Maureen Johnson never fails to amuse. This is the third book of hers that I’ve read, and I enjoyed it just as much as the other two I’ve picked up.
On Scarlett’s fifteenth birthday, she’s given a hotel room to look after. This might be considered bizarre for any other family, but Scarlett’s family owns a hotel (a not-very-popular, slightly rundown hotel, but it was built over 75 years ago, and is very Art Deco, so it’s automatically cool.). Along with the hotel room for her birthday, Scarlett acquires an extremely eccentric guest – Mrs. Amberson is an old B actress who is trying to rediscover New York, and taking Scarlett for a ride while at it. Scarlett’s older brother is a struggling actor, and soon Mrs. Amberson and her newly-employed-personal-assistant Scarlett, are as involved with the play as possible – trying to help Spencer break it through to the big time, while still trying to keep the hotel running.
This was a highly enjoyable book. In fact, it may have been almost everything that I think makes a good book rolled into 353 pages. It was funny; it had interesting, realistic characters; it gave me the ability to transport myself to an old hotel in New York. For all intents and purposes, it was fabulous.
One of the things that I like most about Johnson’s books that I’ve read is that, unlike other popular non-fantasy YA books, Johnson’s characters don’t need to “get the guy” in order to be happy. It’s more about family, friends and self-realization. I would even say that this alone makes Johnson not chick lit, as some people claim she is… but then that could just be my aversion to most chick lit. ;)
I loved this book, and it’s reminded me that I really need to go back and read more of Johnson’s older books.