Suite Scarlett by Maureen Johnson
Reviewed by Ruya
Suite Scarlett is an excellent book which takes you behind the scenes of a family-owned hotel and an acting troupe. It's about the entire (somewhat dysfunctional) Martin family, but mostly about Scarlett Martin.
The family, who runs the Hopewell Hotel in New York City, has a tradition: when each child turns fifteen, he or she is given the responsibility of a room and whoever stays in it. Scarlett is given the Empire Suite, and with it comes Mrs. Amberson, who is best described by Scarlett's first impression of her. "Something about her stance suggested that at any moment she might raise her arms above her head and superhero it right through the ceiling and every consecutive floor until she hit the sky." A former actress, Mrs. Amberson decides to take Scarlett on as an assistant so she might write a book. Between running crazy errands for Mrs. Amberson, helping out a bit with her brother's acting troupe, and admiring her brother's attractive colleague Eric, the summer of Scarlett's fifteenth birthday turns out to be quite the adventure.
The best thing about this book was definitely the characters. Well, some of them, anyway. Scarlett's dramatic brother Spencer was hilarious ("'You know what?' he said. 'People give you really suspicious looks when you emerge from a bush, covered in leaves, carrying a unicycle.'") and Mrs. Amberson, with her expensive skin products and endless whims, was thoroughly likable. Scarlett started out relatively boring, but I liked her toward the end. The only character who I actually disliked was Eric. His relationship with Scarlett was not developed enough, and the dirty little secret he hides does nothing to ingratiate himself with me. Neither does his excuse of "trying to be decent." But, you know, to each his (or her) own. The ending, though, is something to look forward to. There are a couple of satisfying plot twists, some predictable, and some unexpected, and everyone ends up happy.
If you're looking for a good summer book to read at the beach or maybe on a car trip, Suite Scarlett is an entertaining and heartwarming read that will leave you grinning from ear to ear.