It's Maureen Johnson's newest book, and it is just what you would expect. If you enjoyed Girl at Sea and 13 Little Blue Envelopes, you'll love Suite Scarlett.
The Martin family runs an historic hotel in New York City, one that used to be grand but now is a bit shabby and sparsely used. For Scarlett, this means that instead of the fabulous waffle breakfast typically served on her birthday, she receives the news that the last non-family employee, the cook, has been let go and her parents have attempted to make her breakfast. And although she has also gotten a cell phone and a suite of her own to be in charge of, the lack of staff means that instead of getting a part-time job for pocket money in the fall, she will be working at the hotel and helping out with her little sister.
But the bad news isn't just for her. Her beloved brother, Spencer must find a paying acting job in three days or be forced to attend culinary school. Luckily, he finds one--granted, it is an off-off-Broadway production of Hamlet involving unicycles and slapstick and pays only cab fare--but it is a paying job nonetheless. To add to the craziness, Scarlett gets a guest in her suite, a very eccentric ex-actress with some interesting requests (white plum tea, dance tights, a book on how to write a book). Oh, and she is also falling one of the actors in the Hamlet production--one that happens to be three years older than her and Rosencrantz to Spencer's Guildenstern.
I was excited by this book and I was not disappointed. Filled with Johnson's quirky sense of humor and fabulous understanding of what it is like being a teenage girl, Suite Scarlett is a fun romp through hotel history and acting culture in New York City. The secondary characters and short articles about the hotel really make the book. I would love to see a continuation of the story, especially if Johnson would write a book for each of the other Martin siblings, fascinating in their own rights. And Mrs. Amberson nearly steals the show!