Friday, November 8, 2013

Suite Scarlett by Maureen Johnson

One of my favorite books as a teenager was 13 Little Blue Envelopes by Maureen Johnson. Eventhough I loved that story I somehow never read another book of her again. Finally I stumbled upon Suite Scarlett in the library a couple of days ago. I was so curious to read another book of her that I picked it up.

Her new summer job comes with baggage.
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, and Scarlett lives there with her four siblings – Spencer, Lola, and Marlene.
When each of the Martins turns fifteen, they are 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 called 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.

Before the summer is over, Scarlett will have to survive a whirlwind of thievery, Broadway glamour, romantic missteps, and theatrical deceptions. But in the city where anything can happen, she just might be able to pull it off.

The characters were almost all pretty likeable. The main character Scarlett Martin is a believable and nice girl. We learn enough about her interests and her feelings.
Her brother Spencer was one of my favorite characters. He knew very clearly what he wanted his future to look like and he was een funny guy who liked to cheer Scarlett up. I loved the little bond that the two of them shared. Lola and Marlene were a little less interesting, but the relationship they both had with Scarlett seemed like a very realistic realtionships between sisters. Marlene was a little annoying, but that was understandable. I liked that Scarlett fell out with her eventually, because it seemed like something someone really would do. Scarlett doesn't have a big development throughout the book, but in the end she does seem a little more independent and less afraid to take charge.
Scarlett's parents seemed a little absent throughout the story. Eventhough they have a hotel of their own where they work, it felt like they weren't around much. The kids had to help out a lot in the hotel, eventhough there were barely any guests. What were the parents doing all day if they weren't doing all those chores? That was the only part of the book that felt a little bit unrealistic.

This part contains some spoilers
At first I really liked Eric and he really did seem like the gentleman kind of guy, but further in the story I started to get a little anoyed with him. He was the one who made Scarlett lie to her brother and eventhough Scarlett was the one who did it, he was the one who suggested it. Also after Spencer found out what was going on between Eric and Scarlett, Eric became a coward and didn't want to talk to her in public anymore. Eventhough he said that he didn't want to cause problems for Scarlett, it felt more as though he himself wasn't ready to have their 'relationship' made public. Personally I wouldn't want to be with someone who wants to keep me a secret. Near the end of the book we find out that Eric indeed is hiding something. He was still in a relationship with someone else when he kissed Scarlett. I was already starting to hope that they would not end up togethere, so even if, because of the kind of open ending, it isn't sure that they will not end up together it's also not sure that they will, so I was satisfied with that. I would have loved the ending more though, if Scarlett would have shown a little bit more of her newly gained independence and just forgot about Eric.

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