Parents' Guide to

Suite Scarlett

By Kate Pavao, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 13+

Living in a hotel can be so complicated. Just OK.

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A Lot or a Little?

What you will—and won't—find in this book.

Community Reviews

age 11+

Based on 1 parent review

age 11+

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 summer gets interesting when an quirky guest comes to stay. I was happy to see the strong family bond between the main character and her siblings. I wished the smoking references weren't in the book so much. However, for parents, it is the older woman who is the smoker in the book, not the teenage characters.

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say (1):
Kids say (5):

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.

Book Details

  • Author: Maureen Johnson
  • Genre: Coming of Age
  • Book type: Fiction
  • Publisher: Point
  • Publication date: May 1, 2008
  • Publisher's recommended age(s): 12 - 12
  • Number of pages: 368
  • Last updated: July 12, 2017

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