Suite Scarlett

I’ve been meaning to blog about Maureen Johnson’s new book, Suite Scarlett, which came out last week.

The book is set in a Manhattan hotel owned by a somewhat dysfunctional family. The hotel’s glory days are long over, so all the kids have to work there—including Scarlett, the 15-year-old protagonist.

The funny begins to roll when a wealthy (and strange) guest checks in for the whole summer and decides to make Scarlett her personal assistant. Then she decides to put on an off-Broadway show.

Now, those of you who’ve read Maureen will know that she is the master of many flavors of comedy. She can do dry-witted, surreal, and screwball in the same paragraph. Like this scene in which the wealthy guest, Mrs. Anderson, joins the family for dinner:

“I’m not late, am I?” Mrs. Amberson said with a smile. “I lose track of time when I’m meditating.”

Her face was tautly stretched into a smile that didn’t seem entirely sane to Scarlett. It wobbled just a bit at the corners. Also, she was carrying what appeared to be a dead ferret in her fist.

“No,” Scarlett’s dad said, obviously trying not to look at the dead animal. “Right on time. Please, sit down.”

The addition of Mrs. Amberson and her dead ferret to the mix was not something Scarlett had anticipated. She sat down quickly to steady herself, and Mrs. Amberson planted herself right next to her, slinging the ferret around the back of her neck in a swoop that grazed Scarlett’s ear.

“I hope you don’t mind this,” she said, flicking the thing with her finger. “It’s a vintage piece I converted into a bead cushion imbued with essential revitalizing oils. I call him Charlie.

So the ferret had a name. Even better.

That last line captures Scarlett’s dry fatalism perfectly. Life is just so weird. And the cool thing is, it turns out that Maureen’s life is weird too, as you can see in this post on John Scalzi’s blog. (Scalzi has been all about YA for several days now.)

You can order Suite Scarlett now on Amazon/Borders, Barnes and Noble, Powell’s, or from any local bookseller. And check out this amazing contest on Maureen’s blog. Win a trip to Manhattan, a stay in a fancy New York hotel, and lunch with Maureen . . . even better.

106 thoughts on “Suite Scarlett

  1. hey peepsis. I just finished the last Midnighters book.
    Was confused about the whole Jessica lightning thing but i figured it out by the end. Scott-la a fourth midnighters is a MUST- you left us hanging!!!
    Still need to read the other Scott-la books, already read Uglies series (twice each, actually) and finished the Midnighters series. That series REALLY come in handy when you can turn in the SAT Vocabulary words you find to your Language Arts teacher and get bonus points. I think I’ve got an easy A from JUST the words I’ve found this 9 wks.
    I still have to go to school until May 30, minus two days off we get and next monday bc i’ll be in Atlanta, GA for a 7th Grade field trip.

    I sprained y stupid ankle. I was jumping on my next-door-neighbor’s trampoline with my sister, and we were playing the add-on game. You know, the one where you do one thing, then the next preson does that and adds something, and so on….
    Well my sister wasn’t jumping, she was standing to the side and when i came down from a simple jump i landed on the outside of my left foot. I heard a snap *shivers* bleh. I’ve still got my no-broken-bones record, and expect to keep it that way!! I spent THREE HOURS in the ER waiting, getting my blood pressure and stuff, then waiting, then taken to another room to be asked some…interesting….questions. They asked me-
    Doc- Do you smoke?
    Me- no.
    Doc- Do you drink?
    Me- No.
    Doc- Do you do any drugs?
    Me- No.
    Doc- What about caffine?
    Me- uh, sodas?
    hehe…. then i waited some more. then they took me to a hospital room where i waited some more. then i got xrays and waited some more. then i got crutches and my ankle wrapped and went home. it was like 11:30 until I got home and I had hurt my ankle about 8:15. We went to a First Alert kind of place but they were closed -.- stupid doctor office. lol.
    I didn’t go to school tuesday and went with crutches yesterday which didn’t go well. I’m not going to school for a while today bc my arms and legs hurt so much I cant use my crutches. I can kinda sorta limp around but i ddn’t want to do that all day because if i damage my foot any more i might have to use crutches for my trip to atlanta. Which would stink.

  3. ohmygosh—scott-sama actually commented?? wow. i’ve only seen that like once or twice.
    CONGRATS T&Z!!! that’s so bubbly!!!
    hope ur sprained ankle feels better, emily-wa!!

  4. o ya on the sprained ankle thing:
    my little brother sprained his ankle and so he was at school and he like hobbled past my older sis’ math class on his crutches, and my older sis’ teacher yelled ‘hurry up!’ to my little brother. my older sis’ said ‘that was my brother!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!’ and so her teacher like chased my little brother down the hall and apologized to him. t’was funny to hear bout.
    the same teacher has a sign that says ‘4/3 of the people in the world can’t do fractions’
    another statement like that is ‘there r three kinds of people in this world—ones who can count and ones who can’t’.
    has neone read hte disreputable history of frankie landau-banks??? very good book if u haven’t

  5. I feel pathetic: I once sprained my ankle from falling down 1 stair into my carpeted living room….

    It actually when you think about it is pretty funny, especially since it was like really close to being fractured and the doctors were all asking “What happened?”
    and I’m all like

    “I fell down a stair….”

    It was almost as bad when I tripped over nothing and fractured my knee-cap

    I think I’m cursed to forever have dumb semi-serious injuries….

  6. oh btw UMR-la, it’s Inkheart first, then Inkspell…

  7. ooo that stinks Emily-wa! i hope it gets better fast!

    math was funny today. one kid asked my teacher “what was the worst thing that has ever happened in your class?” and then the teacher was like “there was a fight once that i had to break up.” and another kid said “wasn’t that while you were pregnant?” and the teacher says “yep” and then he’s like “yeah, i did that.” lol. and everyone burst out laughing because it sounded like he was telling the class that he got her pregnant and what he really meant was that he caused the fight. lol. he turned bright red. it was great.

  8. Emily-wa: hope you get better B4 atlanta!!! to you live in georgia? thatd be so cool to go there for a field trip. over in washington we just go the the zoo and the community colleges. *snore*. speeking of which, i have to go to this one community college field trip tomorrow for the second time. went once in 5th grade. *snores again*. by the way, you shood TOTALLY joing the CHASING MIDNIGHT WEREWOLVES club. im Co-Prez! just click my name to get to the site and ask to join! we talk it up over there! its a site devoted to getting Scott-la to rite a fourth Midnighters! *hint hint*.

    UMR-la: i no rite?! thats the third time ive seen him comment, and ive been here since august!!!

    Tara-la: hehe. i like that. “i fell down “a” stair”. hehe. love it.

    Kay-wa: *hysterical laughter*. last week this cellist and bassist that are married came to my orchestra class to play. they were amazing! but then we asked questions about them…hehe. one guy asked “how long have you guys been playing with each other?” hehe. all casual like. then he realized the hidden meaning. it was HIGHlarious! hehe. high. hehe. larious. hehe. im funny.

    -Lizzy-wa OUT! :mrgreen:

  9. Hahaha funny stories. Well ii have great news! My math teacher is retiring!!! Whoop-Whoop! Ok, so i dont have her next year but she sucked! I had her for 6th and 7th (this year) grade. I’m so glad shes leaving….

    Poor little ankle. The only thing i have ever broken was a toe. Weird i no. i mean…its a toe!

    Ew. I just, like, spit on computer screen! I hate it when that happens. although the water makes it all rainbow! Whoop-ee

    OMG!! The first day that im not stressing out!!! Thank the Lord for that! I couldnt have survived another day.

  10. haha!!!! lol! that’s great Lizzy-wa!! i love when people say stuff like that! one week it happened like 5 or 6 times in my spanish class. it was soo very funny but at the same time soo incredibly dirty. lol.

    Bran-la – i’m o so glad things are better for you!! i went through like 2 weeks of major stress in March. (from trying to get caught up on all the school work i had missed in my week of influenza.) …not fun stuff. so did you get a chance to read Ambition yet?

  11. Yeah Guy Variety…ARE YOU MOCKING ME?! Cuz if you are, then props to you, Lizzy-wa cuz I’d so mock myself if I had the chance.
    Hmmm…..*trying to think of ways to mock self*

  12. Emily-wa, sorry about your ankle. I hate emergency rooms. They’re just giant waiting rooms where they excuse themselves for their slowness with the word “triage” at first, then they try to make you think they’re actually doing something.
    Dumb injuries? Plenty here. I once broke my toe when I tripped over a pencil. Yeah, I felt pretty stupid (after I stopped screaming in pain). I get injured… um… a lot? Let’s just say that between me and my friend (whose name I shall abbreviate as MA), it’s a miracle if neither of us is in a splint/a cast/extreme pain. Wish us luck on our three-week streak so far! And the funny thing is… we’re both dancers. Good dancers. How’d we get so clumsy?
    People who are reading The Host by Stephenie Meyer: What’s it about? I saw it at my bookstore, but was too broke to even look at it. I’m requesting it now from the library, but I want to know if it’s any good.

  13. It’s bout souls that invade people’s bodies and take over the human race even though the souls are like a weenie totally non-strong race they takes us over by sheer number and unity.

  14. hehe. speaking of spanish class Kay-wa, when my dad was in highscool, he took spanish. and his teacher didnt no the spanish name for Mel (aka: his name) so he had to go around the first day of spanish telling everybody his name was Jim. hehe. JIM?!?!?!?

    -Lizzy-wa OUT! πŸ˜›

  15. lol! that’s funny! me llamo Carmen. (My name is Carmen.) in espanol. it wasn’t a direct translation though. i just picked it from a list. πŸ˜€

    yeah i liked most of it. but then at the end it was just sad. like good but sad. not like cry sad but like disappointing sad. like make you wanna read more to feel better about it sad. lol. okay well, that didn’t make much sense, so i’ll just let you wait and find out for yourself.

  16. I would have named it Fred.
    Computer is just now working again
    my mom had triplets the same EXACT time my smom(step mom) was having twins
    one of the twins is older than 2 triplets but the other is younger
    Yeah, that probably made no sense.

  17. I’ve been wanting to read Maureen Johnson for a long time, but my bookstore only has like 2 books (The Bermudez Triangle, which my mom would rather I not read, and 13 Little Blue Envelopes) and I really wanna read Devilish since it sounds wicked funny.

  18. that’s fool Bran-la. you should read the rest tonight so we can talk about all the stuff in the ending.

    so today spanish was funny again. mildly inappropriate so if you get offended by somewhat dirty stuff you should stop reading now. okay so this one kid was like “don’t slap my butt” and the teacher over hears and she is like “uhh… there will be no ball touching.” she misheard him. and the whole classes is laughing and everyoneÒ€ℒs like “he said butt not balls!” and the teachers like “butt, balls, butt, balls! same difference!” lol. gosh it was hilarious!! told you spanish was a dirty but incredibly humorous class. and then after that my teacher played the “I got it from my mama” song i don’t know if that’s the right title but those are the main lyrics, because she had to practice for the pep rally which she was dancing in. so we were like giving her all these pointers and tips. and we showed her how to break dance. funny stuff. so then we were dismissed from classes at 1:30 to go to the pep rally and most of it was boring, but they did like karaoke revolution and they had teachers sing and 2 guys volunteered to sing “You make me feel(like a natural women)” it was great! then they had dancing with the teachers – which is why my spanish teacher was practicing her dance for our class. and my softball coach was one of the dancers and he was dressed all gangster and sagging, which is like his polar-opposite. it was some funny stuff.

    my hot tube came in today!! πŸ˜€

  19. RAWR i just got in a big fight with my dad -_-
    and so now i need my brother but hes being a little noob and is still sleeping!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! rawr

  20. OMG!!!!!! today i signed up for my classes at the high school, and the person talked about the book flatland!!!!! when he said that i was thinking, “where have i heard that before? MIDNIGHTERS!!!!!” so yeah, i thought that was pretty cool.


    ***Private Series Spoilers (dont ruin it for urself!)***
    I cant believe they all found out about her and dash! I cant believe Noelle and her little scams. I cant believe Josh and IVY! I dont get Ivy…she scares the crap out of me and she has major mental issues. This is what i hope happens next……Ivy gets busted; josh finds out shes a total killer idiot she is and it will remind him of what happened to Thomas and he will hate her. Then he will realize that he is madly in love with reed. Then reed will become popular for no apparent reason and all the billings girls will be envious cause shes not in billings and shes popular and they aren’t ans they are in billings. SO HA! I cant believe they just betrayed her. And…Im glad Cheyenne is dead. Weirdo.

  22. CRAP CRAP CRAP! When i wrote that comment i iched my eye and my contact came out so i went to go put it back in. Yeah well i dropped in the most cluttered place in my whole freakin’ house so now i have an eye i can see out of and an eye were i can barley see.

    Its gonna have to do until i feel like getting up off my butt. God this feels weird.

  23. I knew id find it….it just took digging through things and getting some dirt on my hand. Dont ask why there was dirt. I dont no.

  24. im gonna get a flash tattoo! yay! on my face but its goin to be henna cuz i to young to gte a real tattoo by law but still its gonna be so kool!

  25. hey did you know the host came out myers new book and the tralir for twilight is so awesome It made me want to see the movie I don’t want to watch the movie because Robert pattioson sucks as Edward

  26. haha comment 91 that is 13 times 7! wonder if thats lucky or not….hmm

    Its mothers day? weird i thought that was ages ago..ill have to check the calender…

    no! mothers day was on the 2nd of march!

    oh well…its still a good book no matter what day it is

  27. ——PRIVATE SPOILERS. only read if you’ve read the series——
    Bran-la! ahh! i know! i hate Ivy too! she has so many deep deep issues. and she’s probably gonna come after Noelle now. cuz like in the end, if i remember right, she was like i would do anything to see Billings come down. and all that so it’s gonna get even more interesting. ……’d be so fawesome though if your prediction was right. i just want Reed and Josh back together already. she needs him. and once Ivy gets busted he’ll need her too. so maybe he’ll be able to forgive her. so did you like it?

    ughh.. i’m sooo tired. i had my birthday party last night. it was so much fun we went to What happens in Vegas (good movie) and then we went to this big park that has like so many great hidding places and we played capture the flag with like a ton of other people. and then came back to my house and ate cake and ice cream and then went in my hot tube. and hung out and stayed up till like 4 so i’m o so super tired. and i have like tons of homework to do today. and it’s mothers day. and i didn’t get my mommy anything. πŸ™ and so yeah. i feel like i should be spending time with her but i have to do 2 finals today. my band final where i have to play tons of crappy scales, and record them with the recorder that i don’t exactly know how to work. and then i have my journalism portfolio where i have to research all this info on careers and find examples of great acts of journalism and make a poster of a day in the life of……my friend. and i didn’t get that great of pictures so it’s gonna stink. ughh… it is all wayyy too much. plus math homework.. that i don’t exactly understand. and history notes. ughh… one more full week of torture. then 3 days and it’s summer.

  28. lol. more than the rest of them? i liked this one a lot but it still wasn’t my fave….i think my fave was probably Confessions, because of the intensity at the end. i don’t know though. this summer i’ll re-read them a few times and then i’ll decide. which ones your favorite?

  29. O Gosh its hard to decide. But i wouldd say its either… Private or confessions. I have no clue. I just cant wait till revelation.

  30. ooo i know same here! Revelation is gonna be amazing!

    Lizzy-wa go read them! then you can talk about how good they are with us! πŸ˜€

    me is playing my band final. and don’t knows some of these high high notes. so i’se gonna go look em’ up on google. yay google!

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