Thursday, May 12, 2011
Review: The Last Little Blue Envelope by Maureen Johnson
Ginny thought it was all over—that the last blue envelope containing the last letter from her dead artist aunt Peg, stolen along with her backpack when she was in Greece, was lost forever. But then a mysterious boy named Oliver contacts her, saying that he has her letters. Turns out that the last letter contains one final task for Ginny to complete, and Oliver insists that he wants Ginny to split the profits from this last piece of artwork with him. After all, he is the one who has the letter. How can she disagree?
To her shock, Keith—and his new girlfriend, Ellis—insist on tagging along for this one last intercontinental adventure. Over the course of one Christmas break, Ginny, along with old and new friends, retraces her footsteps and discovers the ultimate lesson that Aunt Peg wishes to remind her of.
I’ll be honest: I was one of those readers that was very happy with how 13 Little Blue Envelopes ended, and never thought to ask for a sequel. Nervously I began this sequel to one of my favorite books of all time, and happily I can say that TLLBE lived up to my expectations for a Maureen Johnson novel.
I was a little skeptical of how different Aunt Peg’s thirteenth letter was from her previous twelve (in terms of length and vision), but it was insightful nevertheless. THE LAST LITTLE BLUE ENVELOPE focuses less, I think, on the excitement of a cross-Europe adventure and more on character development. All the characters, while not particularly deep, are still very likable, even if you feel like the situation should call for us to hate them.
THE LAST LITTLE BLUE ENVELOPE lightheartedly inspires us to question the permanence of adolescent emotions. Oftentimes YA novels make us believe that their happy endings will last forever: Ginny’s second adventure beautifully illustrates how things can change unexpectedly but still wonderfully. And that’s all I want to say so that I don’t spoil anything!
My final thoughts? Worth reading if you loved the first book (and if you haven’t read that yet, you should). It takes on a different tone than 13 Little Blue Envelopes, but is still unexpectedly delightful, and will have you clamoring for a third book.
Cover discussion: I'm not really a fan. That girl is just not Ginny for me, and the posing is soooooo... posed!
HarperTeen / April 26, 2011 / Hardcover / 304pp. / $16.99
For e-review from NetGalley and HarperCollins.