September 10, 2012

Guest Review: Suite Scarlett by Maureen Johnson

I'm glad to be featuring a review from Kristilyn, whose blog is called Reading In Winter. I haven't done this before, so when she asked if anyone wanted to feature a guest review on their blog, I was elated! And since it's my birthday, I thought I should do something special/different!

AUDIOBOOK REVIEW: Suite Scarlett (Suite Scarlett, #1), by Maureen Johnson

Released: February 20, 2009 (Brilliance Audio)
Source: Borrowed

Genre: YA Humour / Romance

Audiobook Notes:
Narrator: Jeannie Stith
Length: 9 hours

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 traveler.

And 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.

My Thoughts

I have to admit that when Maureen Johnson’s amazing novel, The Name of the Star, was released I thought it was her first novel. Little did I know that she had a huge amount of books already out there, one of them being the very cute novel, Suite Scarlett, the story about Scarlett Martin, a girl who grew up in a hotel with her family in New York City.

From start to finish, this was a novel I was in love with. I can say for certain now that I am absolutely smitten with Maureen’s way of writing. She’s just so funny and so honest. So many times while listening to this, I caught myself smiling or laughing. There’s a certain amount of snark I can tolerate and Maureen Johnson hits my levels just perfectly.

The characters in this novel were one thing that cemented my love of this book. Scarlett is such a great person. I loved her upbringing in the Hopewell – what kind of person doesn’t think of what it would be like to be raised in a hotel, with all of the space and all of the secrets, seeing all of the guests coming and going. It would be fascinated. But to Scarlett, it’s just another upbringing – it’s what she’s used to. Her family was an adorable cast of characters – especially her brother Spencer, who was just laugh-out-loud funny at times.

Though, when I talk about characters, there’s no way I could leave out my favourite one of them all, Mrs. Amberson. I’m not sure if I would have fallen so much in love with her had it not been for the audiobook. The narrator seemed to have a permanent air of over-the-top-ness about her and a permanent smile on her face when reading her character. I couldn’t get over how insane her character was. I loved her inclusion in the novel because she kept the whole story going and provided great comic relief when needed.

Another thing that really made this story was the relationships between the siblings – there was major love, as well as the major annoyances that come with having a sibling. One of these relationships is between Scarlett and her sister, Marlene – I know that some people might complain about Scarlett’s annoyance towards her sister, saying, “Oh, but she has cancer!” But they’re still siblings – I thought that Maureen wrote these characters perfectly.

As a reader, I also realized that the impressions I got from these characters were bound to change as the story went on. While I may have thought that a character was being annoying for acting one way, or maybe acting strange in one scene, it’s all explained as the story goes on. This is a story where your first impression of a character may lead to a lasting impression that is completely opposite.

The story is quite a fun journey and I really enjoyed seeing the characters develop as I listened. I also love how the story ended, leaving it open to more adventures with Scarlett.

I have found a favourite author with Maureen Johnson and I really can’t wait to continue on with this series – hopefully in audio format. It was a fun ride and made the time fly by. This audiobook would be a perfect listen for a car trip, or the like. It’s light and refreshing.

About the Author

Maureen knew from an early age she wanted to be a writer. She went to high school at an all-girls' Catholic school and graduated from University of Delaware with a degree in writing. She now lives and writes in New York City.

Many of the adventures Maureen's characters face in her books are based on real-life stories. Maureen has traveled all over Europe, and is a Secret Sister to vlog brothers Hank and John Green. (from Goodreads)

Copyright Ó 2012, Reading In Winter. All rights reserved. 


  1. Thanks for sharing my review, Leanne! :)



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