Monday, May 9, 2011
Book Review: 13 Little Blue Envelopes by Maureen Johnson
Author Online: Twitter Website
Series: Little Blue Envelope Series
Release Date: August 23, 2005
Format: Hardback, 336 pages
My Rating: 3.5/5
Buy It: Amazon Barns & Noble Book Depository
Summary: (Taken from Goodreads) 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.
13 Little Blue Envelopes was a fast, exciting read.
Ginny’s beloved aunt Peg has just died, and following her death, has left 13 blue envelopes, a fair amount of money, and instructions on what should be done with the money, all to her seventeen year old niece, Ginny. It is up to Ginny to follow her aunt’s last wishes, and at the same time, discover who her crazy, fun loving live-in-the-moment runaway aunt really was, and how she spent those last few months of her life.
While the set up for this novel made for great adventures and unexpected outcomes, I felt Maureen Johnson just didn’t take it. She never pushed the bar—never made something great come out of it. The main character, Virginia—Ginny, as she likes to be called—was never in one place for long, but while she was there, it felt like she never did much. Sure she did everything her aunt instructed her to do, but after that was taken care of, I felt like Ginny was lost. But I almost liked that feeling. If you were in a country so foreign to your own, wouldn’t you feel lost? I think Maureen Johnson captured that feeling very well, along with the setting of the place Ginny was in at any given moment.
I liked the way the author took you on this crazy adventure with Ginny, and almost made you feel like you could see and feel what Ginny was, and the way she described everything was beautiful, and made it seem that much more real and exciting.
I had a love/hate relationship with Ginny; not being overly fond of her, but not being able to dislike her. To me, Ginny was just there. We never really learn anything about her. We learn what her aunt likes, what her aunt did most of her life, what Ginny’s mother thought of her sister’s crazy life. But we never really learn what Ginny likes, what she enjoys doing, what she thought about what her aunt was making her do. We simply learn about every character except Ginny, who I would have liked to know most of all. It was almost like she didn’t have a personally of her own.
Also, her relationship with strange, sarcastic, troublesome Keith felt forced. It happened very fast, and while I can see the appeal, I can’t be bothered to believe that Ginny would fall for the first strange guy she sees in London, and to confess her undying love shortly after. Well, maybe not her undying love, but still. That makes for an interesting story.
I also really enjoyed reading the letters from Peg to Ginny, and the format in which they were written made it very easy to read, and I feel it added that much more to the story.
Overall, the characters we meet in this novel are charming, witty, imaginative and original.
I didn’t love this novel, but I did like it more than a little, and I will be reading the sequel, The Last Little Blue Envelope, very soon!
I would recommend this book to fans of John Green, David Levithan, Rachel Cohn, or just any fan of fun, light reading with a mix of adventure.
“Dear Ginger, I have never been a follower of rules. You know that.” -13 Little Blue Envelopes