Suite Scarlett by Maureen Johnson

Maureen Johnson is one of my favorite YA authors because she is riotously funny. Suite Scarlett is her latest book and is no exception. Scarlet’s family owns a hotel in New York and, on her 16th birthday, she is given the responsibility of one of the rooms, to clean it and care for whatever guests she might have (there haven’t been many lately). At the same time, she’s met the guy of her dreams and her older brother Spencer (who is the dreamiest brother ever! Trust me, you’ll be as in love with him as I am!) has gotten his big break, but needs Scarlett’s help to hide it from their parents.

Scarlett and Spencer have wonderful interactions, but the rest of Scarlett’s family is important to the novel, too. And that’s one of the reasons I love this book. They’re all characters, with individuals desires and motivations, but they all love each other and invade each other’s privacy. In other words, they’re just like a real family!

Suite Scarlett is a great book, and I know you’re just dying to read it. Fortunately, I’ve got you covered! To promote Scarlett Fever, the sequel, Maureen is giving away the ebook for Suite Scarlett until January 15th. Go get it while you can!


The Arrival by Shaun Tan

Apparently finals + being home = barely any reading and certainly no blogging.

The Arrival by Shaun Tan is a beautiful book. No words, just gorgeous illustrations. Our culture prizes words and we read all the time – signs, the front pages of magazines in line at the grocery store, etc. When we see a word, we read it automatically, without thought. In a book full of pictures, it is too easy to rush, to glean the action and miss the beauty. I continually had to force myself to reread pages, to slow down and appreciate the details. But oh, how it was worth it!

If you want a glimpse of Tan’s work, why don’t you saunter along to the Guardian, for whom he told a story about Eric, a foreign exchange student.


I’ve added a couple of books to my “favorites” list. In case you are that lazy and don’t want to click on through, here’s what I added:

19. Einstein’s Dreams by Alan Lightman – This is a beautiful little book about dreams and time and people (as a whole, not as individuals). There is a sense of fairy tale in each dreaming, where the people of this other world are strange but familiar, where life is lovely and cruel, and where the flow of time might not be a flow at all, but a waterfall or a block of ice or flames.

20. Invisible Cities by Italo Calvino – In some ways this is a similar book to Einstein’s Dreams, but where Lightman explores time, Calvino explores landscape. Both books take my breath away with the beauty of their prose and the depth of their imagination. They both make me wish our world was a little less uniform, with more pockets of utterly delightful weirdness.