13 Little Blue Envelopes by Maureen Johnson
Reading Level: Young Adult
Paperback: 319 pages
Publisher: Harper Teen
Release Date: 26 September 2006
Source: Borrowed from my Seestar
Buy the book: Amazon
When Ginny receives thirteen little blue envelopes and instructions to buy a plane ticket to London, she knows something exciting is going to happen. What Ginny doesn't know is that she will have the adventure of her life and it will change her in more ways than one. Life and love are waiting for her across the Atlantic, and the thirteen little blue envelopes are the key to finding them in this funny, romantic, heartbreaking novel. (Goodreads)
What a nice little novel! I first picked up 13 Little Blue Envelopes because I was in the mood to read something light, fluffy and fun. What I found was so much more than I had anticipated. Basically the premise of this novel is Ginny's Aunt Peg has passed away. After her death, Ginny receives a package from her Aunt containing thirteen envelopes. In each envelope is instructions for a task Ginny needs to complete.
I thought the author did a good job of writing about a shy girl who tries desperately to take full advantage of the adventure she's been handed. I know I wouldn't be able to do it all by myself! I liked Ginny, though sometimes I didn't have a clue what she could possibly be thinking. I was surprised by some of her actions, as I thought she was a lot smarter than she acted at times. She was a little too trusting of the people she met, which is either incredibly stupid or incredibly brave. I still haven't decided. In London, she meets a guy named Keith. I know the relationship with Keith was supposed to be all lovey dovey, but I just didn't buy it. It was too fast, unbelievable and unrealistic. Too much like insta-love. I really liked Keith, though. He definitely added some humor and quirkiness to the novel, though he wasn't really in there as much as I would have liked. Aunt Peg, though we never meet her in the book, really pops out of the page. I didn't know whether I should like her or not, but I couldn't deny that there was something intriguing about her. She's just one of those people that draw you in. I became really fond of Richard, Aunt Peg's roommate in London, especially at the end. I thought he was a perfect bit of stability in the crazy adventure Aunt Peg sends Ginny on.
I think my favorite part of the novel was getting to see a part of the world I have yet to visit. The different settings really grabbed me. I thought the author did an amazing job describing the people, places and scenery Ginny encounters. Frankly, it made me want to grab a backpack and head out on my own adventure. Being an artist myself, I also really enjoyed how much art was in the book. You can really visualize everything Peg creates, which is amazing. I thought some of the stops went by far too fast and others dragged. I really did enjoy the group Ginny meets at the Hippo hostel... you'll see what I mean when you read it, too.
I wasn't satisfied with how it ended, even though I'm usually a fan of open-ended endings. I guess it was just too open for me. I'm glad there's a sequel because I'm hoping it will answer the million questions I have... or at least some of them. I was surprised Ginny's parents allowed her to travel all alone around Europe. I'm also surprised that her Aunt asked her to do something like that at her age. Sure, Peg traveled to all these places, but she was a lot older when she did it. I really did like the book, I just wish there was more, ya know? I'm extremely excited to read The Last Little Blue Envelope, I can tell you that much! Definitely a fun little read.
A favorite quote: "We want to remember, and we want to be remembered. That's why we paint."