by Maureen Johnson
Young Adult, 368 pages.
Scarlett Martin gets a special present for her fifteenth birthday… a key to her very own suite at the boutique Hopewell Hotel in the heart of Manhattan. Only she’s not staying in it. With her suite at the Hopewell, the Martin family business, comes the responsibility of caring for whoever resides there.
This particular summer, as things at the Hopewell take a turn for the economic worse, the Empire Suite guest happens to be Mrs. Amberson, an eccentric, wealthy and flamboyant actress who wants to reconnect with her passion for the theatre… and to inject some drama into Scarlett’s life.
Between trying to bolster her brother Spencer’s acting career, being at Mrs. Amberson’s beck and call and playing the part of Spencer’s hottie castmate crush, Scarlett suddenly has her hands full. When Spencer’s play gets in trouble and Scarlett’s sister’s love life crumbles, Scarlett will have to step in and, with her suite guest’s help, save the day.
SUITE SCARLETT is a fast, laugh-out-loud funny read full of Johnson’s signature hilarious and quirky characters.
This review celebrates the paperback release of the novel, which is technically May 1st, 2009. If you want to get your hands on it sooner, though, you can order Suite Scarlett right now from Amazon!
For Readers: Readers will love Scarlett and her siblings, who manage to make ends meet and scrape by no matter how crazy their situation. They’ll also adore Mrs. Amberson, who is like the theatrical aunt everyone wishes they had. Her money doesn’t hurt things, either. There’s also a romance between Scarlett and Eric, Spencer’s castmate, which has some real depth. If you’re into theatre, fun and great, snappy dialogue, pick up SUITE SCARLETT, now in paperback!
For Writers: Every writer, at one point or another, has dreamed of writing a crazily eccentric character like Mrs. Amberson or Chessy Chestnut, from Lisa Yee’s ABSOLUTELY MAYBE. If you’re into writing humor, you will enjoy studying Johnson’s use of dialogue to this effect. Her interactions between the siblings, especially Scarlett and Spencer, as well as her characterization of Mrs. Amberson are hilarious.
Also, Maureen Johnson is excellent at using social technology. Case in point, she told her Twitter followers yesterday that if they could make SUITE SCARLETT break the 1,000 number of the Amazon Sales Rank, she’d sign up for trapeeze school. Guess what? SUITE SCARLETT topped out at #643. Follow her on Twitter: @maureenjohnson. She’s also got a ning site, which is a cool social networking utility that authors like John Green use. Check out her website for more details. This is stuff that up-and-coming YA and kidlit authors should get very comfortable using, because these social networking tools are going to be key to promotion in a few years, if not already.