Monday, November 29, 2010
Suite Scarlett is a YA contemporary novel written by Maureen Johnson.
Scarlett Martin lives in the Hopewell, a small but arty hotel in New York City. Her family owns and runs it - which includes the tradition of giving full responsibility of one of the eclectic rooms to each Martin when they turn 15. Scarlett gets the Empire Suite, one of the most expensive and least used suites at the Hopewell. But it very quickly becomes occupied when the highly unusual and wealthy ex-actress Mrs. Amberson moves in for the entire summer. Since the hotel isn't in the best financial times, pleasing Mrs. Amberson becomes the ultimate goal for the family. Unfortunately, this mission tends to fall at Scarlett's feet more often than not, since Mrs. Amberson seems to take a liking to her.
And before Scarlett knows it, what looked to be a boring and eventless summer of helping out at the Hopewell is turning into a crazy succession of events. Especially when she meets the too-good-looking-to-speak-properly-to young actor, Eric, who is working with her older brother Spencer. Adding a splash of possible romance only makes things more hectic for Scarlett - but living in Manhattan in a family like the Martin's might just give her enough moxy to survive it.
The positive blurbs on the back of the paperback version of Suite Scarlett from some of my favorite authors (Meg Cabot, Libba Bray, and Michele Jaffe) was definitely a good sign when I got the opportunity to read the book. And may I just say that Suite Scarlett more than met the praise!
Suite Scarlett's cover gives off a lighthearted, fun feeling that was reflected in the contents of this delightful read. Maureen Johnson easily evokes a luxurious, charming image of the Hopewell that enticed the bibliophile in me. Before ten pages passed the vibes of family, siblings, and a truly colorful palette of characters already sparkled radiantly!
Not to mention, starting the story off with Scarlett's truly sucky b-day really set a great tone for the character and the path her life often takes - keeping the narrative voice joyful. There are so many chuckle-inducing lines, I can't even tell you!
I seemed to instinctually want to read Suite Scarlett slowly, wanting to really savor the almost rhythmical quality it has. One of the most fun (and funny) books I've read lately.
Mrs. Amberson is one of those awesome characters that just comes to life (though you can say that for pretty much every character in Suite Scarlett), sort of like Grandmere in The Princess Diaries series by Meg Cabot. She is kinda crazy and is quite the scene-stealer - throwing Scarlett into all sorts of whimsical shenanigans (I love that word, don't you?).
Plus, Scarlett's dealing with her crush on Eric is both relatable and hilarious - she is an excellent main character, one of many in a novel full to the brim with glow-in-the-dark personalities, refreshing family life, and entertainment up the whazoo!
Suite Scarlett is like cold lemonade in a sea of angsty YA hot cocoa. It's like a fluffy, enjoyable, irresistible dessert. Flavorful, scrumptious... yummy.
And with it's surprisingly gripping, must-read quality and smile-worthy end - I was more than happy to have the sequel Scarlett Fever waiting in the wings for me to crack open immediately.
So after all that, I'm sure you'll all be astonished to know that I highly, highly recommend Suite Scarlett. ;)