Monday, May 9, 2011

Book Review: 13 Little Blue Envelopes by Maureen Johnson

 Author: Maureen Johnson
Author Online:
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Series: Little Blue Envelope Series
Publisher: HarperTeen
Release Date: August 23, 2005
Format: Hardback, 336 pages
My Rating: 3.5/5
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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.
My Review:
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

1 comment:

  1. I found this book some time last year but never added it to my TBR list, even though I was very curious about it. Thanks for the review! I'll read it whenever I get the time and see what I think of it ;) Shame that we don't get the big adventure that we were hoping for though!

    Thanks for the blog follow. In response to your comment, long reviews aren't a problem at all, just as long as it's all good and informative. If you're repeating the same thing over and over then...you're right, no one wants to read that! My reviews used to be 500+ words but lately...they've shortened. Somehow. I certainly haven't been holding back and cutting down! I think that maybe after a while, you get used to just talking about the most important things and not commenting on every little thing you want to ;)

    I love giving advice so send your questions my way! I'm happy to help. Look forward to reading more reviews! :)

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