Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Review of 13 Little Blue Envelopes by Maureen Johnson

13 Little Blue Envelopes (Little Blue Envelope, #1)
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.

Maureen Johnson has quite the reputation in the YA world. She is admired by plenty of bloggers and produces a number of eccentric Tweets. I sped through 13 Little Blue Envelopes over the course of a weekend, and had no inclination to put it down. While this book gave me happy reminisces about my own European adventures and kept me entertained, I didn’t care for Ginny as a protagonist.

13 Little Blue Envelopes read like a mash-up between Cecilia Ahern’s P.S. I Love You and a David Levithan novel. Ginny is sent on a mission throughout Europe by her deceased Aunt Peg. I loved reading about all of the places Ginny visited because it gave me happy reminisces about my own European adventures. I was intrigued by all of the eccentric characters that she met, although I have to say I didn’t care much for Keith, the love interest. He just wasn’t my type of guy.

I wasn’t fanatical about Ginny’s character, but I think my reasons are different from other reviewers who have expressed similar sentiments. Some people have complained about how reluctant Ginny was at times, but I could actually relate to that. Not only is Ginny exploring Europe all by herself as a teenager, Peg sends Ginny on some pretty outlandish tasks. I know I would have struggled to be bold enough to complete them. What bothered me was that Ginny didn’t seem to have a lot of basic common sense in regards to keeping herself safe.

Reading my first M.J. book feels like it’s been a rite of passage. Thus far, I don’t quite get all of the hype. I will definitely pick up The Last Little Blue Envelope, because it sounds like a sequel that will move me. I look forward to seeing how Ginny has grown. Also, even though I can only say that I liked 13 Little Blue Envelopes, a lot of other Johnson’s books sound phenomenal to me, like The Bermudez Triangle. I’m looking forward to getting to know M.J.’s work better.

Disclosure: I purchased a copy of this book.


  1. Awesome review! I'm looking forward to this one, partly because a MJ book does feel an awful lot like a rite of passage! :P I've got to get on that!

  2. Great review! I totally agree with you about Ginny. Her character was so distant that I found her difficult to empathize with.

  3. I added a link to your book review at my Saturday Review of Books at Semicolon (http://www.semicolonblog.com ). You are welcome to stop by and add a review link any Saturday.

  4. I have this book on my Kindle, by the way, but I haven't gotten around to reading it yet.



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