Suite Scarlett

Suite Scarlett - 2.5 stars: it was acceptableFull review can be found here!I think I've pointed out before that 13 Little Blue Envelopes was one of my favorite books when I was thirteen. When I also loved Girl At Sea, Maureen Johnson became one of my favorite authors. I loved her witty writing style, her quirky characters, her adventurous stories... I received Suite Scarlett as a birthday present when I turned sixteen (in Dutch, it's called "Room 16" so it seemed appropriate) and because of my history with Maureen Johnson's books, I was very excited to read it...But this book, mainly because of the characters, didn't do it for me. Though I prefer to love a main character, I will settle for not really liking them as long as they are strong-voiced and in the possession of some distinctive characteristics. I honestly don't know anything about Scarlett besides the fact that she has curly hair and wears red lipstick, which her sister gave to her so it's not even her own choice either. She has a crush on her brother's friend, which should give some information on what (and who) she likes, but it doesn't really help me understand her more (Eric, much like Scarlett, was quite expressionless). Besides the fact that she's a teenager with a crush on her older brother's friend, that is.Moving on to the plot: Scarlett lives in an old hotel with her family and for her fifteenth birthday she receives a suite in her parents' hotel to take care of. Which isn't that interesting to her. In fact, she spends her summer being bored until her guest, Mrs Amberson, shows up in the hotel and turns her into her personal assistant/slave. I didn't like Mrs Amberson at all. She was arrogant and selfish, and I didn't care for the 'acting lessons' she started giving Scarlett. I also couldn't understand why Scarlett put up with that, but then again: I didn't know what she would and wouldn't do, because I have no idea who she is.Seeing that the romance and the whole Mrs Amberson thing are the main plot devices in this book, I didn't enjoy the plot. Which is a shame, because this could've been an amazing family drama story.I really liked the relationship Scarlett had with both her sisters and her brother. They fought a lot, but loved each other in the end, and I think Johnson portrayed a realistic bond between siblings. Sure, Spencer was a bit conceited, but his bond with Scarlett was sweet. And still I was more interested in Lola and Marlene's stories, which were a little more sad and a lot more intriguing. I wish they were more important in this book. Though I'm not a fan of Scarlett, I did like her family's dynamics.Overall I think the concept for this book was good, but the execution lacked some personal touch. I would've liked seeing Scarlett as a stronger character, because she lacked persona (and that frustrated me). It probably would've been better being told in first person. And you won't ever hear me say this, but: less romance and more family drama in this one, please!