just finished: Suite Scarlett
reading next: oh...something or other by Beverly Cleary :P
written by Maureen Johnson
I definitely went into this book with low expectations. I had read Thirteen Little Blue Envelopes and found nothing particularly spectacular about it. I never really understood why Maureen Johnson was a legend in YA literary circles (well...other than the whole YA for Obama thing :P) So I was very glad to be surprised by this amazing book. The characters were all extraordinarily well-developed, and unlike most YA books nowadays, instead of the focus being on the romance (Scarlett/Eric), it seemed to me like the most central relationship in the book was Scarlett-Spencer. I loved the familial interactions, each sibling's distinct personality. I might have wanted to see some more of Marlene, but I'll live. I went into the book with a lot of wrong ideas. I had thought immediately that Mrs. Amberson was going to die. Grandmotherly influencial older woman--well, they always die in books, don't they? Them and dogs? I had gone in thinking, hmm, is this going to end up with a Scarlett/Eric pairing or SPENCER/Eric pairing? I liked that I was proven wrong on both counts. Everything about this book was great. There were points where some of the narration dragged a little, but that was mainly confined to the first few chapters, and it all evened out a lot through the rest of the book, down to the smallest details like the epic chapter titles. I had thought that Eric and Scarlett's relationship had no hope, since they got together that extremely early in the book. I didn't particularly like Eric's character. He was necessary to temporarily divide Scarlett and Spencer, but he never appealed to me as...well, as a person. He may be the only 2D character in the entire book. The resolution between Donna and Amy (and oh my God, if anyone watches The West Wing, you will understand why I am horrified by this statement I am about to make) was heartwarmingly bittersweet. I am deeply curious about the origins of Mrs. Amberson--who on earth could have had enough character to inspire her? She's pretty much legendary! All in all, spectacular book, plotwise, characterwise, writing-wise. Everything's just spot-on!