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13 Little Blue Envelopes by Maureen Johnson
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13 Little Blue Envelopes (edition 2006)

by Maureen Johnson

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2,9331971,960 (3.77)55
Member:mjspear
Title:13 Little Blue Envelopes
Authors:Maureen Johnson
Info:HarperTeen (2006), Edition: Reissue, Paperback, 368 pages
Collections:Your library
Rating:****
Tags:travel, Europe, romance, artists, London

Work details

13 Little Blue Envelopes by Maureen Johnson

  1. 31
    PS, I Love You by Cecelia Ahern (nookbooks)
    nookbooks: Main character gets series of envelopes with letters, after loved one's death, each one with a task to complete.
  2. 10
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    Ella Enchanted by Gail Carson Levine (BookshelfMonstrosity)
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Ginny receives thirteen envelopes from her aunt that leads her on a wild goose chase around Europe. Along the way she meets a wide array of characters who influence her in some way.

As the story unfolds, we travel with Ginny from New York to London and then hop on trains, planes and various forms of transportation to other European cities. As Ginny's travels unfold we are given glimpses into the mind of the aunt who wrote her the 13 letters. We face the perils - and freedom - of traveling alone in foreign cities. We feel Ginny's despair when she needs to figure out what to do next, as well as her triumph when she's overcome an obstacle, or solved a riddle.

Maureen Johnson did a wonderful job in describing the essence of each location, making it feel as though I was traveling along the streets with Ginny. The story progresses quickly and while there were many funny bits, it was also a story of grieving and acceptance. I appreciated that the reason for envelopes were explained in the beginning of the novel, while still allowing for the mystery in their contents.

The one thing I did not completely understand was the seemingly tangential revelation of Olivia; while it was good to get to know her I didn't see the usefulness of her reveal nor of the Knapps to the storyline.

Overall it was a great story with fun characters. I'm looking forward to it's conclusion. ( )
  iShanella | Dec 2, 2016 |
Ginny Blackstone is leading a completely ordinary life in New York City. She has a best friend, she attends school; you know, the usual. The only "extraordinary" force in Ginny's life has always been her Aunt Peg, her charming, odd, albeit slightly flighty aunt. When Aunt Peg passes away, Ginny receives a series of 13 envelopes from her--to be opened strictly in order--each with a series of instructions that will take Ginny on a set of adventures.

I certainly wanted to like this book. I love Johnson's Shades of London series (seriously, read it) and, honestly, her Twitter account. When this book popped up as a deal on Bookbub, I figured, why not? However, I just never got into the premise. Part of it is that I'm probably a lot like Ginny: I'm not adventurous, and the thought of traveling around Europe without a map or a cell phone (or a freaking plan!) absolutely terrifies me, and so the book completely stressed me out. Ginny was sweet, but also awfully naive, to an almost painful extent. While I did like her (and empathized with her at times), I had a hard time getting into the other characters, including her supposed love interest, and honestly, I found myself getting irritated at her late aunt. Who does this to a teenager? I'm surprised the poor girl didn't just self-destruct.

All in all, this is just a weird book. It's supposed to be quirky (much like Aunt Peg), but it fell short for me. It's a shame, because I think Johnson is excellent at capturing the teen voice, especially those teens who are sort of on the outside (e.g., Shades of London), and you could certainly see hints of that here. There are definitely heartwarming moments to this book and parts to enjoy. But overall, it just fell flat, and I found it, as the Goodreads 2 stars states, "OK."

My Blog ~ Facebook ~ Twitter ( )
  justacatandabook | Sep 5, 2016 |
The premise of this book is interesting - 17 year old Ginny receives 13 blue envelopes from her Aunt Peg who passed away. Aunt Peg was an artist and a free spirit. Ginny is supposed to open each envelope after she has completed a task, but there's a catch, she can't bring a cellphone and a map, among other things. Soon, Ginny finds herself retracing her aunts footsteps as she goes on the greatest adventure of her life.

This book has been getting mixed reviews, and I understand why. As I was reading this, I was wondering how many parents would allow their underage daughter to travel abroad under the same conditions as Ginny. No cellphone, no maps, no extra cash, etc. I would be beside myself with worry. Also, Ginny's characterization is a bit flat - she lacks personality. The only time I felt Ginny show emotion was towards the end, when the reality of her aunt's death sunk in. The tasks that Ginny had to complete was so random and lacked significance. However, I'm hoping the story and characterization further developes in the sequel - The Lost Little Blue Envelope. ( )
  VavaViolet | Aug 24, 2016 |
1,5 stars. The ,5 is for making me laugh.

Review soon. ( )
  Hellen0 | Jun 22, 2016 |
READ IN DUTCH

Even though I normally don't like this sort of books, I did want to read this book a few years ago. One of my friends read it and told me about it. And I got interested in the story. After reading I thought that the story was original but completely unbelievable. There are happening so many weird things but nobody seems to care about that. I enjoyed reading, it wasn't hard to read it. You could read it rather fast, but I was not blown away by it. But I still bought her second book as well, but still need to read that one. ( )
  Floratina | May 26, 2016 |
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Epigraph
Rule #1:
You may bring only what fits in your backpack. Don't try to fake it with a purse or a carry-on.

Rule #2:
You may not bring guidebooks, phrase books, or and kind of foreign language aid. And no journals.

Rule #3:
You cannot bring extra money or credit/debit cards, traveler's checks, etc. I'll take care of all of that.

Rule #4:
No electronic crutches. This means no laptop, no cell phone, no music, and no camera. You can't call home or communicate with people in the U.S. by internet or telephone. Postcards and letters are acceptable and encouraged.

That's all you need to know for now. See you at 4th Noodle.
Dedication
For Kate Schafer, the greatest traveling companion in the world, and a woman who is not afraid to admit that she occasionally can't remember where she lives.
First words
Dear Ginger, I have been a great follower of rules.
As a rule, Ginny Blackstone tried to go unnoticed—something that was more or less impossible with thirty pounds (she'd weighed it) of purple-and-green backpack hanging from her back.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0060541431, Paperback)

Inside little blue envelope 1 are $1,000 and instructions to buy a plane ticket.

In envelope 2 are directions to a specific London flat.

The note in envelope 3 tells Ginny: Find a starving artist.

Because of envelope 4, Ginny and a playwright/thief/ bloke–about–town called Keith go to Scotland together, with somewhat disastrous–though utterly romantic–results. But will she ever see him again?

Everything about Ginny will change this summer, and it's all because of the 13 little blue envelopes.

Ages 12+

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:11:33 -0400)

(see all 4 descriptions)

When seventeen-year-old Ginny receives a packet of mysterious envelopes from her favorite aunt, she leaves New Jersey to criss-cross Europe on a sort of scavenger hunt that transforms her life.

(summary from another edition)

» see all 3 descriptions

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