Scarlett Martin lives in New York in a hotel called the Hopewell, which is run by her parents. The hotel is limping along. It’s the summer of her fifteenth birthday, which, in the Martin family means that she will inherit a room to her care. At first, the arrangement seems fine. The hotel barely ever has any guests. What could possibly happen?
Just as Scarlett is resigned to reading e-mails about all her friends’ fascinating adventures on their summer vacations outside of New York City. A guest takes up her room. That guest is Mrs. Ambrose. She seems to know a lot about Broadway, the city of New York (as it was decades before,) and she’s also a tad on the crazy side. No sooner than putting her bags down, Mrs. Ambrose has Scarlett involved in tuna theft, assisting in a Hamlet production involving unicycles, and being set up to be alone with a boy who caught her eye ever since her brother Spencer brought him to the Hopewell.
Taken at its parts: a romance in New York City, the comedy, the Shakespearean play, and the crazy “mentor” (although that’s a stretch of the word;) this book might not be tolerable. Thankfully, in the hands of Johnson, this book is funny and charming. Characters, particularly Scarlett and her voice, are fresh, honest, and believable.
Definitely worth the roughly $17.00 on amazon. Highly recommended at 4/5 stars.
Little bit of context:
I’m reviewing this book because I follow Maureen Johnson on twitter. (Also I just wrote an article on how to write reviews.) I think I started following her when she posted a blog entry on 9/11. The prose surprised me as both sad and funny. I think she is one of those rare authors who write for more than their genre suggests. I can attest to this since I’m not a female teenager that the book seems advertised towards. Also, were my daughter old enough, I’d recommend she read books like this. Although that might make the book “uncool” in her eyes.