Monday, January 16, 2012

Review: 13 Little Blue Envelopes by Maureen Johnson

So much fun!

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.

Book Extras:
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:

  • Reading level: Ages 13 and up
  • Paperback: 368 pages
  • Publisher: HarperTeen; First Edition edition (September 26, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0060541431
  • ISBN-13: 978-0060541439

  • About the Author:
    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. 


    Zibilee said...

    I have heard so many good things about this book, and the fact that inspired such wanderlust in you really makes me a lot more curious than I had been previously. This was a great review, and now I am adding this book to my wishlist. Thanks!

    Tallulah Grace said...

    Great review! Thanks!

    Booksnyc said...

    I thought this book was great. Ginny is such a likeable character and I think she would make a great model for younger readers. I am looking forward to reading the next installment and finding out about that last envelope!

    Sheila (Bookjourney) said...

    I had this checked out from the library and then did not get to it in time. Looks like I need to stalk the book again.

    bermudaonion said...

    I'm with you - I'd love to have an Aunt Peg!

    Bookworm1858 said...

    I was so freaked out by this book-how her aunt just pushes her to make this leap! I am so not adventurous. But it was such a fun time and I'd love to read the sequel too.

    Canada said...

    The fact that Ginny has received a package of thirteen blue envelopes from her eccentric but favorite aunt telling her to travel around the world is not particularly shocking. Being instructed to open each envelope in order isn't so strange either. What makes it a surprise is the fact that Ginny's aunt Peg has been dead for months. She was young and full of life, and her death was a shock.

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