A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this book.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that A Case for Jamie is the third volume in Brittany Cavallaro's Charlotte Holmes series. Like the first two, it features murderously insane villains, dysfunctional or deranged families, convoluted plots where few characters are exactly what they seem, and sexually charged relationships. Also teen sex (though the narrator focuses on emotion rather than explicit detail); drinking and drug use (though the protagonist's struggles to stay clean are a big part of the story); and lots of swear words (e.g. "f--k," "s--t," "ass," "bastard," "goddamn"). Amid the darkness, though, there's a thrilling tale of two teens trying to rise above their flawed (or worse) families and their own demons to become something better and do right by each other. Also defeat their evil foe once and for all.
What's the story?
THE CASE FOR JAMIE opens a year after the catastrophic events at the end of Book 2, since which Jamie Watson and Charlotte Holmes, now 17, haven't seen each other or been in touch. And in different ways, it's messing with their lives, as Jamie, now in his senior year at prep school and with a steady girlfriend, nurses a broken heart, a sense of betrayal, and endless replays of how it all went so wrong. Charlotte, back in the U.S., is closer than he thinks, still obsessed with murderous Moriartys, trying to stay off drugs, and looking out for Jamie from afar. When an unknown person seems to be targeting Jamie, who's soon being lured by fake texts and framed for a theft at a drug-soaked party, the two BFFs reunite to protect their loved ones. And maybe get past their dysfunctional families to sort out their relationships.
Is it any good?
Winding up the "trilogy" nicely but leaving plenty of of room for further developments, the reunion of Charlotte Holmes and Jamie Watson is thrilling, scary, edgy, funny, and sweet. Filled with creepy villains, sinister peril, assorted insane behavior, foul-mouthed teens, and, at one point, a reunion scene so well-timed and perfectly crafted it'll have you reading it more than once. Author Brittany Cavallaro is in top form with The Case for Jamie, and her decision to let Charlotte's fierce, desperately determined narrative voice tell much of the story pays off many times.
"Really, if it were going to be over, finally over, I'd take the knife out of my boot and drive its point through that Moriarty thug's throat to know, once and for all, that one less man would be chasing Watson. That Watson would be that one small bit safer."
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about Sherlock Holmes, and all the tales (and fictional relatives) he's acquired over the years. What's the appeal of Holmes tales, and how does The Case for Jamie stack up?
How do you think the story might be different if Jamie and Charlotte were American, rather than Brits studying in New England?
Do you think it would be fun to dress really differently from your usual style and assume a different character in places where you're not known? Who would you be?
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