Monday, March 9, 2009

Review: 13 Little Blue Envelopes by Maureen Johnson

Tags: YA, Europe, backpacking, adventure, travel

Romantic, interesting, tender, and enviable: Ginny Blackstone’s journey of geographical and self discoveries in 13 LITTLE BLUE ENVELOPES is one that we all dream of. Who wouldn’t want to be sent on a backpacking trip across Europe and do things we’ve never thought we were capable of doing?

Ginny’s free-spirited artist aunt, Peg, died from a brain tumor. After Peg’s death, a package containing 13 sealed blue envelopes is delivered to Ginny. They send her on various missions across the seas in foreign lands. All of a sudden, Ginny finds herself lugging a heavy purple-and-green backpack onto a plane and into the London flat of a man named Richard.

Peg’s instructions in the envelopes further mess with Ginny’s once passive existence as they instruct her to, for example, find a struggling artist whose work she admires to give money to. How does Aunt Peg seem to know that Keith, the artist Ginny chose, would be so cute and steal her heart like that?

Despite the crazy, un-Ginny-like adventures she’s having, Ginny still has doubts every once in a while of what the heck exactly is she doing in Europe. Will Ginny ever come to terms with the fact that she IS capable of everything her aunt had once done?

13 LITTLE BLUE ENVELOPES is more than a fun ride through several European countries. It’s a journey of self-discovery for Ginny, as a shy girl learns exactly what she is capable of. For those of us who do not have a wild aunt who will send us on an adventure through Europe, we can live through Ginny. I have read this book twice, and both times I could not put it down, preferring to lose sleep rather than wonder about what happens to Ginny.

Similar Authors
Rachel Cohn
Elizabeth Craft and Sarah Fain (Bass Ackwards and Belly Up)
Ann Brashares

Rating: 4.5 out of 5


  1. This looks so good....I started it, but then it was due at the library, so I never got around to finishing it. ): I love the aspect of traveling and Europe, though, I love books about that!

  2. Loved this one!!! The concept was so good, and so well executed.

  3. I keep hearing about this book and have been meaning to read it for a long time. So glad to hear you loved it!

  4. i have a copy of this coming (hopefully soon) and I can't wait to read it. great review!

  5. I think I am one of the few people (aside from one of my friends) that really didn't like this book, I found it really boring, I kept reading in the hopes it would get better but the further in I got the more torturously boring it felt forcing myself to read it. =/

    It sucks cause I wanted to love it because I think Maureen is awesome. Maybe it's just because I live in Britain, the whole Europe thing isn't a novelty to me so reading about it was a little dull.

  6. I loooved this book! I had been to a few of the places that were in the book so it was awesome. : ) Nice review.

  7. Hehehe - guess I will be reading this one this month. I backpacked across Europe with my best friend in college. Good times!

  8. Hi lanna-lovely,

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts with us! I always encourage people with different opinions about books I review to let them be known. I can see why you'd feel that way; perhaps that's the way I feel about most of Maureen's other books too. The dullness and the "nothing happens; what now?"-ness of them.

  9. I found this one to be a bit meh. Lanna-lovely, I'm in Britain too, so maybe that affected me, but I liked seeing the other countries. I can't remember which reviewer said this, but I agreed that the reason this isn't brilliant for me is because Ginny doesn't take enough initiative of her own. Yes she's going around the world but only because her aunt is telling her exactly what to do.
    I liked the review though and can see why most people would really enjoy it.

  10. I've been told a hundred times that this book is good. You know, when John Green picked a book as a present to a blogger, this was the one.

  11. This sounds a little bit similar to PS I Love You, with the letters being left. Great review though, I want to read it now!

    Oh, and I nominated you for a blog award :) -

  12. Definitely want to read this one! It's been on my wishlist for a while; think I'm going to have to just break down and buy it. I'm traveling to London in May and want to read it before then :)

  13. I really want to read this and you got an award!


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