Thursday, 6 September 2012
Review: 13 Little Blue Envelopes
Author: Maureen Johnson
Publisher: Harper Teen
Publication Date: August 23rd, 2005
Genre: YA, Contemporary
Ginny’s Aunt Peg was always something of a free spirit, and the two years she spent in Europe with little contact with the family weren’t really that out of character. But when she learnt that her wild and vivacious Aunt died in London, it never felt real, or even possible, to Ginny. When a package written before Aunt Peg’s death arrives in the mail, Ginny is whisked off to Europe to follow her Aunt’s last journey, lead by 13 little blue envelopes. She can only open the next envelope after she completes a task in the previous one. Lead by her Aunt’s words, Ginny travels in Peg’s footsteps, from Harrods in London to an island in Greece. With blue envelope in hand, she finds herself doing things she never imagined she would in places she only imagined visiting. In the backdrop of some of the world’s finest cities, amidst all the adventure Ginny will have to come to terms with what her Aunt really is: gone.
This was my second time reading 13 Little Blue Envelopes: the first time I was filled with envy over all the places Ginny got to visit (although not her situation) and this time I am actually about to go to Europe in less than a week. This was a good book to read to get me psyched, and I’d recommend 13 Little Blue Envelopes to anyone who has, will or is travelling throughout Europe. The plot and setting are probably the strongest aspects of this novel. The story was always interesting and full of adventure and beautiful places. Like any trip, you think you know what’s going to happen while reading this book, only to have it take you places you didn’t quite expect. It was quick paced and fun, making this a book that really takes you places. One of the biggest flaws of this book is how unrealistic it is, especially when pertaining to the parental absence. From what we know of Ginny’s parents, they do not seem the types to let their seventeen-year-old daughter go gallivanting through Europe with no set itinerary or the ability to call home. However, I was able to suspend my belief, and let myself get lost in the story. Ginny herself never felt like a fully developed character, and I wonder if I would have felt more of a connection with her if the story was told in first person. The times I felt like I knew her most were through her letters. The other characters were well written and engaging, specifically Keith and Aunt Peg. The original plotline and the excitement of fast paced travel made this book difficult to forget and fun to reread. Whether you’re travelling soon or not, 13 Little Blue Envelopes is a book that will make you want to do things you’ve never done before.