Our library has recently finished weeding our Young Adult collection which gave us all a chance to rediscover some oldies but goodies that are still available and in great shape, but sadly, less read now that they’re competing with the constant influx of new books. It was with much gnashing of teeth that we had to let a few personal favorites go—to be sold in our used bookstores—because they haven’t checked out in a long, long, loooong time. So, in an effort to keep these old favorites on our shelves, we’’ll be featuring some titles you may not know but should definitely check out. Our first “blast from the past” is Suite Scarlett from popular author, Maureen Johnson.
What is it about teens in New York? Just because they live there, they’re somehow wittier, more interesting and better looking than the rest of us? In a word, yes–at least, fictionally! Take Scarlett, for example. She and her family own and operate an Art Deco Manhattan hotel that’s seen better days. Scarlett’s summer is ruined. She’s stuck playing gofer to a rich, eccentric guest who suddenly takes an interest in her older brother’s production of Hamlet. In addition to helping keep the play alive, Scarlett is shepherding her bratty little sister to social events and trying to catch the attention of her brother’s actor friend, Eric.
But don’t feel too sorry for Scarlett. After all, her bedroom is the “Orchid Suite”; her beautiful older sister, Lola, who works at Henri Bendel’s, brings home great samples from the makeup counter, AND she even lets Scarlett wear the designer dress bought by Lola’s very wealthy boyfriend, Chip (#98 on the eligible bachelor list). For fans of big city settings, there’s a lot to like here. New York serves as a fully realized background where characters are often walking the city and seeing the sights. The strength of the book, though, is Scarlett’s relationships with her brother Spencer, her sister Lola, and even young terror Marlene whose tantrums and temper are eventually explained. Their camaraderie, shared sympathies and good-natured ribbing make them a welcome family to spend time with. For fans of these old favorites, “Confessions of a Teenage Drama Queen” or “Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist“, here’s a lighter, fluffier version of New York life that takes a juicy bite out of the Big Apple.