Saturday, June 5, 2010

A Spotlight Review - Scarlett Fever

Scarlett Fever by Maureen Johnson

Review by: Holes in the Brain
Rating: 8.7/10 or A-

Summary (from, part of the School Library Journal's summary):

Fifteen-year-old Scarlett Martin and her unconventional hotel-dwelling family are back. Following the success of her brother's theater troupe's staging of Hamlet at a run-down Manhattan hotel in Suite Scarlett, Scarlett continues her work with socialite talent agent Mrs. Amberson to find her brother work as an actor and to secure the agency's second client. As Scarlett and Mrs. Amberson woo Chelsea, the teenaged star of a bad Broadway musical, Scarlett attempts to get over a failed romance; reluctantly befriends Chelsea's brother; and handles family crises involving her brother's sudden semi-stardom and her sister's return to her former (and very wealthy) fame.

My Expectations: so-so, kind of in the middle type of book. I expected something similar to Suite Scarlett (which I thought was around average)

Delivery: above my expectations! I liked it more than the first, and was even more fun than I thought it would be.

Put-down-ability: LOW! I read it non-stop :) probably a 3/10

My Thoughts:

I’m not sure if this would be the right comparison, but Scarlett Fever was everything I wished Coffeehouse Angel would be. It was fun, charming, light, funny, and had an awesome protagonist and a cast of strong supporting characters.

I loved Scarlett, she is a perfect mixture between the people pleaser pushover, and the strong and witty girl. I mean, you can’t be strong and witty all the time. I enjoyed this book more than the first, and felt that the plot was interesting and the writing was laudable.

Maureen Johnson has her signature unique prose in the book, with just a fluent and funny style. I do wish it was more in a first person POV, because sometimes the third person got distracting. The writing is refreshing, and extremely enjoyable.

The plot itself was a bit all over the place, but I think it works for this book. There are just so many side plots of the Martin family that it all fuses together around Scarlett really well. From Lola and her beau, to Spencer’s evil villain job, to Marlene’s sudden behaviour change, to Ms. Amberson’s non-behavior-change (still demanding as always) it was all just so chaotic but smooth at the same time.

The way Scarlett is caught in the middle of so many things, along with dealing with boy problems of her own made the book exciting, and never boring. It could easily have felt like too much- and a couple times it did, but overall it was a great plot. I felt Scarlett’s personal character growth was well done, and I just loved seeing more of Spencer! I do wish there was more Spencer-Scarlett moments! I felt that midway through the book, Ms. Amberson kind of disappeared until the end-ish, and I was a bit confused by it; there were just a ton of other stuff going on I guess.

8.7/10 or a solid A- – Because it was just a charming read. I loved Scarlett, her family, the writing style, and Max (not Eric!). I can let the third person POV slide, although it can be distracting, but the fact that the plot was everywhere could have been tidied up a bit more. Seriously, I swear there are more that 5 side plots that basically add up to become the main plot.
This is definitely a recommended read if you enjoyed Suite Scarlett or other Maureen Johnson books, and if you’re looking for a fun read with an admirable protagonist and a crazy family! Go dysfunctional families!


  1. Very cool review! I didn't know about this author before, but I will check her out. Thanks for sharing!

  2. Great review. I've seen this book in a few places but hadn't heard much about it. Sounds good though. I love when a book is so good you just can't put it down :)

  3. Wow great review, and another new title for me. You just keep turning me on to more and ore books.

  4. I am in the middle of reading this and I agree!!!

  5. Great review. Will have to read it when i find it in a store near me.


  6. I read Suite Scarlett and have been meaning to read Scarlett Fever. I may bump it up in my reading pile now.

  7. LOL! Crazy families? that will be hilarious ;p

  8. I really liked how you do your review, with expectations and put-down ability. Fun and original! :) I also use the 1-10 system, it's more flexable than the 4 or 5 star. Great review.

  9. Excellent review! I'm reading this one and I really like it.

  10. I haven't heard of this one. I may have to check it out.

  11. Great review! I haven't heard of this book, but I like the cover.


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