Suite Scarlett (by Maureen Johnson)

5 10 2010

New York, New York. So good they named it twice. When you’re 15, you have the summer off and you live in New York City, your life is destined for some Broadway theatricals!Suite Scarlett

Scarlett turns 15, and with that comes great responsibility in the Martin family. She is left in charge of one of the suites in the 1920s family-run Art Deco hotel, the Hopewell. This is not just another original birthday present. In the Martin family, it’s a way of keeping the hotel  – which has seen better days – up and running.  The Martins have been struggling to keep their heads above water, ever since their youngest daughter, a brat called Marlene, survived cancer.  Along comes Amy Amberson, an old Broadway starlet who will turn the hotel and the lives of the Martin family members upside down.

Suite Scarlett is really a family tale. We encounter a family of siblings who’ve drifted apart since Marlene’s illness and we see them come together again. We meet a group of actors (Spencer (funny protective older brother), Eric (the would be boyfriend), but also Scarlett herself) who would do anything to get their show (a 1920s silent movie adaptation of Hamlet) off the ground. Despite the unusual premise (isn’t everyone rich who is able to afford to live in a hotel in New York) the story still has a fair deal of realism and authenticity. Central to the story is basically a young girl, Scarlett, who faces all the dilemmas a teenager has to face as she is ready to start the life of dating (and with it the insecurities, the drama, the lies, etc.). Scarlett is clearly off to start (young) adulthood and take responsibility in the family household.

No wonder the books almost screams: SEQUEL!

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