The Case for Jamie by Brittany Cavallaro || Book Review

“Reading took me away from myself, so I tried to be reading all the time.”

Synopsis: It’s been a year since the shocking death of August Moriarty, and Jamie and Charlotte haven’t spoken.

Jamie is going through the motions at Sherringford, trying to finish his senior year without incident, with a nice girlfriend he can’t seem to fall for.

Charlotte is on the run, from Lucien Moriarty and from her own mistakes. No one has seen her since that fateful night on the lawn in Sussex—and Charlotte wants it that way. She knows she isn’t safe to be around. She knows her Watson can’t forgive her.

Holmes and Watson may not be looking to reconcile, but when strange things start happening, it’s clear that someone wants the team back together. Someone who has been quietly observing them both. Making plans. Biding their time.

Someone who wants to see one of them suffer and the other one dead.

Source: Goodreads

Title: The Case for Jamie
Series: Charlotte Holmes, Book Three
Author: Brittany Cavallaro
Links: Amazon CA | Book Depository | Goodreads

Genre / Themes: Contemporary | Mystery | Retelling | Romance
Point of View: First Person

Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books
Publication Date: 2018
Format: Hardcover
Pages: 349

Oh my gosh … the second last book! I honestly feel bad because I’m PRETTY sure I’m the one taking the longest to read the books in this buddy read ha-ha! This is, by far, my favourite book in Cavallaro’s series (for now … there’s still one more book left). It’s as though Cavallaro heard our complaints about the first two and amended as many of those quarrels as possible for The Case for Jamie. I’m THOROUGHLY surprised. Though I rated this as a three cups of tea like the other two, I still think this novel excels in comparison to it’s predecessors … Goodreads needs to add a “.5” system to their rating scale.

CONTENT & TRIGGER WARNING: This book contains topics regarding absent parent (abandonment), anger issues, anxiety (panic attacks), blood, death (murder — mentioned), drugs (drug addiction), pills, rape (sexual assault- mentioned) and trauma (PTSD).

For once, the alternating point of view are refreshing and exciting. As someone who’s TYPICALLY not a fan of multiple POVs, this was a shocking yet pleasant surprise; it provides greater room for character development as readers learn abot Jamie and Charlotte through their own eyes. In addition, this provides more opportunities for plot growth and expansion, seeing different parts of the mystery unfold through both Jamie and Charlotte. Cavallaro executes this style wonderfully, making sure there aren’t many moments of repetition while capturing Jamie and Charlotte’s voice during their particular chapter.

The novel feels more organized in comparison to its predecessors. One of my BIGGEST pet peeves with the first two novels is the length of the chapters and the amount of content crammed into them. With The Case for Jamie, Cavallaro shortened the chapters and made the content in them more concise; there are little ‘information overload’ or that awkward ‘where-do-pause’ moments. Honestly, this made the reading experience MUCH more enjoyable.

Cavallaro brings more attention to realistic depictions of trauma and a focus on the more serious undertones of the novel. The first and second book in this series “gloss” over rather serious topics, which is annoying. However, The Case for Jamie focuses LARGELY on how trauma impacts people differently. Drug addiction, sexual assault, abandonment, PTSD and anxiety are just a few of the many topics that are explored as Jamie and Charlotte learn to cope with their inner turmoils and the horrors they experienced. But one of the things I really love is Jamie and Charlotte’s realization of JUST how dangerous their escapades have been, coming to the conclusion that seeking help from adults and friends and law enforcement is both reasonable and expected.

As a side note, since this made me a little agitated when reading some other thoughts on the novel:

A number of individuals have discussed this “hate” for Jamie’s character in book three, due to his decisions at the end of book two. What I want to highlight is that his character is suffering a MASSIVE case of PTSD; seriously, he’s a teenager thrown into this world of crime and horrors, things that people seem to forget. I’m not saying to hate on Charlotte either, but Jamie’s decision to have some space is MORE than reasonable. Anxiety and PTSD are serious issues, one which I think Cavallaro GREATLY touches upon through both Charlotte and Jamie. Yes, the two are friends … but they BARELY know each other (4 months?) and the events are rather traumatic … so his decisions isn’t all that surprising.

Though the alternating point of views are a fun addition, Charlotte’s story felt boring at times. It’s interesting to see more into Charlotte’s past, helping readers understand how she’s become the woman she is at present … but there are a number of “so what” moments. As much as it pains me to say that, there’s so much back and forth that these moments begin to take away from the main premise and plot of the story. I just didn’t feel that same engagement and connection as I do when reading Jamie’s point of view.

In connection to the point above, the plot is … not fully well put together. Honestly, there are MULTIPLE instances where I forgot what the plot is about. It’s not all over the map such as The Last of August, but more that it gets lost in some of the chapters. The mystery feels MUCH more straightforward than book two, but I still wished for more from it.

Some of the side characters’ reactions to helping Jamie and Charlotte are … well, frustrating and appalling. Yes, yes … this is a FICTIONAL YA retelling … but I’m absolutely FLOORED with how some characters went about “interacting” with Jamie and Charlotte … mainly Jamie. Both of these characters are experiencing intense cases of anxiety, self destruction and PTSD … but a number of Jamie’s “friends” (though I love Elizabeth and felt her reactions are rather justified for the most part) play the whole “victim” card due to his distancing nature. Maybe a large part of this is because the novel takes place a year after the events and they’ve had enough, but it’s hard to read at times. And as MUCH as I love Jamie’s father, I found it odd that he isn’t as present with helping Jamie through his issues as Leander is. And don’t even get me started on Charlotte’s parents …

Cavallaro’s The Case for Jamie is a thrilling reading experience, balancing a number of different themes and topics while remaining true to the “mystery and comical” element of the story. One thing I didn’t touch upon too much but greatly enjoy is the importance of Leander and Elizabeth’s characters, for they help both Charlotte and Jamie overcome their anxieties and traumas. It’s fascinating to see OTHER characters help our two favourite duos.

I DO recommend this novel if you enjoy:

↠ Realistic depictions of trauma
↠ A focus on serious undertones and coping
↠ Alternating POVs
↠ Retelling’s of classics
↠ A blend of comedy and darker tones

I DO NOT recommend this novel if you dislike:

↠ Frustrating and non-understanding side characters
↠ An underdeveloped plot
↠ A predictable outcome

Have you read Brittany Cavallaro’s The Case for Jamie?

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Author of Bookmark Your Thoughts, both the Tumblr and WordPress book review blogs. I'm a tea drinking, book loving librarian who just loves literature.

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