Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Book Review: 13 Little Blue Envelopes by Maureen Johnson

Title: 13 Little Blue Envelopes (Goodreads/Amazon)
Author: Maureen Johnson
Series: Little Blue Envelope #1
Release Date: Oct. 1 2006
Publisher: HarperTeen
My Source: Library

Goodreads Summary:

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.

My Review:

Ginny is a teenage girl who has so far lived a boring life- the only excitement in her life provided by her unconventional aunt. So one day she recieves a mysterious package from her aunt that leads her on a scavenger hunt across Europe, where she learns new things about her aunt and has to take on tasks to challenge all of her fears.

I loved the plot- the settings were facinating and Ginny's tasks seemed like they would be a lot of fun (they were certainly fun to read about!). Reading this book was never boring either- there was always another witty line and a few moments of laugh out loud humor for me. It was a quick read, I couldn't believe it was over when I'd barely started it.

On the other hand, Ginny's character was pretty much nonexistant. By that, I mean it felt like she didn't have much of a personality. We got hardly any background on her life and I didn't feel any real connection to her. She was so shy that I found it difficult to imagine her actually going through with some of these tasks. The other characters though- Keith especially, along with even Ginny's Aunt and Richard, were a lot more well rounded and I enjoyed reading about them.
I also have to add something else that really threw me. What happened to Ginny's parents and why were they letting her traverse Europe alone, without even communicating with them? And why did Ginny never even think about them? This relates to the missing info on Ginny's background as well. I feel like we never really saw Ginny's character grow throughout the course of the story because there wasn't much there in the first place.

Even with the Ginny's character being dull, the book itself certainly wasn't. The plot was entertaining enough that I found myself really enjoying the book. It wasn't until the end that I looked back and realized it was anything less than perfect.

There is a sequel, The Last Little Blue Envelope, which makes me excited because the ending was very open ended. And I wouldn't mind seeing more Keith.

I would recommend this book to fans of fun contemporary stories. It's definitely a lighter read. It reminded me a bit of Dash and Lily's Book of Dares (but one-sided) or Amy and Roger's Epic Detour (but in Europe). If you liked either of those books, I recommend 13 Little Blue Envelopes.

4 out of 5 stars

Cover: 3.5 /5 This cover is the "updated" one, released along with the cover of the sequel. I happen to like this one a lot more than the original cover which is why I used it... but for some reason I still don't love it.

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