Suite Scarlett, Maureen Johnson

When I got home from my internship, I went to the library and basically checked out all the books Memory has read over the last year or so that sounded awesome. What can I say? The girl’s persuasive, and she’s been reading a lot of fantasy while I’ve been away, and I’ve been hungry–starved–for fantasy. I checked out Ship of Magic (which, alas, I couldn’t get into), Purple and Black (blew my mind), Jo Walton’s Farthing and Ha’Penny, and Suite Scarlett. (Okay, I guess it was not all the books Memory has read over the last year. It is just the books Memory has mentioned recently that I wanted the most.)

I…thought Suite Scarlett was going to be quite different. Or really I thought it was going to be quite like it was, but I thought it was going to have magic in it. I thought Scarlett was the third of fourth siblings whose parents own a failing hotel, and on each child’s fifteenth birthday they become primarily responsible for a particular suite in the hotel. And right after Scarlett turns fifteen, a rich crazy woman moves into her suite, the Empire Suite. And the woman turns out to be magic, and makes a big magic mess, and the four siblings (but mainly Scarlett because she is eponymous) have to clean up after her magical mess, and then in the end the magic woman would do something magical to help them.

That’s how I thought the book went. I was almost completely right. I was only wrong about there being magic.

In spite of the disparity between my expectations and reality, I still enjoyed Suite Scarlett. Yes, I wanted magic. I kept waiting for Mrs. Amberson to reveal her magical powers, but that never happened. There were times at which I felt the narration jumped the rails a little, at the beginning, before the book settled down to being properly from Scarlett’s perspective. There were times at which the plot was predictable and I knew what was going to happen.

On the other hand, I like siblings. I like my siblings, and I like siblings in books. I like it when they have their differences but all pull together in the end, because they are siblings, and blood is thicker than water. Not to spoil things for you, but that is what happens in Suite Scarlett. It distracted me from the book’s other flaws. It was sweet. (THAT WAS NOT A PUN.) I shall read more Maureen Johnson books hereafter, particularly as Amanda has said that Johnson has written other books that are better.

Other reviews:

Stella Matutina (thanks for the recommendation!)
The Zen Leaf
Care’s Online Book Club
Angieville
bookshelves of doom
GAL Novelty
Fluttering Butterflies
The Happy Nappy Bookseller
Book Nut
Teen Book Review
The Book Smugglers
Bildungsroman
YA Fabulous
Reading Rants
Shelf Elf
Abby (the) Librarian
Becky’s Book Reviews
Miss Erin
Reading Keeps You Sane
Alison’s Book Marks
Welcome to My Den
YAnnabe
Dear Author
Stop, Drop, & Read
Reviewer X
Write Meg
The Reading Zone

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