Friday, May 7, 2010

Review: Scarlett Fever

Scarlett Fever by Maureen Johnson

3.5 stars

Reasons for reading: I really liked Suite Scarlett; 10 in 10 Chick Lit Challenge

Description: "Ever since Mrs. Amberson, the former-aspiring-actress-turned-theatrical-agent, entered Scarlett Martin’s life, nothing has been the same. Scarlett is now Mrs. Amberson’s assistant, running around town for her star client Chelsea--a Broadway star Scarlett’s age with a knack for making her feel insignificant. Scarlett’s also trying to juggle sophomore year classes, a lab partner who is being just a little too nice, and getting over the boy who broke her heart."

My thoughts: Another winner from Maureen Johnson. She's just so cool. In my usual way, I didn't like the sequel quite as much as the first book - I find 15 year-old Scarlett's "relationship" with college-aged Eric to be creepy and not quite right, so I didn't like that she was still pining over him and Mrs. Amberson is still crazy and completely oblivious to the fact everyone else has a life outside of her. Although she does sometimes rise above that and show that she is very smart and capable of helping people. There's just a lot of crap in between those times.

But Scarlett's actor/prat-fall expert brother Spencer is still awesome. His subplot of getting a villain part on a Law and Order-alike where he plays a porn king who relates the industry to different types of donuts is worth the price of admission alone. Creepy cancer surviving sister Marlene's subplot of why she's suddenly being unnaturally and weirdly nice is entertaining (but still creepy) and we see a bit more of the sad, scared child Marlene actually is (while still being a total brat). Lola's decision to get back with wealthy Chip causes a lot of problems. While I get a bit tired of serene and insanely beautiful Lola, I thought Johnson's portrayal of how even pretty girls get mean girl treatment was insightful. I still love the fading Art Deco Hopewell Hotel and I hope eventually we'll see it get the restoration it deserves, probably via Mrs. Amberson as the Martin parents still seem pretty incompetent. I get that they don't have money to run the hotel due to Marlene's illness. but they don't even seem to be able to master basics like "don't serve the guests raw/burned food" - you don't need money for that.

The lab partner who gets "too friendly" is a bad description - Max is the bitter brother of Broadway starlet Chelsea and his mission in life is to make Scarlett miserable because a) he's miserable and b) Mrs. A wants her to spy on him at school for his controlling, insane mother. Max is an interesting addition to Scarlett's life - on the surface a total jerk, but underneath he has both issues to deal with and a desire to be liked.

I'll be looking forward to the next book, but I hope Scarlett has stopped pining for too-old and too-jerky Eric by then.

No comments: