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Suite Scarlett

Suite Scarlett

4.0 188
by Maureen Johnson

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Fifteen-year-old Scarlett Martin is not impressed by the fact that her family owns an art deco hotel five minutes from Central Park. What's worse is when money is tight, she has to spend her vacations working there for free! Luckily, over the summer, the eccentric Mrs. Amberson rents out a suite and hires Scarlett as her personal secretary. Now things are looking up


Fifteen-year-old Scarlett Martin is not impressed by the fact that her family owns an art deco hotel five minutes from Central Park. What's worse is when money is tight, she has to spend her vacations working there for free! Luckily, over the summer, the eccentric Mrs. Amberson rents out a suite and hires Scarlett as her personal secretary. Now things are looking up for the teen!

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly

Johnson (13 Little Blue Envelopes) packs her latest with all the elements of a winning novel-a dramatic setting, offbeat characters, witty dialogue-but she leaves out the tension. Scarlett's family operates and lives in a rundown art deco hotel in Manhattan. It is nearly empty when strange, rich Amy checks in for the summer. Claiming to want to write a book about her life, she hires an ambivalent Scarlett as her assistant. But Scarlett's job changes when Amy decides instead to sponsor a production of Hamlet in which Scarlett's brother is acting. Soon Scarlett is clearing a rehearsal space, kissing her brother's co-star-and even helping Amy pull off an elaborate revenge scheme on a actress she thinks once wronged her. Between the play, the revenge, Scarlett's romance, the hotel and family messiness (Scarlett's sister's cancer treatments have drained the family's finances), the book lacks focus. Readers will also find some scenes hard to believe, such as the final face-off between Amy and her foe in which all is neatly resolved. Ages 12-up. (May)

Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Melissa Zamonis
Scarlett is the third of four children in the Martin family, who own, operate, and inhabit the historic Hopewell Hotel in NYC. The hotel once hosted some of the most glamorous movie stars in its 27 rooms; however, today the building is shabby and rundown. On her 15th birthday, Scarlett is put in charge of one of the hotel's 27 rooms, the Empire Suite. Scarlett finds herself maintaining the room of Mrs. Amberson, a failed 1970s starlet who has returned to the city to write her memoirs. Throughout Suite Scarlett, the theme of family unity runs deep. Maureen Johnson does a great job of portraying an American family with financial problems and busy schedules. In addition, the members of the Martin family all begin to realize the things in their lives that are the most important and meaningful. Overall, Johnson's characters are quirky, memorable, and overall believable people. Reviewer: Melissa Zamonis
Children's Literature - Keri Collins Lewis
Scarlett Martin's life looks glamorous from the outside, as she lives in the Hopewell, an historic hotel in New York City with a thrilling past. Unfortunately, while her friends are spending their summers adventuring around the globe, Scarlett is stuck at home, trying to save the nearly empty and nearly bankrupt hotel from total ruin. When Amy Amberson, a dramatic former actress of dubious caliber and suspicious intentions, moves into the Hopewell for the summer, she impacts the lives of each of the Martins, but none more than Scarlett. Soon "O'Hara," as Mrs. Amberson dubs her, is running all over the city as the personal assistant to a woman with a penchant for special teas, cigarettes, and settling scores. The story's cast is completed by Scarlett's unique family members and subplots involving their lives give the book extra depth as well as emotional resonance. Arranged in five acts, Johnson's engaging novel manages to pay homage to Shakespeare's Hamlet, American theater, New York City, Art Deco, and the golden age of cinema while maintaining the reader's interest in the heroine's personal dramas and awkward attempts at romance. Scarlett's eventual triumph over Mrs. Amberson's conniving ways leads to success for the entire family, and ultimately, the Hopewell. Skillfully plotted and perfectly balanced between humor and drama, this novel reads like a quick trip to the heart of the Big Apple without the hassle of airport security. Reviewer: Keri Collins Lewis
KLIATT - Claire Rosser
From the author of 13 Little Blue Envelopes and other imaginative YA novels, this tells about an unusual family who own and manage an old hotel in Manhattan—but no, they aren't rich. Scarlett is the main character, but her older brother Spencer, older sister Lola, little sister Marlene, and hotel guest Mrs. Amberson are also essential to the story. (BTW, the parents love old movies and named their children accordingly.) There is no way I can summarize the complicated plot in this brief review, but I will say it's about Spencer trying to get a paying job as an actor, his fellow actor and friend Eric who becomes Scarlett's love interest, Lola's love life with a wealthy, boring fellow student, and everyone's financial woes. Scarlett is assigned to be a sort of personal assistant to the exotic Mrs. Amberson, who has a history in the theatre and a grudge to settle. How it all works out makes for a complicated romp through the old hotel, around stages, on the streets of NYC, in the family dining room. It's always fun and challenging. Reviewer: Claire Rosser
VOYA - Ria Newhouse
The Martin family is certainly an unusual one. They own and live in the once-elegant Hopewell Hotel in the heart of New York City. The story opens on Scarlett's fifteenth birthday, a rite of passage in the Martin family. Whenever a Martin child reaches that milestone, he or she is expected to take over the care of a suite in the Art Deco hotel. The problem? The once-historic hotel is now almost empty, and the Martin family has let go the entire permanent staff. Only random guests sometimes fill a room or two. Scarlett is given the coveted Empire Suite and something unheard of-a permanent guest. Mrs. Amberson is more than anybody can handle, and she turns Scarlett's summer upside down with her theatrics, her need for esoteric items, and her socialite diva attitude. Scarlett is a well-drawn character who needs just a little more work to make her totally believable. The family connection that runs throughout the book is refreshing, and Scarlett's relationship with her older brother, Spencer, is both entertaining and endearing. The family faces some odd challenges but comes together with the goal of making each family member happy. Scarlett would truly shine if she had a little more "oomph" and stood up for herself a bit more, but most teen girls will enjoy the story line, the romance, and the description of life in a city that seems far, far away. Be sure to book talk this story; the cover alone will create holds in your system. Reviewer: Ria Newhouse
School Library Journal

Gr 8 Up

The Martin clan is an unusually eccentric family, even by New York City standards. Scarlett's parents own and run the Hopewell, a small, rundown, historic hotel in the heart of the city in this novel by Maureen Johnson (Scholastic, pap. 2009). According to family "rules," upon turning 15, each sibling is given a hotel suite to care for, along with any guests booked into that particular room. By the luck of the draw, Scarlett's first "client" is Mrs. Amberson-a former actress and world traveler with a penchant for running other peoples' lives and an amazingly egocentric view of the universe. By the time the woman is finished with the Martins, every member of the family will have experienced a life changing and positive event. Jennie Stith's little girl voice seems a tad young for Scarlett, and her breathy delivery becomes wearing after a while. This, coupled with the book's implausible plot and minimally developed characters makes it a marginal purchase.-Cindy Lombardo, Cleveland Public Library, OH

Kirkus Reviews
On her 15th birthday, Scarlett Martin receives the key to one of the shabby-but-elegant suites in her eccentric family's aging Manhattan hotel. This rite of passage carries the responsibility of taking care of both the room and guest who occupies it-a dubious honor already bestowed on her older sister Lola and on her brother Spencer, an aspiring actor. What initially seems like a symbolic gesture quickly becomes a full-time project when wealthy, flamboyant Mrs. Amberson moves into the hotel for the summer and firmly clamps Scarlett under her wing. Along the way, there is a show that must go on, the inevitable messy love interest for Scarlett and a younger sister who is a bratty, spoiled cancer survivor. There are a lot of pieces packed into Johnson's caper comedy, and at times the fantastical plot feels a bit unwieldy. However, the authentic charm of the characters and the endearing sweetness of their odd familial relationships do, finally, make this light read worthwhile. (Fiction. YA)

Product Details

Scholastic, Inc.
Publication date:
Edition description:
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
5.30(w) x 7.90(h) x 0.80(d)
Age Range:
14 - 17 Years


Meet the Author

Maureen Johnson is the author of Suite Scarlett (also available on audio from Brilliance Audio), The Key to the Golden Firebird, 13 Little Blue Envelopes, The Bermudez Triangle, Devilish, and Girl at Sea. She lives in New York City. You can visit her online at www.maureenjohnsonbooks.com.

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Suite Scarlett 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 187 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I've never been a huge fan of Maureen Johnson's. I know, it's a crime. It's just that none of the books of hers that I've read have made much of an impression on me. I do admit that she's a good writer and has some great story ideas, but out of the books I've read so far, I didn't really like them enough to say that she's one of my favorite authors. But, I think that may have changed after I read this book. While reading I thought to myself this must be the kind of Maureen Johnson writing that has made people fall in love with her. It's really good! She's witty, precise, clever, funny, and her whole writing style made this book completely enjoyable to read. It's got nice flow and has enough little quirky things to it that nothing ever gets boring. I'm definitely understanding what people like so much about Maureen. I'm a fan now. Besides the writing, there were, of course, other elements that I liked about the book. I really liked the reality of it all. Maybe not the reality of the plot, because I have a feeling that that part was meant to be not so real and more funny and captivating, but I really liked how the author was able to write about the setting and the characters so that it felt as if you were there and you knew them. I've been to New York once, like five years ago so I don't really remember a ton, but from reading this book I was able to understand the whole dynamic and feel of the city which was cool. I'd love to be able to go and spend a week or two among the crazy hecticness of New York. It seems like it would be a really cool place to live. And besides the setting, the characters were completely awesome. They each had some interesting personality trait that made them unique. I also liked how the cute guy in this story had things wrong with him! Yay! Cheers for realistic and screwed up guys. Sure, I'm not as fond of Eric as I am of more unflawed guy leads, but I do admire him for having the strength to defy the character mold. Ha. Overall, I think Suite Scarlett was a super great book. I loved every part of it and am looking forward to the next Scarlett book with tons of anticipation.
booksrgr8_teen258 More than 1 year ago
Suite Scarlett is a very good read. The climax took a little while to get there, but the author did not want to make it a nonunderstandable. I started to like Eric in the beginning but later in this book and the next kind of changed for the worse. He was there, but again his character seemed to change in every scene. Also, Mrs.Amberson is hilarious! I loved her charecter! She always made me laugh with all of her crazy antics! All in all it was an ok read. I do reccomend it.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Okay im one of those readers who when i read a book it HAS to be VERY INTERRESTING from the start!!! This one was!!! I think this book is one that teens can really relate too!! It has the annoying get everything-anything she wants little sister Marlene. The older sister and her rich boyfriend..the older brother who wants to act but has a culinary scholarship! And scarlett who is the main person!!! You will like this book...its pretty good!!!!
_cass_ More than 1 year ago
Suite Scarlett is a great book for tennage girls. Also, for young adult. This book is a great romance, comedy.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Suite Scarlett by Maureen Johnson is about a girl named Scarlett, and she has to help run the family hotel instead of having fu during the summer. She eventually meets an actor named Eric and starts to date him after a little while. Throughout the book there are a few ups and downs is their relationship and Scarlett’s family, but eventually everything turns out the way Scarlett wants. I think people shouldn’t read this book because it really dragged on. It kind of confused me at certain points during the story because there was one thing happening then another without any parts of the book leading up to that point. For example, one of the chapters ‘The Good Burn’ ends with Scarlett running towards her mom to the next chapter ‘A Guest Arrives’ starting with Scarlett hearing someone come in and once she gets up she says “Mom?” It makes me wonder what happened between those two chapters. For the review that ‘Anonymous’ wrote I agree with him/her because I believe Maureen Johnson is a great writer. The only thing is that the books she writes doesn’t interest me, it sometimes confuses me. A few times I feel like there were unneeded things in the book. For example, “Something about her stance suggested that at any moment she might raise her arms above her head and superhero it right through the ceiling and every consecutive floor until she hit the sky”(Johnson 41). My favorite character is Eric, because somehow he managed to make Scarlett’s boring summer into a very busy, fun, and dramatic summer. I also like how special he makes Scarlett feel, because sometimes Scarlett will question Eric’s feelings for her. But he always manages to show her how much he likes her and that he won’t leave her for another person, especially someone famous. “In reply, a tall figure appeared in the doorway dressed in what looked like a blue silk karate outfit and little Japanese slippers” (Johnson 76). I like this quote because it’s funny how some people dress in public. My brother always makes fun of the way I dress but to think there are people who dress like this in public makes me more comfortable with the way I dress.
Winnie_the_PoohVP More than 1 year ago
This is a great book to read If you are bored. I assure you that you wont be bored anymore. Suite Scarlett is filled with romance, hotel rooms, and just plain fun! I loved this book alot and i know you will too!!!!!!!!!!
Bethsue4 More than 1 year ago
This was a surprisingly cute story! There were several moments when I found myself laughing out loud!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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Reader826SF More than 1 year ago
This was a different setting, a run-down hotel that had once been fabulous, owned by a family with very clever kids ranging from 11 to college age. They do a lot of the work because as the book opens the chef quits and that was the last of the hired help. While the protagonist is not the oldest child she is close her brother the talented actor/dancer and is his sounding board for all the parental pressure he contends with; the parents want him to quit acting and go to culinary school for the sake of the hotel. Can the kids pull off the ill-fated Hamlet in New York show, keep the rich boyfriend of the older sister involved, and put up with the spoiled younger sister who had cancer and is now recovered but firmly entrenched as the center of her own universe--and everyone else's. All this pales when our heroine falls for her brothers' specialty acting partner. Is he a good guy, she thinks so, or is he a bad guy for her as her brother thinks? This book is by turns serious and funny, well-written and the plot held my interest as any good teen book should. I think there is a sequel coming too. I would buy this for my granddaughter who is 14.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Loved it
wordforteens More than 1 year ago
Maureen Johnson could write about the history of dresser drawers and I would read it. I haven't encountered an author that makes me laugh more than Johnson does. It doesn't matter what she's writing about -- ghosts, hotels, 140-character count of her escapades in real life on Twitter -- I love it. She makes me laugh in a way that no other author really does. Which suits her stories well. Despite the near absurdity of the things that happen, her characters are realistic and understandable; there's not a single one that isn't fleshed out and made real, even if they're only on the page for a half a second. The only thing I didn't really enjoy was the romantic plotline -- though realistic, it felt kind of forced at times, and I prefer my books to have no romance and be great then have a romance and be adequate. However, Johnson managed to pull it together at the end so that it tied in wonderfully with the rest of the plot. Honestly, though, the thing that stands out most about Suite Scarlett is the writing style itself; no matter what I want to say about the characters and the plot and how fun everything was, it wouldn't have been able to pull it off without Johnson's distinctive writing style and her ability to get into a character's head and pull the personality right out of them. Without a doubt, Suite Scarlett is one of the funniest books I've read in a long time. I'll definitley be picking up the sequel.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
So funny and hard to put down.
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MissPrint More than 1 year ago
Maureen Johnson's novel Suite Scarlett (2008) focuses on Scarlett Martin and her family who live in the Hopewell Hotel in the heart of New York City. That might sound like a dream come true but just ask Scarlett about her fifteenth birthday and it's easy to see the sometimes harsh realities that owning and running a hotel can really entail. The Hopewell hotel has been around since 1929 and has belonged to the Hopewell family for just as long. While the hotel can't compete with some of its ritzier neighbors in terms of luxuries on offer, the Hopewell does have some unique benefits including custom furnishings by a prestigious (fictional) Jazz Age designer, connections to the history of the city and its ever-glamorous theater life. In order to lower maintenance costs for the hotel, the Martins have come up with a unique tradition. On their fifteenth birthday every child receives a hotel suite thereby also inheriting the housekeeping duties and guest services connected to said suite. Scarlett is pretty sure such duties will not do much to alleviate the dullness of her summer vacation since the Hopewell is always chronically under-booked. Unlike Scarlett, her siblings have a lot to manage this summer: Eighteen-year-old Lola is busy juggling family obligations, a job she loves, and a high maintenance boyfriend with an equally high balance in his bank account; eleven-year-old Marlene, the youngest Martin, does not share Scarlett's summer doldrums since her survivor's club keep her social calendar plenty full (have you been on a morning TV show yet?); meanwhile nineteen-year-old Spencer, a talented actor with a fondness for physical comedy is face with an ultimatum that could end his acting career before its even started. Everything changes when the larger-than-life Mrs. Amberson checks into the Empire Suite (Scarlett's suite) and takes her on an assistant in everything from running errands to getting reacquainted with the City and writing the biography of her life. Already swept up in Mrs. Amberson's whirlwind, Scarlett also finds herself swept off her feet when she meets Eric the gorgeous fellow actor in a production of Hamlet that might just save Spencer's career--if the show ever opens. Suite Scarlett holds a lot of appeal for a variety of readers. Being a book by Maureen Johnson it is, of course, very funny. It also has many tidbits about New York that will interest anyone who has a special place for that big apple in their hearts. Most of all, this book has a lot of appeal for theater lovers. Before becoming a published novelist Johnson worked as a dramaturg in the theater world (a dramaturg basically being the person who makes sure every single aspect of a show runs smoothly while directors and other theater types focus less on the big picture). Johnson brings all of that knowledge to this book to really bring the theatrical world that Spencer and, by extension, Scarlett come to inhabit as the plot progresses. While this story has a bit of romance and humor and excitement, it is really a novel about family, specifically siblings. Each of the Martin children are vibrantly described on the page. Spencer in particular is a character that readers will love to love. In fact, the only problem with Suite Scarlett is that with such an awesome brother as Spencer, Scarlett's love interest Eric pales by comparison. All the same, this book has something for everyone and is sure to leave readers with a smile on their face.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Fantastic! Great book!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book was very well written it had many twist and turns. The beginig of the book was a little slow but then once it reached chapter ten it became more thatn i ever expected it to be. In this book it has family love, romance, completly crazy hotel guests, and many other twists and turns. This book is excellent for any one around the age of fifteen. It was absolutly fantastic. : )
Guest More than 1 year ago
OMG!!! I absolutely loved this book. I recently went on a long road trip and needed something to do besides looking at bare land. I had picked up this book a month ago and brought it along with me thinkin that i might get bored. Sure enough i did so i started reading and the book just captured me!! I even stayed up late to read it. I was really sad that i finished the book cus it was SOOOO good, but i passed it on to a friend who might like it. I really hope that you read this book.... trust me you'll love it... if you like love stories. :)