Tuesday, 17 December 2013


Suite Scarlett by Maureen Johnson

If living in a famous art deco hotel minutes away from Central Park sounds like your idea of a pretty sweet deal - you should talk to Scarlett Martin. Having a hotel for a home really isn't all it's cracked up to be, especially when you've got no guests, no money and no prospects for any fun thanks to your parents putting you to work all summer. Luckily for Scarlett, the Hopewell is about to be shaken to its foundations with the arrival of Mrs Amberson, a glamorous travelling socialite who's planning on putting down some roots for a while - and hiring Scarlett as her assistant. With a new job, new friends, and (maybe) a new boyfriend on the horizon, Scarlett's summer is beginning to look a lot more interesting...


I think it's safe to say I've been a fan of Maureen Johnson's for a while now. I followed her on Twitter long before I actually read any of her books - though now I recommend the Shades of London trilogy to basically anyone who expresses a modicum of interest in books of any kind - and now I'm finally delving into some of her older books, now that Hot Key Books is reprinting some of them in the UK. Also, I met her this year and she's awesome in person, too.

Suite Scarlett is a fun read, filled with humour and surprisingly real characters. I wasn't expecting that in something I thought was going to be a bit fluffy. The cover doesn't really do it justice. Scarlett's family run a failing hotel in Manhattan, and on her fifteenth birthday she inherits a room of her own to take care of - along with any guests who might be staying there. Scarlett's less than thrilled by this, especially when the outlandish Mrs Amberson arrives and announces she'll be staying for the entire summer, but it soon turns into the most exciting summer of her life.

What I liked most about this book, aside from Scarlett herself, who is brilliant, was the relationships between her and her siblings. She has two older ones, Spencer and Lola, and an awful younger sister, Marlene. They get along and hate each other at times, there are clear loyalties and divides between the four, and they all interact with each other and have their own things going on. So often in books, several siblings could easily be condensed into one, but here they are all distinct and all add something. I particularly liked Marlene, but that's because I always like the characters you're supposed to hate!

I was a little surprised to discover that this book has a sequel, all the way through it felt more like a standalone than a series, but I'm now eager for the second book and hope it finds it's way onto shelves soon (it should - it was released in 2010!)

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