13 Little Blue Envelopes by Maureen Johnson
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
GENRE: Young Adult Fiction
SYNOPSIS: Ginny’s Aunt Peg died just a few months ago, so what a surprise it is to receive a letter from her out of the blue. A letter that has her packing her bags and traveling across the country to London, and also leads her to 12 more letters, which are full of tasks to be completed. Tasks which cause Ginny to travel through several different countries and to do things she would never have done otherwise.
REVIEW: What a fun book! It’s almost like a teenager’s dream come true in the midst of a very sad situation. In some ways, though, it reminded me of Amy and Roger’s Epic Road Trip, plus foreign countries, minus the constant traveling companion.
Ginny is a much stronger person than she realizes, and tackles all of her Aunt’s tasks with a bit of enthusiasm. Despite the situations and sometimes the desire to just go home, it's as if Ginny realizes that the whole adventure is good for her. I think, in some ways, she surprised herself. One of my favorite situations was in Amsterdam, where her task didn’t exactly pan out – and she was stuck with a smaller version of the Brady Bunch family for a week. Regardless, she did her best to complete her task the best she could and moved on. Then of course, there is Keith. I actually wanted much more of Keith, but the original picture of him on stage with a top hat and a kilt, red hair – something about the oddness and his wit…I like Keith!
WHAT I LOVED: The traveling, and how the book didn’t just take you do the popular destinations, but also some back-woods unknown areas of the countries. She didn’t even go to the Eiffel Tower when she was in Paris.
NOT SO MUCH: More making out? Okay, no seriously, I think the entire concept is so cute and fun and I loved the book, but as a mother of three, in the back of my head I’m thinking, “there is absolutely NO WAY!” She had no contact with her parents. They were barely even mentioned, and when they were it was in a passing though. It is as if Ginny was alone anyway, and was completely free to just run off to London whenever she wanted anyway. Her “permission” was addressed in the book, but I guess the unlikeliness of this happening just really played a constant tune in the back of my head. I know…it’s a book…anything is possible! BUT…I do think this would have sat better with me if Ginny were college age, at least.
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