Suite Scarlett

Book review by
Kate Pavao, Common Sense Media
Suite Scarlett Book Poster Image
Living in a hotel can be so complicated. Just OK.

Parents say

age 11+
Based on 1 review

Kids say

age 13+
Based on 5 reviews

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this book.

Positive Messages

Scarlett helps Mrs. Amberson play a mean prank on a rival. She also lies to her parents, secretly staging her brother's play in the hotel dining room.


Spencer, Scarlett's brother, punches the guy she likes.


Scarlett shares some steamy kisses with an older boy in the play.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Mrs. Amberson smokes, and she provides alcohol to the cast and to the theatergoers, even telling Scarlett she can drink a little.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that there isn't much to worry about in this book. Fifteen-year-old Scarlett shares some smooches with a cute college freshman and her brother makes some references to his past wild sexual behavior (and flirts with one of the hotel's much older guests). Mrs. Amberson smokes and tells Scarlett it's OK for her to drink a little at a cast party. Also, Scarlett helps her boss pull a mean prank on a rival, and they do hide from her parents the fact that they are staging the play in the hotel.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written bySuper reader Mom January 3, 2010

Cute book, witty characters

This is a fun read for girls. The main character learns several lessons while growing up in a family that owns and runs a boutique hotel. Scarlett's summ... Continue reading
Kid, 12 years old February 16, 2013

Suite Scarlett....My Favorite Book :)

I think it is great book but for only appropiate ages 12 and up.Its really auh- mazing book I've ever read from Scarlett's point of view in a hotel.
Teen, 15 years old Written bysunnysideup7685 October 10, 2011

Not as the review said

I was really disappointed in this book. Also in the common sense review. The book was not as squeaky clean as the review said it was. Yes, there is smoking by t... Continue reading

What's the story?

Scarlett lives with her quirky family in a formerly fantastic Art Deco hotel in Manhattan that is now falling apart. She becomes the assistant to one of the hotel's only guests, a rich, eccentric woman who on a whim decides to finance a production of Hamlet, in which Scarlett's brother plays a part. Scarlett's summer in the city just got a lot more interesting, but can she handle a crazy boss, a new romance with a handsome cast member -- and some serious family drama? Everything really spins out of control when she secretly helps to stage the play in the hotel's dining room.

Is it any good?

Readers will adore the setting -- a dilapidated hotel that was once an Art Deco jewel (the author includes its glamorous history throughout through fictionalized accounts). And they will appreciate Scarlett's wacky family, especially her charming older brother Spencer, who has a special talent for physical comedy. Really, a little more Scarlett -- and her family -- and a little less quirky Mrs. Amberson, and this would have been a much better book.

In Johnson's Girl at Sea she managed to pull off a complicated plot that included a Mediterranean adventure, an onboard romance, a strained father-daughter relationship -- and some far-flung antics. Here, Johnson's complicated combinations don't work so well. Between Scarlett's far-out family; their falling-apart hotel; Mrs. Amberson, an eccentric guest who stirs up trouble wherever she goes; her brother's role in a low-budget production of Hamlet, which is constantly on the verge of collapse; her relationship with his cute co-star; her little sister's recovery from cancer; her older sister's on again, off again relationship with a dull rich guy; and a really silly revenge plot between rich Mrs. Amberson and a former friend she now considers a rival, readers will find it easy to forget that this is Scarlett's story -- and wonder in the end how she has really changed. And the main character's transformation is what the young adult genre is all about.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about other books and movies that feature big quirky families. Why do we find this so appealing? What sort of clichés do writers fall into when creating these families (Think: The good sister, the wild brother, etc)?

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