Thursday, June 24, 2010
Scarlett Martin has grown up in a most unusual way. Her family owns the Hopewell, a small hotel in the heart of New York City. Her nineteen-year-old brother, Spencer, is an out of work actor facing a family deadline to get his career in order. Eighteen-year-old Lola has the delicate looks of a model, the practical nature of a nurse, and a wealthy society boyfriend. Eleven-year-old Marlene is the family terror with a tragic past.
When the Martins turn fifteen, they are each expected to take over the care of a suite in the once elegant, now shabby Art Deco hotel. 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, world traveler, and aspiring autobiographer who wants to take over her life. And when she meets Eric, an astonishingly gorgeous actor who has just moved to the city, her summer takes a second unexpected turn.
With Mrs. Amberson calling the shots, Spencer's career to save, Lola's love life to navigate around, and Marlene's prying eyes everywhere, things won't be easy. Before the summer is over, Scarlett will have to survive a whirlwind of thievery, Broadway glamour, romantic missteps, and theatrical deception.
The show, as they say, must always go on...
Suite Scarlett by Maureen Johnson is a compelling and amusing read. The plot is creative and unique and I love the fact that it is set in New York City (one of my personal favorite places). Suite Scarlett is not just about Scarlett herself it also is about her family and the hardships that they face. The novel illustrates the relationships within her family beautifully and perfectly portrays the interactions between her siblings. The Martins remain a typical and believable family that lives at and runs the Hopewell Hotel, which brings them closer and makes for a humorous setting. I love the idea because the Hopewell Hotel is a true family business and not corporation so the whole family is really hands-on while running it.
Scarlett meets Mrs. Amberson on her fifteenth birthday when she moves into the Hopewell for the summer. Mrs. Amberson is flamboyant fun, but also full of mystery in a way that is very intriguing. I love Mrs. Amberson as a character she's a strong and independent woman who knows exactly what she wants and is also devious and clever because she knows how to get it. When Mrs. Amberson checks in at the Hopewell she is a nuisance for Scarlett to care for. Mrs. Amberson although incredibly high maintenance she puts her own needs aside to help Scarlett sort out her problems and help Spencer kick off his acting career.
Scarlett Martin, the center of it all, is a well realized character that ties together the novel. Scarlett is a typical 15-year-old girl, but she is forced to become much more mature than many girls her age. Scarlett's maturity comes from having to work at the hotel from a young age and care for her younger sister Marlene. I found Scarlett to be incredibly endearing and sweet and also very relevant to many youth her age because she faces may of the same issues. My only issue with the novel is that I would have loved it even more had it been narrated from Scarlett's view instead of third person. I think this would have made it a little more personal and I prefer (usually) a first person narrative. That being said I don't think I could find anything else to dislike if I tried!
I finished Suite Scarlett quickly knowing that I could not wait to read the sequel Scarlett Fever!