I just finished reading the latest book by one of my favourite authors, Maureen Johnson, who is also the author of 13 Little Blue Envelopes.
You would think that when your parents own an historic hotel in the heart of New York city, life would be sweet and carefree. For Scarlett Martin, nothing seems farther from the truth. The family business is teetering on the edge of financial disaster, and she is facing a long, depressing summer working at the hotel with her quirky family. Her older brother, Spencer, is an out-of-work actor who has been given a week to find an acting gig or their parents will send him to cooking school. Her sister, Lola, is juggling a job and a high-society boyfriend, and managing Marlene, their younger sister who determined to be difficult and not let anyone forget her tragic past.
On Scarlett’s fifteenth birthday, as per family tradition, she is given the responsibility of cleaning and taking care of the Empire Suite. She is also taken under the wing of their new guest, Mrs. Amberson, a former Broadway starlet, aspiring writer, and busybody who is determined to take over her life. Suddenly Scarlett’s summer starts to get a lot more interesting, once she factors in a play to save, an evesdropping little sister, a demanding client, and a romance with Eric, one of Spencer’s actor friends.
I know this sounds a bit odd, but one of my favourite parts of the book was the acknowledgements at the beginning of the book. Maureen Johnson thanks an incredible group of friends who supported her while she was writing – David Levithan, John Green, E. Lockhart, Scott Westerfeld, Justine Larbalestier, Libba Bray, Holly Black, and Cassandra Clare. It is so inspiring to think of this group of A-list teen authors working, laughing, and writing together!