March 7, 2012

Review: 13 Little Blue Envelopes by Maureen Johnson

13 Little Blue Envelopes (Little Blue Envelope #1) by Maureen Johnson
Format: Paperback, REPRINT, 317 pages
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary
Publication: August 23rd, 2005 by HarperCollins (originally)
Purchase: | Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository
Rating: 4 out of 5 
Summary from Goodreads:

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.
So, after reading The Name of the Star, I wasn't sure how I would feel about 13 Little Blue Envelopes.  But a couple pages in, I was in love with Ginny's voice and her adventures.  Ginny was really funny and random, and I think everyone can relate to her occasional awkwardness.

Admittedly, the story is a bit fantastical... you get almost no back story on Ginny's parents allowing their 17 year old daughter go on this crazy journey.  The book starts off with her taking a plane to London, without giving much back story.  But once you ignore the impracticality of everything, the book really sucks you in.

On a nit-picky note, I wish that Ginny's relationships with the people she met were more substantial. Sometimes it felt like the people she interacted with throughout the journey didn't leave an impact on her.  Even Keith, the love interest, seems to be on the sidelines for most of the book.  And while I understand this book is meant to focus on Ginny's growth and independence, I've also noticed this in The Name of the Star, so it may just be a result of Johnson's writing style as well.

At the beginning of the book, I was sure I was going to give this book a 4.5 or 5 out of 5.  But as the story progresses, especially with the last couple of envelopes, the story really drags.  Some of Ginny's travels seem pointless, some of the people she meets seem random and insignificant, and you're just lost.  I feel like there were some subtle things that Johnson was trying to put in, but I... just didn't see them.  Even though I enjoyed Ginny's growth, I was unsatisfied with the ending.

Overall, 13 Little Blue Envelopes is a fun and quirky contemporary read that will keep you hooked as you follow Ginny's adventures through Europe.  A charming read sprinkled with romance, adventure, and humor, I'd recommend this one to fans of contemp.  I'll definitely be reading the sequel!


  1. I read this book more than a few years ago but I remember enjoying it a lot. Thanks for thengreat review. I have the second book, I really should get around to reading it

  2. The fact that Ginny has received a package of thirteen blue envelopes from her eccentric but favorite aunt telling her to travel around the world is not particularly shocking. Being instructed to open each envelope in order isn't so strange either. What makes it a surprise is the fact that Ginny's aunt Peg has been dead for months. She was young and full of life, and her death was a shock.

  3. God i hated this book so much.