Friday, December 31, 2010
Book Review: Suite Scarlett
Suite Scarlett (2008) by Maureen Johnson
Back Jacket: 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 a second unexpected turn. Before the summer is over, Scarlett will have to survive a whirlwhind of thievery and romantic missteps. But in a city where anything can happen, she just might be able to pull it off.
Review: I love the set up for Suite Scarlett, as any book that takes place in an Art Deco hotel promises to be a good one. Scarlett is one of those girls who isn't clued in to just how fierce and awesome she is, despite spending most of her time in red lipstick and an LBD. Mrs. Amberson proves to be frighteningly unpredictable but not unlikeable, and she certainly spices up Scarlett's summer. My favorite aspect of the book was the relationship between Scarlett and her brother, Spencer; their relationship felt real and complicated. Much of the plot revolves around Spencer struggling to find an acting job, Mrs. Amberson putting her nose in his business and dragging Scarlett into a wild scramble to produce a humorous retelling of Hamlet. The only real problem is finding a place to perform. These adventures are certainly entertaining, and Johnson does an overall nice job, but there was still part of me that wanted it to be just a little bit better.