Author: Maureen Johnson
Buy The Book: Amazon
Scarlett is the third of four children in the Martin family. The Martins live in and manage a shabby hotel in NYC that dates back to the 1920s. When Scarlett turns 15, she is put in charge of one of the hotel’s 27 rooms- the Empire Suite. Into this room moves Mrs. Amberson, a failed 1970s starlet who has returned to New York to write her memoirs. Soon, Scarlett is taking dictation, running around town with Mrs. Amberson, and getting caught up in her Auntie Mame-meets-Bianca Jagger adventures.
Suite Scarlett by Maureen Johnson has one of the most unique settings that I’ve encountered in a while. Much of the book takes place in the Hopewell. The Hopewell is a hotel that dates back to the 1920’s and is decorated in the Art Deco style. Johnson describes the decor of the hotel in such detail that at times I felt like I was an inhabitant of the grand old building. Johnson has created an intricate legend/back story to go along with the hotel that is woven throughout the book so as to lend an air of mystery to the structure.
In addition to a great setting, Maureen Johnson has created a stellar cast of characters to fill the decaying, once glorious hotel. Scarlett Martin, the protagonist deals with problems in just about every area of her life with a wry sense of humor that had me laughing along with her. I loved how Scarlett’s relationship with her siblings was depicted throughout the book. Everything between them is not always perfect. The interaction towards the end of the book between Scarlett and her cancer survivor sister Marlene is raw and emotional, and I think the relationship between Scarlett and her older brother Spencer is one of the best written brother/sister duos I have read in a long time.
The thing I enjoyed most about Suite Scarlett though is that Scarlett’s head is not ruled by her love life. She is not obsessed in an unhealthy way with her love interest, Eric. Like all of Johnson’s female protagonists, Scarlett has an independent spirit. Scarlett’s adventures as Mrs. Amberson’s assistant are a must read for teens and adults alike!
Don’t forget! Scarlett Fever , the sequel to Suite Scarlett is in stores now!