Virginia Blackstone is a shy girl, doesn't feel comfortable talking to boys, and she certainly doesn't act impulsively. She is the complete opposite of her eccentric aunt, who sends her on a quest. In each of 13 Little Blue Envelopes, Aunt Peg gives Ginny instructions on where to go and what to do - in Europe.
"So Aunt Peg was exactly the kind of person who would send her to England alone, with a package from a Chinese restaurant. That wasn't so odd.
The odd part was that Aunt Peg had been dead for three months."
So, Ginny gets on a plane with no guidebook, no cell phone, and no idea of where she is headed. She is armed with nothing but her courage and her envelopes and embarks on a journey that will change her life.
Ginny meets the most interesting people, like Mari, a sweet and eccentric artist; Beppe, bearer of gelato and cake; the Knapp family, marathon tourists; and a group of friendly Australians. She doesn't see Big Ben, the leaning Tower of Pisa, or the Mona Lisa, but she is introduced to hidden cafes, and dares to ask a boy out for coffee. She might find herself in a bit of trouble, more than once, but unbeknownst to herself, Ginny is a survivor.
I need an Aunt Peg to kick me in the ass and tell me to go to Europe! Instead, we have Auntie Maureen to gift this magical journey in the form of 13 LITTLE BLUE ENVELOPES. I'm enamored by the idea of traveling while you're young enough to stay in hostiles, and fearless enough to take a path without knowing exactly where it may lead.
I absolutely loved this book! I read it in a little over a day, but it has stuck with me, and given me such a desire to travel!
Warning: This book will give you wanderlust.
Frommer's Europe (because of above warning re: wanderlust)
Maureen Johnson Website, Blog, Twitter (she owns Twitter...don't let her tell you different)
About the Book:
I heart Maureen Johnson. Her bio is extensive, as is the list of books she has written. Go here to learn all you can about her. Then, go read lots of her books. Finally, go to one of her appearances. I don't want you to stalk her, though. Listen to her speak - she's funny as hell and you'll want to be just like her (without the Catholic school stuff).
*Disclosure: This book appeared on my shelf. I don't remember how it got there. I think I bought it after the publisher sent me a review copy of the sequel.