Saturday, June 18, 2011

Book Review: 13 Little Blue Envelopes

Author: Maureen Johnson
Title: 13 Little Blue Envelopes
Description (source):
Here’s the deal: Aunt Peg, the New York artist and the person Ginny Blackstone depended on to make her life interesting, took off to Europe without a word three years ago. Aside from a few postcards, Ginny hasn’t heard much. Then she gets a horrible phone call that changes everything.
But the story is only beginning. Soon after, Ginny receives one little blue envelope from Aunt Peg containing a thousand dollars and some very strange instructions…
And with that, she is sent off to pick up a package containing twelve similar envelopes, which she can open one by one, as instructed. Each letter contains a task that Ginny must perform.
Soon, the mild-mannered and quiet Ginny (who’s barely made it out of New Jersey before) finds herself running from London to Paris to Rome, and beyond. Along the way, she collects a number of new friends, including: a manager from Harrods department store who runs errands for the rich and famous, a handsome but maddening thief-turned-playwright, a celebrity painter who tattoos the names of her dead pets on her body, and the angriest vegetable salesman in all of France.
As time goes on, Ginny realizes that her aunt has sent her on a mission, and that there is something big waiting for her in the thirteenth envelope. All she has to do is make it from place to place and complete all of the tasks that have been set before her. (Author’s website)

Review source: I didn’t get this as an ARC. It was a free kindle book.

Plot: I picked this up on an evening that I was feeling glum and wanted to read something light and fun. A couple of hours later, I finished it, and ended my day feeling much better. That’s why I love to read! The plot was just right—a little romance, a little mystery, and lots of fun.

Characters: Again, Johnson did a great job. The main character, Ginny, is a good combination of innocent and wise. I also enjoyed the secondary characters, Keith, Richard, and especially the Knapps!

Writing style: This is a YA book, and written well as such. I really enjoyed the writing style and always wondered what would be in each envelope.

Audience: As I mentioned, this is a YA book, written for girls (chicklet lit?). That said, I loved the book; it was sort of a puzzle book, and I spent the time trying to get to sleep last night imagining what I might have done in Ginny’s place.

Wrap-up: This book is like a teen Mixed Up Files. It’s just realistic enough to make you think that just maybe, you could pull this off like they did in the book—in this case, traveling to Europe with nothing more than a bank card (not yours!) and a backpack. Sort of a dangerous fantasy, but fine as long as you remember that it’s a fantasy. I loved it, read it in a couple of hours, and immediately put the sequel on my to-read list. 4/5*


  1. The Last Little Blue Envelope was just published (hence the free Kindle book), and it is pretty good, too. Not quite as light as this, but still good.

  2. First, you should coin chicklet lit. That's great. Second, your comparison of this book to the Mixed up Files makes me want to read it now. :-)

  3. Amy: I totally stole your fb reading meme; it will be showing up on this blog soon!

    Joy: I love that kind of book-- that you could never pull off in real life, but what a great book to write! Mine would probably be set in Disney World!