Maureen Johnson Biography & Facts
Maureen Johnson (born February 16, 1973) is an American author of young adult fiction. Her published novels include series leading titles such as 13 Little Blue Envelopes, The Name of the Star, Truly Devious, and Suite Scarlett. Among Johnson's works are collaborative efforts such as Let It Snow, a holiday romance novel of interwoven stories co-written with John Green and Lauren Myracle, and a series of novellas found in New York Times bestselling anthologies The Bane Chronicles, Tales from the Shadowhunter Academy, and Ghosts of the Shadow Market.
Early life and education
Johnson was born in Philadelphia and attended an all-girl Catholic preparatory high school. She graduated from the University of Delaware in 1995 with a degree in English. Johnson later worked variously as literary manager of a Philadelphia theater company, a waitress in a theme restaurant, a secretary, a bartender in Piccadilly, and an occasional performer in New York City. She studied both writing and theatrical dramaturgy at Columbia University, where she received her MFA in Writing.
Johnson's debut novel The Key to the Golden Firebird was published in May 2004 by HarperTeen. Centered around themes of grief and resilience and set in the suburbs of Philadelphia a year after his passing, the novel depicts three sisters of different age as they individually process and come to understand their father's death, and their paths ahead. The Key to the Golden Firebird entered the market during a resurgence of popular interest in the young adult fiction genre. In 2005, it received starred reviews from both School Library Journal and Booklist.
Johnson's second published novel, The Bermudez Triangle (later reissued as On the Count of Three in 2013), was released in October 2004. Following three high school seniors who have been best friends since childhood— Nina, Avery, and Melanie— two of whom have been dating secretly since the summer, The Bermudez Triangle explores the complexity of relationships and self-identity, from the changing nature of bonds, to the experiences of both platonic love and attraction, and the gifts and difficulties of first romances. It was selected as a Winter 2004 Book Sense Pick, as well as listed for New York Public Library's “Books for the Teen Age 2006”, and the American Library Association’s Popular Paperbacks for Young Adults, LGBTQ list.
In August 2005, 13 Little Blue Envelopes was published by HarperTeen. A series, the story follows seventeen-year-old Virginia (Ginny) Blackstone, as she embarks on a journey throughout Europe by following a series of instructions left to her within letters from her beloved, self-proclaimed "Runaway Aunt" Peg, upon notice of her passing. While written in the style of contemporary realistic fiction that much of her earlier work is known for, Johnson herself has said she considers Ginny's adventure to be "a little bit of a fairy tale," and has cited the song "Charmed Life" by Irish artist Neil Hannon of The Divine Comedy for its likeness to the spirit with which the novel was written. The second novel, The Last Little Blue Envelope, was later published in April 2011.Devilish, Johnson's fourth novel, was published in September 2006. Set in a preparatory school in Rhode Island where "barbed wire keeps the boys out and the ancient nuns keep the girls in," Devilish follows the travails of two senior students, Jane and Allison (Ally), as they experience seemingly supernatural upheavals within their friendship and school year, culminating in what appears to be a battle for Ally's soul. Marking Johnson's first full departure from contemporary realistic fiction, Devilish was shortlisted in 2007 for the Andre Norton Award, which celebrates excellence in YA science fiction and fantasy novel writing.In May 2007, Girl at Sea was published by HarperTeen. The novel follows seventeen-year-old Clio Ford's attempts to make the best of being suddenly cast away from her home for the summer in pursuit of a mysterious treasure abroad. Set primarily aboard a pre-owned yacht somewhere amidst the Mediterranean at the behest of her father, it explores Clio's perspective as she struggles with first romantic infatuations, dives at sea among shipwrecks, and navigates a series of new relationships and situations.
Johnson's sixth novel and the beginning of her second series, Suite Scarlett, was published in May 2008. It explores the life of newly fifteen-year-old Scarlett Martin, whose family resides within and personally run the Hopewell hotel. Described as a small “jewel box of a hotel” built at the height of Art Deco style in the heart of Manhattan's Upper East Side, the Hopewell is a local institution in need of both repairs and guests. Scarlett explores family dynamics, coming of age, and some the strange opportunities of New York City for those who find themselves working in and adjacent to the performing arts. Upon her fifteenth birthday, as per Martin family tradition, Scarlett is handed the keys to one of their home's suites, as well as the responsibility of maintaining it and seeing after its guests. Scarlett's struggles to meet the eccentric demands of the Empire Suite's first and apparently now permanent tenant, Mrs. Amberson, become the basis of much of the experiences of her formative years. Suite Scarlett was selected by the American Library Association for their list Best Books for Young Adults 2009, and received a starred review by Booklist.
In May 2009, Johnson contributed her story "The Law of Suspects" to Vacations from Hell, a collection of supernatural tales on the topic of vacations gone awry, along with fellow authors Libba Bray, Cassandra Clare, Claudia Gray, and Sarah Mlynowski.
On November 27, 2009, Johnson first became a New York Times bestselling author when Let It Snow: Three Holiday Romances (October 2008, Speak) reached number ten on the Children's Paperback list. A holiday romance novel of interwoven stories co-written with John Green and Lauren Myracle, Let It Snow begins with Johnson's "The Jubilee Express". The book is currently under adaption to film, with distribution by Netflix set for a November 2019 release.
Also in 2009, Johnson worked as a scriptwriter for EA Games, helping develop the Nintendo DS and PSP versions of the Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince video game.In February 2010, Johnson's eighth book and the second title in the Scarlett series, Scarlett Fever, was published. According to Johnson later in June 2014, a third entry in the Scarlett series was well underway, but no further news has been publicly available since then. At the time of her statement, both titles were receiving their first publication within the U.K. by Hot Key Books, an imprint of Bonnier Group.
In September 2010, Johnson contributed her story "The Children of the Revolution" to Zombies vs. Unicorns, edited by Holly Black and Justine Larbalestier. Each of the twelve stories featured in Zombies vs. Unicorns aim to m.... Discover the Maureen Johnson popular books. Find the top 100 most popular Maureen Johnson books.