Saturday, April 23, 2011

Last Little Blue Envelopes by Maureen Johnson

Ginny Blackstone thought that the biggest adventure of her life was behind her. She spent last summer traveling around Europe, following the tasks her aunt Peg laid out in a series of letters before she died. When someone stole Ginny’s backpack—and the last little blue envelope inside—she resigned herself to never knowing how it was supposed to end.
Months later, a mysterious boy contacts Ginny from London, saying he’s found her bag. Finally, Ginny can finish what she started. But instead of ending her journey, the last letter starts a new adventure—one filled with old friends, new loves, and once-in-a-lifetime experiences. Ginny finds she must hold on to her wits … and her heart. This time, there are no instructions.

In her conclusion to 13 Little Blue Envelopes, Maureen Johnson wraps Ginny’s story in a sparkly box, drops it on our front porch and flies away via umbrella. If you are reading this review without reading the first book, you will be spoiled, just a little bit.

I was wondering how the thirteenth envelope would find its way back to Ginny. As it was, Ginny didn’t need to find it, she basically figure out what she was suppose to do. However, its contents still hung over our heads, mysterious, giving us no closure. What did Aunt Peg have to say? Where would Aunt Peg have sent her next?

In The Last Little Blue Envelope, we find some familiar characters and are introduced to some new faces. The way in which Aunt Peg’s letters make their way back to Ginny is quite plausible. We’re introduced to the mysterious and aloof Oliver and the fun and spontaneous Ellis, who accompany Keith and Ginny on the wild race to complete the request of the last letter.

I wasn’t sure how she would do it, but Maureen managed to pull out from - seemingly - thin air a great plot, with elements from the first novel that I loved so much, while still allowing this book to be its own story. We travelled to old and new places, gained new experiences and found the final piece to the puzzle of Aunt Peg. The ending came so quickly that it left me wishing there was another envelope hidden somewhere that would allow us to continue travelling with Ginny and the gang.

If you enjoyed the first book, you’d definitely enjoy this one. There were more people involved and so, more relationships to explore, more complexities to deal with and more things to see. It really is true, “you can never visit the same place twice. Each time, it’s a different story” and this one is a good one.

[review of arc via netgalley]

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