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13 Little Blue Envelopes by Maureen Johnson
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13 Little Blue Envelopes (original 2005; edition 2006)

by Maureen Johnson

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
2,6371762,267 (3.79)54
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 (2005)

  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
    Dash & Lily's Book of Dares by Rachel Cohn (kaledrina)
  3. 00
    Just One Day by Gayle Forman (foggidawn)
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Ginny's Aunt Peg was an artist. She would just up and leave when the mood struck her. Now, 17-year old Ginny has 13 blue envelopes, each with instructions on what Ginny is to do next. Envelope #1 has Ginny flying to London from New York before she can open the next envelope. Aunt Peg has left specific instructions and rules on following what's in the envelopes.

I thought this was a cute idea and I really enjoyed the book. It was really fast to read and I wanted to keep reading. It would have been nice to spend more time in each location that Ginny went (and because of that, Amsterdam I think, was my favourite because she spent the most time and saw the most things there), but it was still fun. Must admit I wasn't crazy about the “love interest”, though.

My edition had “extras” at the end. A couple of interviews with the author (loved that she wrote the book in a castle near Edinburgh!), and an “interview” with one of the characters of the book. Nice added touch. ( )
  LibraryCin | Jul 8, 2014 |
I enjoyed this book but from the start there was one thing I couldn't get over. I just kept thinking that this book would have been better in first person narrative from Ginny's perspective. Instead it's third person which bugged me so much.
Other than that it's a great summer read and I enjoyed it and will read the next one. ( )
  bookish92 | Mar 20, 2014 |
Ginny is an average girl. Quiet, shy and as normal as you could be. So when she sets off to London under the direction of her recently deceased runaway aunt, it takes her by surprise. This is completely out of the ordinary, but then again it's right in line with what she should expect from Aunt Peg, who ran off to Europe years earlier. Following the directions of letters in blue envelopes that her aunt wrote before she died, Ginny goes on a tour that starts off in London and takes her across the continent. Along the way, she meets some old friends of her aunt's, some new friends of her own, and a fun and funny English guy, of course.

I loved reading about Ginny in all the different countries; in fact, I was swept away immediately when she first set foot in London. Having spent a semester there, I fondly remember many of the places and sites Ginny saw and visited. It's also great for people who haven't been to any of these places, since Johnson does such a great job at setting the scene. It's a European tour from your bedroom (or backyard, or wherever you're reading it).

Johnson has a very gentle tone to her storytelling, and it was a nice change. Most of the YA I've recently been reading has been, for lack of a better word, tense. But the third-person narration (also a nice change) was unhurried and relaxing. That's not to say nothing exciting happened; it was just written in such a way that lacked urgency, which I found to be a good thing.

All of the characters were great fun to read about, whether it is the mischievous Keith, the nutso artist Mari, or the houseboat-dwelling Knud. I found myself smiling a lot while reading about them all.

Throughout, there is also the sadness Ginny feels about her aunt, who disappeared without so much as a goodbye. Because she was absent so long, her death doesn't quite feel real to Ginny at first, and we see the progression of her grief as she travels around Europe.

I'm looking forward to the sequel, The Last Little Blue Envelope, which will be released on Tuesday. I'm eager to see what happens to Ginny in this last adventure her Aunt Peg will send her on.

Also, for a limited time, 13 Little Blue Envelopes is a free e-book for both Kindleand Nook. I'm guessing it's free for Sony too, but I'm not sure where to look for that link.

Disclosure: I got this e-book for free from bn.com. ( )
  Tahleen | Feb 16, 2014 |
Three months after her free-spirited Aunt Peg passed away, Ginny (age 17) receives a set of 13 envelopes in which Aunt Peg gives her niece a set of instructions that she must follow before she can open the next envelope. Considering that the instructions include traveling to London, then Rome, then Paris, and even more European cities, some of it doesn't seem plausible, but at the same time, it makes the adventure all the more fun--Wouldn't a teen Ginny's age love to be in her shoes? ( )
  WickedWoWestwood | Feb 15, 2014 |
Incredibly touching, unique, and wonderful. I can't wait to see where she goes with this series. ( )
  daatwood | Nov 21, 2013 |
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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 of 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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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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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 Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:33:10 -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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