Friday, January 10, 2014

Suite Scarlett by Maureen Johnson

Suite Scarlett by Maureen Johnson
Publisher:  Point
Pages: 353
Rating: 4/5

   Scarlett Martin has grown up in a most unusual way.  Her family owns the Hopewell, a small Art Deco hotel in the heart of New York City.
     When each of the Martins turns fifteen, they are expected to take over the care of a suite.  For Scarlett's fifteenth birthday, she gets both a room called the Empire Suite and a permanent guest named Mrs. Amberson.  Scarlett doesn't quite know what to make of this C-list starlet and world traveler. And when she meets Eric, an astonishingly gorgeous actor who has just moved to the city, her summer takes an unexpected turn.
     Before the summer is over, Scarlett will have to survive a whirlwind of thievery and romantic missteps.  But in the city where anything can happen, she just might be able to pull it off.

Suite Scarlett opens with Scarlett's fifteenth birthday.  A day that should be filled with happiness and excitement but is clouded by the financial hardships the Martins are facing.  Instead of a wonderful meal of Belgium pancakes, Scarlett finds a burnt substitution as her parents have had to fire the chef.  Welcome to life with the Martins.  Scarlett's parents and three siblings; Spencer, Lola, and Marlene, live inside a gorgeous, slightly out-dated, and usually empty hotel named the Hopewell.  However, the Empire Suite is soon filled by Mrs. Amberson, a once actor and looking to reconnect with New York after years in Thailand.  The addition of Mrs. Amberson to the Hopewell brings career opportunities, costumers, and love the Martins have waited so long to find.

I really liked this book.  It was fast-paced and I finished it in about a day.  I have read Maureen Johnson's other books (Devilish and others) before and I was glad to find the same type of lovable and engaging characters in both books.  I fell in love with Scarlett's brother Spencer which is odd considering he isn't the main love interest in the novel.  In my defense, he is written splendidly with interesting character faults, like being unaware of the effect of his words, plus he has the strong yet thin and wiry body type which is always attractive to me. I was less thrilled with the actual love interest for Scarlett.  I felt Eric was not the right person for Scarlett and didn't even find him attractive! This is amazing, I find trees attractive.  During multiple interactions between Scarlett and Eric, I had to physically close the book and verbally display my annoyance with the proceedings.  In other words, I had to yell to my empty room.  However, while this was aggravating, it does show that I was invested in Scarlett's life so bravo to Maureen Johnson.

The main driving point of the novel is that Spencer must land an acting job or unwillingly enroll in a culinary school.  This motivates Spencer to join a production of Hamlet which is where Scarlett meets Eric and so on.  I found Johnson's portrayal of the production of a play endlessly entertaining and fitting as I'm going to be spending the next two weeks locked inside a theatre!  I especially loved the physical comedy routines between Eric and Spencer.  They helped to lighten the book and who doesn't want to picture two hot guys riding unicycles and having fake fights? Just me? Okay.

By far my favorite part of Suite Scarlett was the emphasis on family.  So many novels, especially young adult novels, focus on romance, love and relationships but that all takes a backseat in Suite Scarlett.   The focus of the novel is really on Scarlett and how this summer help strengthen her connections with her siblings. Over the course of the novel, all four siblings learn more about one another and come together as a more cohesive family.  I love to see groups of people overcome their clashing personalities and come together to make something awesome.  Yeah, it's one of my favorite types of plot.

To round up my thoughts, I'm really glad I took the time to read Suite Scarlett. It has pumped me up for my own production as well as reminded me that not every YA book is centered on romance.  If you're ever feeling a bit stuck or low on energy and want a quick fun read that still has some depth, Suite Scarlett is the way to go.

Follow on Bloglovin

No comments:

Post a Comment