Suite Scarlett by Maureen Johnson. (Grades 7+)
Scarlett Martin is pretty sure it's going to be a totally boring summer. All her best friends have left New York to do fun things because their families have lots of money. Scarlett is stuck in NYC working at her family's run-down hotel. But things start looking a little more interesting when a wealthy, eccentric actress moves into the hotel for the summer. And then Scarlett meets Eric, a hunky actor who's friends with her brother. Maybe this summer won't be so boring after all...
I first fell in love with Scarlett and her family. Spencer, Lola, Scarlett, and Marlene. They each have a really separate personality and they each seemed so real to me. I'm not a huge fan of the wacky family in books, but the Martins are quirky without being TOO quirky. The parents are around in the background, adding just enough supervision to make things seem real. I would love to step into this book and be a part of the Martin family. Likewise, I cared about each of the characters and I wish I could spend more time with them and get to know them more. (And I will get to do just that, apparently, because it appears that there is a sequel in the works... hooray!)
Secondly, I fell in love with the NYC setting of this novel. Maureen Johnson's descriptions are great and I felt like I was there, baking in the heat of a New York summer.
Great characters, a great setting, and a summer caper to rival all other summer capers. What else could you ask for to kick off your summer reading?
More reviews at bookshelves of doom, Miss Erin, and Little Willow (and Lisa's got some thoughts on the cover). And, of course, you'll want to check out Maureen Johnson's blog.