Original post at One More PageI ve heard a lot about Maureen Johnson from YA contemporary circles, but somehow, I never really got around to getting her books This almost feels like a sin for someone who loves contemporary YA as much as I do So at the back of my mind, I have this little to buy list that includes one of Maureen Johnson s books in case I wanted to splurge on something, but winning a giveaway during Armchair BEA saved me from spending and instead, I got an audiobook of Suite Scarlett , which some of my blogger friends recommend.Scarlett Martin has just turned 15, and as with her older siblings Spencer and Lola, she was given the Empire Suite in Hopewell Hotel, their family business, to take care of This is a great honor, however, business isn t exactly as booming as it was before in the Hopewell, so Scarlett s dreams of getting a summer job was put on hold since she had to help out at home Things turn interesting, though, when rich, world traveler and theater actress Mrs Amy Amberson comes along and rents the Empire Suite Pretty soon, Scarlett becomes her personal assistant and a part of some harebrained schemes that involve directing and producing a play, conning a nemesis, and a possible summer romance.Like everyone I know who s read this, my favorite part of this book is the sibling relationship of Scarlett and Spencer I love brother sister relationships because I can relate to it so much Scarlett and Spencer remind me of my own relationship with my older brother They re probably closer, of course, but their banter and their instinct to help each other is ingrained in every brother sister relationship out there, I think I liked how Spencer can tell things just by looking at his sister and how he has this instinct to protect her even from his friend I also liked the other two Martins, even if I saw them as the enemies at the start of the book because they re at odds with the brother sister tandem.The story isn t really that monumental, but it has enough elements to make it just the right amount of crazy I don t think people will actually get into as much chaos as Scarlett did in her summer, but the setting helped in making it believable I bet if this story was set outside of NYC or in anything other than Hopewell, I wouldn t have accepted the craziness as easily as I did here Suite Scarlett makes me want to go to New York City not that I haven t wanted to go there for the past years now and go to the places described in the book.I really enjoyed reading listening to Suite Scarlett It s fun, light and it s easily one of those books that will cheer you up after reading a depressing or heavy book I m curious about Maureen Johnson s other books now This should be for another post, but since this is my first audiobook for a long time now, anyway , I should mention it in this review, too The audiobook I wanted to listen to was usually one with different voices for the characters, so the first time I listened to this, I had a hard time with the way the reader changers her voice for every character It was kind of weird because I could tell it was still her and I couldn t detach myself from that It took a while to get used to it, but when I did, I had to marvel at how different each voice sounded after all I m pretty sure this won t be my last audiobook It s not a conventional way to read, but it is definitely helpful in the gym. Scarlett Martin s large family runs and lives in the Hopewell Hotel in Manhattan The Hopewell has seen better days and the family will do what it takes to keep the business afoot Scarlett feels like the only one of her friends who actually stayed in Manhattan for the summer But she won t be bored long, thanks to a new guest, the glamorous Mrs Amberson, checking in.I loved Scarlett s relationship with her family, especially the tight bond with her older brother, Spencer The characters and relationships were so well developed and believeable It s so interesting to read about the family dynamics.The plot was definitely different than I thought it would be, in a good way Since Spencer is an actor, a lot of the story revolves around theater This was a very appealing topic to me, and a great surprise.Maureen Johnson has a fantastic sense of humor with lots of sarcasm and witty quotes Her writing is very smooth and fast paced.The only thing that prevented this book from getting 5 stars from me was that sometimes I didn t like the Scarlett character She was a bit cold and selfish sometimes, especially in her treatment of her little sister who had battled cancer This is the only complaint that I had about the book.Overall the book was very entertaining with no slow parts The subject was unique and not at all predictable Reviewed for Scarlett Martin Has Grown Up In A Most Unusual Way Her Family Owns The Hopewell, A Small Art Deco Hotel In The Heart Of New York City When Each Of The Martins Turns Fifteen, They Are Expected To Take Over The Care Of A Suite For Scarlett S Fifteenth Birthday, She Gets Both A Room Called The Empire Suite And A Permanent Guest Named Mrs Amberson Scarlett Doesn T Quite Know What To Make Of This C List Starlet And World TravelerAnd When She Meets Eric, An Astonishingly Gorgeous Actor Who Has Just Moved To The City, Her Summer Takes A Second Unexpected Turn Before The Summer Is Over, Scarlett Will Have To Survive A Whirlwind Of Thievery And Romantic Missteps But In The City Where Anything Can Happen, She Just Might Be Able To Pull It Off 3 This book was cute and I in no way mean that condescendingly If I was in high school this series may have been my favorite and I would pass it around to friends, do I know any teens of the right age now Scarlett is the least annoying 15 year old I ve ever read in a book, that I can remember She was real, I would ve been friends with her or maybe I would ve been her Her emotions, thoughts, worries, etc were realistic and not just her, her 3 siblings were very real too There s a romance in the story, but not in the way YA books have made me hate it before Maureen Johnson had a way of working in pop culture without it being overbearing and a way with words that made you feel 15 again It is clearly written with girls in mind, but boys would enjoy it to, actually a boy lent me the book I won t move onto the 2nd book unless the same friend has it to lend me or who knows the library looksanddone everyday, maybe I ll read it from there It isn t necessary though, the book works on its own It has its drama and the world comes crashing on her all at once, but clears up very realistically The book could very well stand on it s own and I like that I d readby Johnson, she has a little bit of quirk to her that I like I m glad to know I haven t grown out of all YA books, even if I should. 3.5 stars At first I didn t really like this because I didn t like the characters It started out as a 2 star book but as I was reading itit got way way better I really liked Spencer and Eric Marlene was kinda odd and Lola was ok Scarlett I quite liked too The story was interesting I liked that it was about a play etc I did really think that mrs Amberson was annoying but I wasn t really annoyed by her any towards the end.I will be picking up Scarlett Fever because I want to know how this series is continued finished Reposted from my original blog post, here.Y all, I think there s something inherently wrong with me, because I had never, ever read a page upon which MJ bestowed her glorious talent prior to this made of awesome 300 page collection of MJ scribe.I know.As I have said many, many, many times before here and everywhere else where I am present and books are discussed or I turn the conversation over to books , there s no better way to enamor me than a great, well written and developed cast of characters Why stop at three dimensions I m all about the layers Similarly, why stop with a single, lone embodiment of brilliancy So, when you do what Maureen Johnson did here which reminded me of what Steve Kluger did in My Most Excellent Year you get my utmost attention, respect, awe, and support I am at your mercy.First and foremost, we re introduced to possibly one of the absolute best sibling combinations in all of YA Spencer, Lola, Scarlett and Marlene.Spencer is an out of work, nineteen year old actor trying to catch his lucky break or at least a casting as an extra anything Lola is amature and dainty eighteen year old, but for all her acquiescent attitude and focus, she s got a lot of intensity brewing behind those hazel eyes which aren t really hazel but I needed a pop culture reference because I feel I don t do that enough Scarlett is the 3rd person focus hey I liked a 3rd person POV book of the book she s a efficient, serious, mature, and mercifully non whiny and totally relatable fifteen year old Marlene is a bitchy cancer survivor eleven year old who drove me bonkers but she was also devilish in that precious spoiled kid way.Those four rocked my world I could ve read about their laundry day routine for all I cared, if only to see what kind of hilarious remark would escape Spencer s mouth once he caught sight of Lola s granny panties peeking out of her pants as she bent down to put her basket of regular panties in the wash He s right up there with Dexter from This Lullaby by Sarah Dessen, TJ and Andy from My Most Excellent Year by Steve Kluger, and Jamie from Lock and Key by Sarah Dessen, in my list of favorite male characters Here s a great exchangeChip has a boat Fancy boat, Spencer went on And he did promise Marlene a ride This is my ex boyfriend we re talk about, she Lola said I know, Scarlett said It s asking a lot I m not asking you to get back together with him She s definitely not asking that Spencer cut in This is just asking him to take a little boat ride, Scarlett finished You mean you want me to use him Stop it, Spencer said You re making me love you Spencer no likey Chip, by the by Another thing I thought was super well done was Spencer and Scarlett s close knit relationship They had a special bond neither had with their other siblings, and I m very familiar with that because it s the exact same way I am with my brother Right down to his overprotectiveness when it comes to other guys Love. Also, Spencer s would be love interest in this one if she weren t so damn annoying is named Stephanie It s a sign Ah, and perhaps my favorite character above all isn t even a component of the Fantastic Four There was this prima donna has been starlet who ran around bossing everyone around in the hotel, Mrs Amberson, and she ruled in all possible ways Here s a ditzy, flaky character who has a lot of power and isn t afraid to royally fuck things up from time to time Great for conflict.Oh and I just have to add in somewhere that I hated Eric, Scarlett s lovebird He reminded me of an ex, with his calculating approaches and scheming masked to look innocent and I thought he was an ass and I hope Scarlett does what needs to be done But she ll probably requirelovable slapping from me and doubtlessly many other readers before getting there.And FINALLY, I loved Maureen s witty use of language Behold Scarlett picked up the Empire Suite key from the table I need a plan, she said to it Something needs to give What do I do The key did not answer, because keys generally do not speak This was probably a good thing, because if it hadreplied, Scarlett s problems would have taken on a new level of complexity.And that, she did not need.See Love.Although, in the subject of Maureen s writing, I would have loved to understand why she used ellipses in spots where em dashes would ve fit better The dot dot dot kind of worried me for a second.Anyway.There was a lot of theatrics in this one, many theater references and such, which, in conjunction with the great characters, is what reminded me of My Most Excellent Year I d recommend it to anyone, old or new, jaded or na ve, happy or depressed You need this one.So, easy grade A. 1 JUST OUT OF GENEROSITY STAR.This book, fellow readers, is a disgrace to the magnificent term YA Contemporary that I hold above all else Suite Scarlett disappointed me on so many grounds, I don t know where to start This was wrong in all possible proportions and I might juST HURL THE BOOK ACROSS THE ROOM.1 The culprit Maureen Johnson After reading Let It Snow and absolutely adoring Johnson s story because of how stinkingly cute it was, I expected something similar from this book Let s just say, it didn t even come close Pretty conflicted on whether I should give her other books a try or not, but I might pick one up in the future when my anger simmers down a bit, because guys, THIS WAS NOT WHAT I SIGNED UP FOR.2 The deceiving writing style In the beginning, when I felt that there was something off with the writing style, I just chalked it up to my inability to read books since the past few months because of this book slump I was in However, when I got deeper into the book, I realised that it was too elaborate. And believe me, I mean that in the worst way possible It was a pain to read and slowed down the pace of reading by quite a few notches Though, yes, there s absolutely nothing wrong with fancy and nicely down writing styles I mean, take Brandon Sanderson, or Sarah J Maas, or Cassandra Clare but do you sense a pattern there They re all high fantasy authors And no, this sort of writing style was not the write choice for a contemporary.Further, Maureen definitely needs to brush up her skills when it comes to teenagers Scarlett s voice was very immature and sometimes too mature for a 15 year old Just didn t come off how I m sure the author wanted it to.Johnson s also tried really hard to make it seem like all dramatic and jazzy with the whole theatre idea, and I think it might ve had worked if only it would ve had been executed properly Sadly, that was not the case.3 The character development, or lack thereof I can t even express how underdeveloped Scarlett s character was Whatever she said, always just said something about someone else Yes, I did get to know that her sister, Lola, was a perfectionist Her brother, Spencer, was charged and livelier than life, and her little sister, Marlene, was well, mean But Scarlett Nope Not a clue Not only did I not like how her siblings and every other side character had such a structured, boxed personality, I hated eventhe fact that Scarlett, our main character, didn t even have one of those She was completely devoid of any of her own opinions and lacked individualism.Also, why for the love of God are Scarlett s friends travelling the world doing community service Each one of them All these details seemed hasty on the author s part Seemed like she just wanted to show Scarlett had friend but didn t actually physically want them to be a part of the story Not only that, but Mrs Amberson. I absolutely hated her She was the eccentric, too lost in her own world, extremely rich, all too sophisticated lady There was something very wrong with her and above anything else, I just found her character plain annoying Sucks that she had the most screen time in the whole book.4 The insta love, hELP Sample this Eric s generosity, his praise of Spencer s talentthese were very endearing qualities Scarlett tried to tell herself that this was what she liked about him, and that it wasn t just his almost disturbing physical perfection.Yeah well, Scarlett thinks all this 2 hours after they just met 2 hours.Also, remind me again why a 19 year old extremely good looking actor falls for a 15 year old extremely dull girl As I m sure you can tell, I wasn t a fan of the pairing At all.Well, I guess I ll just leave it at that I can rant for hours about the problems I had with this book but that s all I can say right now without it getting too spoiler y But honestly, do yourself a favour, and don t read this book All my hopes of it being a cute broadway esque NYC set contemporary romance just left me disappointed However, if you do have to read it at all, go into it with zero expectations as compared to my sky high ones and you might like it better Kay then, that s it, bye. It s like someone updated The Westing Game for me First of all, I hope y all stopped and read both the dedication and the introduction because for me, they exemplified how authors can use those two tools to just let their freak flags fly Any author who writes the following passage On the morning of the tenth of June, Scarlett Martin woke up to the sound of loud impromptu rap penetrating her thin bedroom wall from the direction of the bathroom next door Scarlett had been trying to ignore this noise for fifteen minutes by incorporating it into her dream, but it was a difficult thing to weave the constantly repeated phrase, I got a butt butt, I got a mud hut into a dream about trying to hide a bunch of rabbits in her T shirt drawer.I am tempted to pelt with cookies Seeing how this passage very conveniently appears at the very beginning of the book, I also know to read this book only in places where snortling will not be unduly disruptive Readers, I LOVED IT Bring your hate and your disdain in comments if you need, because I am in a serious RELATIONSHIP with this book and its sequel which has a small dog in it and I plowed ahead and read it anyway instead of hiding like the wiener I usually am I loved Spencer, who, I hope, in the movie version will be played by DJ Qualls I loved how fifteen Scarlett was, and how she got mown down by her own love life and laid out smashed on the tracks of her own bad decisions I loved how New York the book was, seeing how I had just read a book for a review that was nominally set in Manhattan but had people driving around to the park and no muggers and things Whereas by contrast this book has A crowded New York subway car in the summer is a wonderful place to meet new people There is no decorum, no breathing room, and often, no deodorant You survive by keeping yourself small and taking short maintenance breaths and making them last, like divers do.I loved Mrs Amberson and how grand and chaotic she was, and how evil, because it was freeing that she could be that evil Speaking of evil, making the cancer stricken child a villain was a stroke of genius indicative of an author with balls roughly the size of the Elgin Marbles.I loved the hotel, because I suspect I am predisposed to love buildings that are breaking slowly and or have ghosts I would ve loved a littledetail on the historical plaque like things that appeared between parts of the book andof them, but I am greedy like that.I loved how many quotes I had to painstakingly copy into my journal I did think at one point that Scarlett and Spencer were maybe ahem a little too close for brother and sister but then I decided that V.C Andrews basically ruined everything for an entire generation with that sort of thinking and cast it aside Eric wasn t much to like simply because he was the goatlike teenage boy love interest, but at least he rode a unicycle so he had some distinguishing characteristic And at least Spencer punched him I love the cover of the first edition hardcover book, even though I couldn t afford that version of the book and bought the paperback with the key on instead because I had to have this book It and the sequel were able to bump two other books off the shelf at the very head of my bed with their awesomeness I loved Spencer s commentary about unicycles and bushes and Central Park I loved that he was the skinny theatre geek who got all the chicks I loved Lola s crazy understated love for Ninety Eight and how evil the other siblings were to him I m sure this book is horrible for other people and that I overlooked plot holes through which elephants could stampede, possibly with chains of acrobats riding on their backs, but for some reason I just there wasn t any part of this book where I wasn t hanging on every word and giggling like a wee fiend I just hope at some point I have a birthday and someone gives me one of the Hopewell suites. A brilliant book I found myself drawn in by the witty, intelligent Scarlett who even possessed shades of English sarcasm, a quality I love in protagonists The setting, the progressively deteriorating Hopewell Hotel in the centre of New York City was the perfect location for this funny, endearing and generally wonderful story which didn t put a damper on my lifelong dream of living in a hotel The best aspect of this story wasn t the humour or setting, however, but the fantastic characterisation, especially of the siblings Johnson perfectly depicts family dynamic and relationships in a book that you really ought to read. I would give this a 2.5, simply because the last, oh, 200 pages made me laugh from how ridiculous it was.Johnson s writing style irritated me to no end She has no sense of how to write from the voice of a 14 or 15 year old in this book I am actually annoyed I chose to read this book first, as others have said her work is great perhaps this one is not representative And, before I dig into my real issues with the story, let me start by stating it is clearly a poor decision to put someone who is clearly 19 or 20 on the cover representing Scarlett.So, where to begin Why does it take 100 pages for a plot to begin Why is it that the guest, Ms Amberson, is the one who begins the plot Who is she anyway Why is she there Sure we get some hints that unravel as the story ends, but, really, why should I care as a reader I don t care about Scarlett at all and clearly, no one else but her brother Spencer does either although she mentions having friends, I would suspect any 15 year old girl in NYC would havethan the 5 hiply named rich kids who are traipsing around the world as friends To be totally honest, the only character in the entire book to have anything interesting going on is Lola If the story were written about her, I may have enjoyed it The youngest sister, Marlene, is just a stock character serving as a problem throughout the story She s nothing but the sick kid who caused the family to go poor Boo hoo I don t care about Marlene, as she is simply an irritating member of an already irritating story, and I feel she gets that treatment throughout At least Johnson could have made herof an important character to make the whole Leukemia powerkids poorhouse creating monster gain some sort of empathy from the reader I just think she s a nuisance The book masquerades as a young adult novel, but really, it s a poor attempt to both write about something cool growing up in a hotel and about working for a demanding crazy woman ala Devil Wears Prada or any other story of that NYC based ilk while also trying to develop an absolutely absurd story about a girl who is way too in love with her older brother I m not even sure how to classify the story, nor would I be sure how to sell it to a reader It s funny because of how ludicrous it is, but that s not the goal of the story it s ludicrous because I ve read a lot and just can identify a fish when I see it Now, I could have given Johnson credit for a hilariously absurd story.IF IT BEGAN BEFORE PAGE 100 But up until page 100, we have Scarlett being madly in love with Spencer and not much else And there s no build up to absurdity It s like Johnson wrote two separate short stories and tried to string them together It wasn t seamless.Can I return to the fact I can t buy the story of Scarlett and Spencer being such good siblings There are parts I found downright incestuous Also, Eric is 18 and wants to kiss 15 year old Scarlett That s sick, too I don t care how much girls dream about dating older boys at that age, but no older boy especially aSOUTHERNboy, as is repeated throughout would want a 15 year old Eesh.Honestly, this is a book that Johnson should have rewritten entirely and centered it around bored uptown NYC housewives It would have beenrealistic and easier to find humorous or serious I m sorry to have read this story first because now I m going to be thinking of this as representative of her work I read she s creating a sequel I can t even imagine how Sometimes, I can forgive a horrible story for good writing, and sometimes I can do the reverse This one, sadly, has both against it.