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Suite Scarlett

Published by  Scholastic
May 2008

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The Hopewell Hotel

. . . is a small Art Deco “jewelbox” in New York City. The hotel has a grand past, but a somewhat dusty and broken present, with pigeons breaking into the rooms, chandeliers with more cobwebs than glass, and constantly exploding toilets. Guests are rare, but it does have one constant set of inhabitants . . . the Martin family.

The Martins

Scarlett Martin is the third of the four Martins. Scarlett is fifteen, blonde, and broke. Her friends are gone for the summer. And she’s got this one curl that exists just to stab her in the eye and blind her. Welcome to her life.

Scarlett’s closest confidant is her nineteen year-old brother Spencer. Spencer is a talented actor and an inspired physical comedian who can do any fall, take any punch, and steal any scene. He’s also very, very out of work and is facing down a family deadline to get his career in order.

Eighteen year-old Lola has the delicate looks of a model, the kind and practical nature of a nurse, and a wealthy society boyfriend named Chip (not much loved by Scarlett or Spencer). Lola has exceptional and expensive taste, which often runs in conflict with the realities of life at the Hopewell. Lola is the most committed to saving the hotel and is deeply devoted to her family—if she can just keep her own life in check.

Eleven year-old Marlene is the survivor of a terrible childhood illness . . . one of the side effects being a massive sense of entitlement. Marlene is a member of a survivor’s club called the Powerkids, and she leads the most exciting life of any of the Martins. (Marlene has switched on the lights at the Empire State Building, and you have not.) Scarlett seems to be the only one willing to talk about Marlene’s bad behavior, a fact that Marlene does not appreciate.

The Empire Suite, Hamlet, and the boy

When the Martins turn fifteen, they are each expected to take over the care of one of the Hopewell’s rooms. 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, world traveler, and aspiring autobiographer who wants to take over her life. Where Mrs. Amberson goes, things tend to happen.

When Scarlett meets Eric, an impossibly gorgeous actor, her summer takes a second unexpected turn. Eric has just moved to New York, and is a fellow cast member in a production of Hamlet that may just save Spencer’s career . . . if it ever makes it to the stage. Scarlett’s unsteady relationship with Eric may be best thing that’s ever happened to her, or it may undo the most important relationship in her life.

Before the summer is over, Scarlett will have to survive a whirlwind of thievery, Broadway glamour, romantic missteps, serious mishandling of unicycles, and theatrical deception. And every element and person in Scarlett’s life will converge in one night that will make or break them all . . .

The show, as they say, must always go on.

Swooning for Scarlett:

ALA Best Books for Young Adults 2009
New York Public Library “Stuff for the Teen Age 2009”
“You’ll never want to check out of Suite Scarlett! Maureen Johnson writes with a deft and clever hand. Her lyrical prose will leave you craving more. I can’t wait until my room at the Hopewell is ready.”
- Meg Cabot, #1 New York Times Bestselling author of The Princess Diaries and something like 200 other books, collector of cats, wearer of tiaras
“Suite Scarlett is Maureen Johnson’s best and funniest book, which is saying something, because her previous books were very good and very funny. Every character in this novel is just so vividly real; Scarlett is that rare book that really feels all the way real and true.”
- John Green, Printz Award-winning author of Looking for Alaska, co-creator of Brotherhood2.0, wearer of pants
“I know the truth: Maureen Johnson has a magical writing unicorn in her desk drawer* who crafted this delightfully witty, madcap, and thoroughly enchanting tale of love, family, weird hotels, burned food, New York City, DIY theater, and finding yourself where you least expect it. (Unless, of course, MJ is herself a magical writing unicorn, which I have long suspected.)”
- Libba Bray, Libba Bray, New York Times bestselling author of The Gemma Doyle Trilogy , lover of unicorns (*no actual unicorns were harmed in the making of this book so don’t send angry e-mails)
“I couldn’t put it down. I love the setting and the concept, I loved every one of the characters (in fact it was like a miniwar in my brain because sometimes I loved one the most and sometimes I loved the other the most). THIS BOOK IS LE SUPERFANTASTICO WITH SUPERFANTASTICO SAUCE ON THE SIDE.”
- Michelle Jaffe, author of Bad Kitty and Kitty Kitty, fancy Harvard psychologist, connoisseur of shiny things
“This is MJ as you know her from her outrageous blog. A completely wild imagination and massive doses of hilarity. I loved it!”
- E. Lockhart, author of The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks and many other books, co-author of How to Be Bad, schemer-at-large