Maureen Johnson’s books were not ones that caught my eye at the bookstore, I have to admit. But I began following her on Twitter because I recognized her name as an author, and quite often I get on Twitter just to see what she has been tweeting.
I thought the storyline of Suite Scarlett was interesting sounding. Every child in the family gets the responsibility of one of the suites on their 15th birthday. Scarlett, who is #3 out of 4 children is given the Empire Suite. And just her luck, there is a resident, supposedly permanent, named Mrs. Amberson, who has just moved in. Now, this isn’t a big, fancy hotel. It is a little hotel, with lots of NY history.
Scarlett’s family is very colorful. Her older brother is an actor, very good at physical acting, stage falls, etc. Her older sister dates a rich guy. And her younger sister is a cancer survivor, and a bit of a brat. It’s summer, and while all Scarlett’s friends have gone elsewhere, as most New Yorkers do in the summer, she’s stuck in town helping at the family hotel. She gets hired by Mrs. Amberson to be her assistant. First to help her write a book, then they decide to get involved in her brother Spencer’s production of Hamlet as it starts having issues. Scarlett has a first romance with a boy in Spencer’s cast named Eric. This story had a lot of subtle humor. There were several instances where I laughed out loud at lines that came from the same person I follow on Twitter. I could definitely see her influence in these parts of the book.
Then I moved on to the sequel, Scarlett Fever. In this book, Mrs. Amberson has moved out, but Scarlett is still working for her. Scarlett’s friends are back in town now that school is starting, and she must try to get over Eric, who told her he wasn’t sure what he would want once school started. Mrs. Amberson has decided to be come a talent agent, starting by representing Scarlett’s brother Spencer. After many failed commercial auditions, she gets him a job on the hit NY crime show, where he does the unthinkable, and his character kills a beloved NY police officer character. Mrs. Amberson has also picked up a new young talent called Chelsea, and in order to get her, she volunteers Scarlett to spy on Chelsea’s older brother Max, since they will be going to the same school. This book was even better than the first, in my opinion anyway, and I say that because I found myself laughing out loud even more. The way it left off though, I’m really hoping that there is going to be a third book in this series. In fact I intend to tweet this very question to Maureen Johnson soon.