Saturday, March 28, 2009

13 Little Blue Envelopes by Maureen Johnson

Title: 13 Little Blue Envelopes

Author: Maureen Johnson

Publisher: HarperCollins, New York, 2005

Pages: 317 ps

Rating: * * * * */5

For whatever reason, I didn't really want to read this book. I checked it out because a friend had told me Ms. Johnson is such a terrific writer, and my library only had this book. I didn't read it for at least a month! Then I read all my other books, and went, "Why not," and read it.

I was fascinated. I literally couldn't put it down, I even took it to lunch with me!
13 Little Blue Envelopes is about Ginny Blackstone, whose self-proclaimed "Runaway Aunt" Peggy died of a brain tumor 2 years ago. Ginny loved her aunt, even though she left suddenly and they didn't know where in the world (literally) she was, because she was so flighty. So when she gets a package containing 13 little blue envelopes from Peggy, she knows she's in for an adventure. That's what she loved about her aunt, she was always doing something.
Inside little blue envelope 1 is $1,000 and instructions to buy a plane ticket to London.
Envelope 2 contains directions to a specific London flat.
Envelope 3 states: Find a starving artist.
And because of envelope 4, Ginny and her selected starving artist, Keith, a playwright/ thief/ bloke-about-town, head off to Scotland to meet her Aunt Peggy's favorite artist, who Peggy had stayed with and learned from, with disastrous and somewhat romantic results. But Ginny doesn't know if she'll ever see him again.
But the other envelopes contain trips to Paris and Rome, so who is she to complain?

What I really liked about this book that most people would hate was that it was so unbelievable, yet real in it's characters, as well as culturally correct (I mean, as best I could tell, but I'm not an expert!), but in the sense that you don't know what'll happen next. "The Runaway Aunt's" letters were always funny and self-deprecating, and Ginny had a LOT of crazy, funny, sad and/or romantic experiences all over the globe.
You also got to watch her change into an adult- especially after that nasty stoner hostel she was at! It's really a great book, up there with Jaclyn Moriarty's work.


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