Saturday, May 16, 2009

Review: 13 Little Blue Envelopes by Maureen Johnson

This young adult confection is pure fun. Seventeen year old Ginny has a collection of sealed envelopes from her aunt. She is to travel to Europe and then around Europe following the instructions in the letters, not opening a new letter until she has completed the task set forth for her in the prior letter. Ginny's beloved aunt had runaway from the settled predictability of her life in order to pursue her art several years before and she wanted Ginny to have a taste of the spontaneity and experience the joy of travel that she herself felt in her last years (she has recently died of a brain tumor). Making a huge leap of faith, Ginny does indeed buy a plane ticket and head off to Europe to fuflfill her aunt's hopes for her, meeting special people in her aunt's life and people who become special in her own. She opens her envelopes one at a time, sometimes understanding the reasons behind the instructions and other times being baffled but always trying to enter into the spirit of the adventure. She learns a lot about herself through her trip through Europe and perhaps learns even more about family, love, and belonging. This is written for high school aged readers but there's very little that might be inappropriate for younger advanced readers. It was a cute read and one that almost makes me wish I had done something so completely out of character like spinning off to Europe without set plans. The ending is a bit of a surprise and while I initially wanted more, upon reflection, I think it ended just as it had to end. A sweet book and one that I'll stick on a shelf for my daughter to discover sometime.


  1. This book sounds wonderful. I love to read letters. Thanks for the review.

  2. Nona, my daughter, read this and loved it. She read another book by this author too. If I could just remember the title...ugh!


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