Tuesday, April 19, 2011

13 Little Blue Envelopes by Maureen Johnson

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.

Ginny receives 13 envelopes from her aunt that leads her on a wild goose chase around Europe. Along the way she meets a wide array of characters who influence her in some way.

As the story unfolds, we travel with Ginny from New York to London and then hop on trains, planes and various forms of transportation to other European cities. As Ginny’s travels unfold we are given glimpses into the mind of the aunt who wrote her the 13 letters. We face the perils - and freedom - of traveling alone in foreign cities. We feel Ginny’s despair when she needs to figure out what to do next, as well as her triumph when she’s overcome an obstacle, or solved a riddle.

Maureen Johnson did a wonderful job in describing the essence of each location, making it feel as though I was traveling along the streets with Ginny. The story progresses quickly and while there were many funny bits, it was also a story of grieving and acceptance. I appreciated that the reason for envelopes were explained in the beginning of the novel, while still allowing for some mystery of their contents.

The one thing I did not completely understand was the seemingly tangential revelation of Olivia; while it was  good to get to know her I didn’t see the usefulness of her reveal nor of the Knapps to the storyline.

Overall it was a great story with fun characters. I’m looking forward to it’s conclusion.

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