My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Where to begin…. This book is one of those deeply touching farce comedies where the stakes just keep pilling up and things get funny and hard, but also real. And somewhere the tide has started shifting for me and I am more and more drawn to contemporary novels, the light stuff, the issues stuff, the romance stuff, the high concept stuff. All of it, I wants it now, all of it, I haz to haz it. (okay maybe we should ignore my slip into lolcat)
Scarlet O’hara just turned 15, finds out her families hotel that they (4 siblings – herself included, and 2 parents) live in is close to shutting down and they all have to pull there weight as they are now the only staff. LE suck. She gets ‘gifted’ the empire suite on her birthday and it is her responsibility to care for the inhabitants of that suite. Queue the nex day and she has an unexpected guest who actually really takes up on that offer and hires Scarlet essentially as her personal assistant. Add to that her older brother Spencer(who she is super close with) was given a 3 day deadline to either accept the culinary school offer of scholarship (which expires at the end of those 3 days) or get his acting career up and running in that time. This may seam out in left field but soon enough his getting a role in Hamlet synchs together the strings that tie this plot together.
There was a romantic element to this story, Queue Eric. There is some super cute are we flirting are we not scenes, feel the tension, OMG he is so damned dreamy! And then there is kissing. And I like me some kissing, but then I was all disappointed in his honesty at the end, and feel much the same way Scarlet does(who thanks to Mrs. Amberson I now want to call O’hara all the time) – that any self help book that preaches that much honesty should be destroyed, because it sucks.
What I liked even more was the family drama. Lola clearly has her own issues to deal with in regards to what she wants to do with her future. She comes off as a very Jane character from the recent Pride and Prejudice retelling that Hank Green Produced (co-produced?) – The Lizzie Benet Diaries. I know that this book came out first, but I am reading it after I have scene the Lizzie Bennett Diaries. So in my world Lola = Jane. Done deal.
Also I was oddly touched by the spoilt younger sister Marlene (??? – so bad with character names). And not because she is a Cancer survivor, but because I saw some character development there. She is a spoilt brat and her family protects her from the world and no one says no or tells it to her like it is. Until Scarlet snaps. And I get that it’s bad, but at the same time that leaves a lot of honesty on the table to work with and when Marlene gets called up to be a part of something, it gives her a nice option to take a different path then the one she might have had Scarlet never told it to her like it is even if it was a harsh thing to say.
I don’t want to leave Spencer out. I totally liked him, but oddly enough he felt secondary to me even though he was a leading player in Scarlet’s life. Like the moon she would turn to for advice and to share her tragedies with. Two siblings, thick as thieves. And without him we wouldn’t have much of the plot. Because it is his Play Mrs. Amberson latches onto. And it is Scarlet as her assistant that she drags onto this crazy madcap adventure. Yet still, secondary to me.
Speaking of Mrs. Amberson that women seams like a great mystery to me. For example where exactly did she get all of her money to throw around and help out like that. I know there are people out there who have money like that but those people don’t normally do this kind of thing. She is one of those larger than life characters. I would say she is a cross between he Manic Pixie stereotype and the Wise Older Mentor Stereo Type.
Lastly I adored the bits about the hotel done up in various publications and I also really loved the play like structure to the novel. It was fun and entertaining and plenty of quirky and yet really made you think about family too.