YA Twists on Sherlock Holmes

Courtney Rodgers


Courtney has been reading and collecting books almost as long as she's been alive. She holds a B.A. in Theatre and Creative Writing. Courtney has been writing with Book Riot since 2019, and is a Bibliologist with TBR: Tailored Book Recommendations. She's currently brainstorming for her next creative project. You can follow her on Instagram.

Blink, publisher of A Game Most Foul

Attending the prestigious Ashford College’s writing seminar is a dream come true for Jules Montgomery, but the summer isn’t unfolding as she hoped. When a fellow student goes missing, neither the police nor their teacher, Professor Watson, seem that concerned. Jules and her new friends Percy and Suruthi are determined to get to the bottom of the case and they’re not alone: the strange man who frequents Jules’ aunt’s antique shop is eager to help—and his name is none other than Sherlock Holmes. A Game Most Foul is available everywhere audiobooks are sold!

In 2023, all of the Sherlock Holmes stories and novels finally hit public domain. The famous detective had already been adapted, parodied, and reshaped a million times over, but now, it’s official! Sherlock Holmes is the blueprint for the grumpy genius character. In current Sherlock Holmes adaptations, there are four basic categories.

First up is a pastiche, or stories that are direct continuations of Doyle’s original works. These stories attempt to use Doyle’s unique style and voice to create a story that would fit right in with Sherlock’s canon adventures. Adaptations that reimagine Sherlock as a child or young adult allow for new settings and characters while still exploring Doyle’s world. Another category that is most popular in Middle Grade and Young Adult Sherlock Holmes adaptations is centered on a younger relative of Sherlock. These stories usually take place within the same timeframe as the original stories, but with an original character that happens to also have Sherlock’s keen sense of observation. 

Stepping outside of the original 19th-century setting, contemporary Sherlock Holmes adaptations place the mysteries in fast-paced cities with high action and drama. The last category can actually be found in any combination of others: paranormal/ steampunk. Since Sherlock Holmes was published during the Victorian era, it makes sense that new twists would include steam engines, vampires, and clockwork machinery. 

Whether you prefer sticking to the 19th-century Sherlock and Watson or want to see your favorite detective in a modern police procedural, I’ve pulled the best YA twists on Sherlock Holmes for you to peruse. 

As a note, while Sherlock Holmes is an internationally beloved character, there are currently not as many Young Adult adaptations by authors of color. If you’d like to read more YA  historical mysteries, here are a few of our recommendations: The Agency by Y.S. Lee, Drama and Danger by J.T. Williams, and Kill Her Twice by Stacey Lee. 

Now, the rest, they say, is elementary. Let’s begin!

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The Case of the Missing Marquess by Nancy Springer

Thanks to two Netflix films, Springer’s Enola Holmes series is one of the better-known YA Sherlock Holmes adaptations. Fourteen-year-old Enola is the much younger sister of Mycroft and the already famous detective Sherlock. When their mother goes missing, it’s off to finishing school with Enola, but not if Enola can help it! Fiercely independent and bright, Enola uses her own unique knowledge to solve multiple missing persons cases throughout the series.

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Eye of the Crow by Shane Peacock

The Boy Sherlock series kicks off with this dark reimagining of the detective’s teen years. At 13, Sherlock is a social misfit with a keen sense of observation. To keep himself occupied and away from his tormentors, Sherlock imagines solving murder cases. When his imaginings get too big, Sherlock finds himself at the center of a real murder.

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Young Miss Holmes Series by Kaoru Shintani

One of the many manga adaptations of Sherlock Holmes features Christie, Sherlock’s precocious niece. Christie hates studying and acting like a proper young lady but is quick and determined. At first, Christie joins her uncle and Dr. Watson on their cases, but it won’t be long before Christie is solving cases on her own. The detailed retro artwork and high stakes will keep you glued until the last page.

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A Study in Charlotte by Brittany Cavallaro

This contemporary series begins with Jamie Watson arriving at his new school, only to find that the notoriously temperamental Charlotte Holmes, descendant of Sherlock Holmes, is also in attendance. When a classmate turns up dead, Charlotte and Jamie are made suspects, and the clock is ticking to prove their innocence. Jamie and Charlotte will have to put aside their rivalry to work together in this campus mystery-thriller.

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Moriarty the Patriot by Ryōsuke Takeuchi, illustrated by Hikaru Miyoshi

This manga series (also an anime) reimagines the young adult years of Professor Moriarty as a story of three brothers against the English hierarchical system. When son of Earl Moriarty, Albert, finds two orphan boys, he adopts them as his brothers. The brothers weaponize their intelligence and privilege in their murderous schemes. Sherlock Holmes appears as both friend and rival.

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The Clockwork Scarab by Colleen Gleason

London Society is no place for vampires or murders, but when two society girls go missing, Evalina Stoker and Mina Holmes are on the case. As the sister of Bram Stoker and niece of Sherlock Holmes, crime-solving is second nature for Mina and Evalina. With only a strange scarab beetle as a clue, they will have to rely on their wit to navigate such harrowing circumstances. This steampunk horror-mystery is the first in an adventurous series.

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Lock & Mori by Heather W. Petty

London teenagers Sherlock “Lock” Holmes and James “Mori” Moriarty meet by chance when a murder happens in the park. Recognizing each other’s aptitude for forensics, Lock and Mori take on a challenge to solve the case before the other, agreeing to share their clues. Mori holds her secrets close to her chest, afraid of what might happen if Lock were to discover the truth. Lock and Mori is the first in a trilogy.

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Sherlock Bones by Yuma Ando, illustrated by Yūki Satō

Takeru adopts a new dog, hoping for a fluffy companion, but instead ends up adopting the reincarnation of Sherlock Holmes! “Sherdog” is set on continuing his work of solving crimes, and will not share his deductions with anyone else except Takeru, whom he has decided is actually reincarnation of Dr. Watson. Join Takeru and Sherdog in this wild ride as they solve crimes together again.

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Every Breath by Ellie Marney

Rachel Watts has just moved to Melbourne and the adjustment hasn’t been easy. Rachel’s genius neighbor, James Mycroft is making the transition easier by asking her for help.  When their unhoused friend, Dave, is murdered, James and Rachel are determined to find answers themselves.  Every Breath is both a high-action mystery and a slow-burn romance.

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Death Cloud by Andrew Lane

When 14-year-old Sherlock Holmes is sent away for the summer, how is he expected to have a nice, quiet holiday? A strange illness has taken over the village, leaving Sherlock to investigate. Sherlock’s investigations leave him battered and bruised, but eager to learn more from his new logic tutor. Lane’s Young Sherlock Holmes series includes eight novels.

Before the case is closed, add 50 Must-Read Young Adult Mysteries and 8 diverse YA mysteries to your reading list. In the mood for more Sherlock? We classified all of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s original stories and novels for the Ultimate Sherlock Holmes ranking.