir Arthur Conan Doyle as Watson’s literary agent. Very cute.
What I wasn’t as into was the mystery or the ship. I definitely liked the friendship dynamic between Charlotte and James, but I don’t really buy them as a couple. I felt his longing, sure, but Holmes didn’t really seem to be that into him to be honest. For once, I’d have been okay with the ship not sailing. I don’t unship it, but it didn’t enhance my reading experience either. It also bothers me that Watson got to make that last key deduction to solve the mystery because View Spoiler »Holmes was blinded by her feelings for August Moriarty and didn’t investigate things related to him properly. I feel like that’s a failing that would never have been given to a male Holmes, and it frustrates me « Hide Spoiler. I’m also not really sure how I feel about rape having been a major plot device: View Spoiler »on the one hand, I think Cavallaro does a nice job with Holmes’ characterization there, but, again, it’s like of fucking course the female Sherlock would get raped but that would never happen to a dude Sherlock « Hide Spoiler.
Also, purely a me problem but the chapters were really long. I feel like I would have been more into it if I didn’t have to read such massive chunks of it all in one go.
Sherlock fans, this one’s definitely worth reading. If you’re less Sherlocky, it still might be worth a try.
I received this book for free from Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.Read Me Like a Book by Liz Kessler
Published by Candlewick on June 14, 2016
Genres: Romance, Contemporary
Amazon • The Book Depository
In her first novel for young adults, New York Times best-selling author Liz Kessler tells a story about finding a kindred spirit and becoming your true self.
Ashleigh Walker is a mediocre student with an assortment of friends, a sort-of boyfriend, and no plans for the future. Then a straight-from-college English teacher, Miss Murray, takes over Ash’s class and changes everything. Miss Murray smiles a lot. She shares poetry with curse words in it. She’s, well, cool. And she seems to really care about her students. About Ashleigh. For the first time, Ash feels an urge to try harder. To give something — someone — her best. Before she knows it, Ashleigh is in love. Intense, heart-racing, all-consuming first love. It’s strong enough to distract her from worrying about bad grades and her parents’ marriage troubles. But what will happen if Miss Murray finds out Ashleigh is in love with her?
Read Me Like a Book reminded me a bit of Looking for Alibrandi in tone. Ashleigh’s self-absorbed in a truly teen way, and she makes a lot of bad decisions. There’s a lot to like here, but the book is burdened by poor writing.
The characterization is decent, but not great. It’s a fairly plotless contemporary, but I found it a pretty quick read, especially while my other reads were big and dense. I did like the handling of the f/f teacher/student relationship, something I was worried about. View Spoiler »They never actually do anything, though the teacher clearly flirts with the idea and with Ashleigh. « Hide Spoiler The strongest relationship in the novel actually proved to be that of Ashleigh and her mother, rather than any sort of romantic relationship.
I liked Read Me Like a Book, but, for the most part, it’s mediocre and forgettable. It’s perhaps worth reading for the fact that it’s the only f/f teacher/student book out there, but I’m not sure if that’s enough. *shrugs*
Also Known As by Robin Benway
Series: AKA #1
Published by Walker BFYR on February 26, 2013
Genres: Contemporary, Mystery, Romance
Amazon • The Book Depository • Audible
Being a 16-year-old safecracker and active-duty daughter of international spies has its moments, good and bad. Pros: Seeing the world one crime-solving adventure at a time. Having parents with super cool jobs. Cons: Never staying in one place long enough to have friends or a boyfriend. But for Maggie Silver, the biggest perk of all has been avoiding high school and the accompanying cliques, bad lunches, and frustratingly simple locker combinations. Then Maggie and her parents are sent to New York for her first solo assignment, and all of that changes. She'll need to attend a private school, avoid the temptation to hack the school's security system, and befriend one aggravatingly cute Jesse Oliver to gain the essential information she needs to crack the case . . . all while trying not to blow her cover.
On my first read of Also Known As, I listened to the audiobook, which really was not the right way to go with this book. I never got around to the sequel, and I wanted to revisit Also Known As in print before reading book two. Also Known As is pure shippy fun against a backdrop of silly spyness.
The plot of this book is, quite literally, laughable. Basically anything spy-ish, I was rolling my eyes a bit. Maggie’s so determined to prove herself, but she’s frankly pretty terrible at the whole spy thing. I mean, honestly, what sort of organization would send such a bad liar undercover?
But, whatever, honestly. Who even cares? The characters are so much fun. Maggie and Jesse Oliver are adorable and have such cute/awkward chemistry. Roux is basically the best ever. Maggie’s parents are even pretty cute. Benway has banter down.
Don’t read this because you’re into spies. Do read it because you’re into fluff.