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13 Little Blue Envelopes

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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 ev 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+"


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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 ev 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+"

30 review for 13 Little Blue Envelopes

  1. 5 out of 5

    Lucy

    13 Little Blue Envelopes suffers from DPS. Disappearing Parent Syndrome is a tragic epidemic in YA novels. In this case the DPS was particularly severe. Seventeen year old Ginny Blackstone goes on a trip to Europe sponsored by her deceased aunt. Aunt Peg was not reliable when she was around. In fact, during the last several years of Ginny's life Peg was in Europe. She died without contacting the family to let them know she was suffering from a prolonged illness. The family was just expected to p 13 Little Blue Envelopes suffers from DPS. Disappearing Parent Syndrome is a tragic epidemic in YA novels. In this case the DPS was particularly severe. Seventeen year old Ginny Blackstone goes on a trip to Europe sponsored by her deceased aunt. Aunt Peg was not reliable when she was around. In fact, during the last several years of Ginny's life Peg was in Europe. She died without contacting the family to let them know she was suffering from a prolonged illness. The family was just expected to pick up the pieces after she passed with very little explanation -- but wait! Aunt Peg has left Ginny mysterious envelopes that she's not allowed to open all at once and strange instructions to travel around Europe. Mr. and Mrs. Disappearstone allow their seventeen year old daughter -- their only child -- to go traipsing around Europe. The rules state she's not allowed a cell phone or laptop or camera. They're not even allowed to give her extra money so they know there's a back up plan in case Mrs. Disapperancestone's unreliable sister who died from a brain tumor several months before hasn't provided Ginny with everything she might need for this spur of the moment trip. Oh yeah, and she's not allowed to call them even on a pay phone. No communication back home. Honestly, I would have been slightly concerned in Ginny's case. What's the goal here? Sell me on the black market? You know what I would have done if I was Mummy-DisappearanceStone? I would have told my daughter that Aunt Peg was mentally unstable when she was healthy and thrown the envelopes into a fire place before I let her go off on some half-baked adventure across Europe. Of course, Ginny thought mentions that her parents weren't thrilled, but somehow this underaged minor is still on a plane to England in the first few chapters. Awesome, just awesome. Look, some of my annoyance with this book is based on just how often the parents disappear in YA fiction. I know it's the easiest route to take. How can Ginny have a sexy adventure in England and then the rest of Europe if her mom is following her around? Well, if you can't man up and work with the circumstances the age of your character gives you then you have no business writing Young Adult fiction. This book should have been written about a girl who has completed one or two years of college, who has some experience living out there on her own within reasonable distance to her family (even if that reasonable distance is merely being able to pick up a phone and ask for financial help). No sane parent would ever let their child go on the trip Ginny did. I was asked to suspend my disbelief a little too far and now it's lost. Mourn for it. While I think this book was better suited for 20-something chick-lit I also don't think Maureen Johnson has the stomach to ever do the sex scene that would have more likely than not happened if she hadn't been writing about a dewy-eyed Virgin. Yes, Virgin with a capital V. From what I gather reading other reviews on Maureen Johnson's books her characters pretty much all have the capital Virgin card in their deck. I'm tired of the constant YA virgin business. Part of what made me love The Duff was the fact that we didn't have another maidenhead to protect throughout the whole book! The novel *gasp* started with a non-virginal teenager. Anyway, Ginny's adventures are very uncoordinated. I get that the aunt made Ginny's trip mimic her own eccentric path across Europe, but I should have felt there was some master intention from the author's point of view rather than constantly imagining Maureen Johnson throwing a dart at a map of Europe and going 'okay, time to buy a travel book for that country!' The writing was, unfortunately, not top notch. There was a scene where Ginny really had to pee, but couldn't tell the difference between the men and women's bathroom symbols. She gets whisked off before she can pee and it felt like a Chekhov's gun. It left me sitting there wondering what just happened. Why did you waste my time with that scene if it meant nothing? Ginny also gets put in a near date-rape situation from following her aunt's advice to hit on a random Italian boy. This immediately follows her nearly getting mugged. Eventually she does get robbed of all her worldly possessions, what's left of her very dwindling money, and the last envelope that could have explained all the shit that happened to her. Losing the last envelope was a cop out. It wasn't a clever device that added mystery to the novel. Some of what might have been in the note gets discovered later, but you never know for sure what it said. There is a sequel to the novel planned, but I think the intention was to leave it dangling. Also, the subplot about her aunt's paintings and how the value sky-rocketed after her death? Um no. Peg had not merited a lot of fame in life. Her death was abrupt and she died young, yes, but death does not equate millions of dollars to your estate. It was an over simplification of how the art world works and in the end it just wasn't accurate. A huge portion of the happily ever ending was contingent on these unbelievable stipulations. Oh and the romance.... Yeah. I felt more of a connection between two stick figures I doodled at work. The romance felt like requisite met because it was a YA coming of age novel rather than anything that actually fit with the book. Keith is around for one country and pops up in another so that their romance can develop. Forced, contrived etc etc. So why two stars and not one? The writing wasn't awful. The idea was just underdeveloped and rushed. I think with more time from Johnson and an editor who'd pushed her to really polish it the book could have easily been three stars, maybe four. I do think she has some talent and I want to try her again, but this was definitely a disappointing start.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Hailey (Hailey in Bookland)

    2.5* This was a quick read but at the same time I felt like it dragged, nothing had any real depth so I just was questioning what the point of the story was and why these characters existed.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Shannon

    Unimpressive. The way Johnson writes is annoying; more than halfway into the book, I really didn't know ANYTHING about the main character, other than that she was on a (ridiculous) journey. It was all action and no thought. It was not insightful. The main character was not likeable. She wasn't unlikeable either. She was just like...doing things. She didn't have very many thoughts. And never very insightful ones (ie "I like this boy! I am sad. I am happy. I am angry"). COME ON. There was no attem Unimpressive. The way Johnson writes is annoying; more than halfway into the book, I really didn't know ANYTHING about the main character, other than that she was on a (ridiculous) journey. It was all action and no thought. It was not insightful. The main character was not likeable. She wasn't unlikeable either. She was just like...doing things. She didn't have very many thoughts. And never very insightful ones (ie "I like this boy! I am sad. I am happy. I am angry"). COME ON. There was no attempt made to make her a human, a believable character. Also the end was frustrating but kind of oddly moving (a little) at the same time. But overall, I was not in any way impressed.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Lisa

    I am not going to review this book except to say the thing that made me crazy. There were several instances in this book where something was mentioned and you think it is important and then it was dropped. For instance, when the MC goes in the Louvre, it is mentioned that she checks her backpack in at the front--kind of like a coat check. Okay. No problem. But then, as she is trying to get out of the Louvre she kind of starts going down random hall after hall in search of an exit and finally finds I am not going to review this book except to say the thing that made me crazy. There were several instances in this book where something was mentioned and you think it is important and then it was dropped. For instance, when the MC goes in the Louvre, it is mentioned that she checks her backpack in at the front--kind of like a coat check. Okay. No problem. But then, as she is trying to get out of the Louvre she kind of starts going down random hall after hall in search of an exit and finally finds one and leaves. Later, we see that she is on the street and has her back pack. Excuse me? How/when did she retrieve it? This drove me to distraction. Why was it even mentioned that she checked it in??? If you mention a small detail like this, it should be important later. Do not leave me hanging. It would've been differnt if we never saw her leave the Louvre because the reader could then assume she retrieved it. This was not the only scene that did this kind of thing. There was another in Denmark when she gets off a train and it is mentioned that she has to pee very badly. She does not know which restroom is mens or womens. As she is trying to decide, her ride comes, hustles her along to a boat, and we never find out of the poor girl ever got to pee!! I worried about her through the next few scenes! Okay--other than that, the book was a good read. Carry on with your lives.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Kathryn

    I read this book as an assignment from a mother-daughter book club that I am in with some friends from B.F. Day. It wasn't very good, and while the plot is a nice idea, the author didn't really write it very well. I mean, who would let thier daughter go overseas with no contact to the US and only carrying what she could fit in her backpack. And only haveing 1000 US dollars to spend. In addition to several other appalling facts, some of which are: letting your daughter do the following: 1 stay with a I read this book as an assignment from a mother-daughter book club that I am in with some friends from B.F. Day. It wasn't very good, and while the plot is a nice idea, the author didn't really write it very well. I mean, who would let thier daughter go overseas with no contact to the US and only carrying what she could fit in her backpack. And only haveing 1000 US dollars to spend. In addition to several other appalling facts, some of which are: letting your daughter do the following: 1 stay with a adult male to whom she is not related to, and you have no clue who he is other than she is your unreliable completely out of controll sister's friend 2 travel around unsupervised all over Europe following a pack of envelopes 3 go on a wild goose chase, the letters written by your sister who as I mentioned before is unreliable, and completely out of controll Oh, and by the way, did I mention that your daughter isn't even out of high school yet?

  6. 5 out of 5

    Katya

    Oh, book. I had such hopes for you. Here's the thing - I love travel stories. I love coming of age stories. So what's not to love about a coming of age story that involves lots and lots of traveling? It's a hard question to answer, and the fastest way to answer it is: Aunt Peg is one seriously bitter person. She lives without having constants. Fair enough. She does all sorts of menial, petty jobs while waiting for her career as an artist to hit off. Alright with me. Then she packs up and leaves for Oh, book. I had such hopes for you. Here's the thing - I love travel stories. I love coming of age stories. So what's not to love about a coming of age story that involves lots and lots of traveling? It's a hard question to answer, and the fastest way to answer it is: Aunt Peg is one seriously bitter person. She lives without having constants. Fair enough. She does all sorts of menial, petty jobs while waiting for her career as an artist to hit off. Alright with me. Then she packs up and leaves for Europe without contacting her family again. The next news they get from her is that she is dead. Then comes a letter instructing her niece to go to Europe without money, cell phone or any other means of communication - just a passport and a backpack, and instructions to do all sorts of weird things Ginny (the niece) is probably not comfortable with. And I ask - what kind of person does that to a niece they supposedly love? What kind of person expects her to jump on a plane to England with little more than the clothes on her back, without so much as an explenation. The only person who can be more annoying is the one who actually does it! Unfortunately, Ginny does just that. With surprisingly little drama from her parents, or if there was, it wasn't worth mentioning in the book. A lot of things seem not worth mentioning in the book, for example, why is Ginny not even remotely worried that her aunt's mystic journey might get her adbucted or killed or sold into slavery? Why does she trust all these people who she meets for the first time? Ginny does not rival Luce Price or Nora Gray in the TSTL heroines listing, but she does start a whole new category - Too Boring To Be Real (TBTBR. Sounds like a vaccine). The trademark TBTBR hero(ine) is distinguished by the fact that (s)he does exactly what s(he) is told with little to no deviation, never cheats, and at no point does anything to advance the plot. Ginny, unfortunately, qualifies for all these things. I know I'm going out on a tangent here. This isn't horrendously bad, far from it. There are actually some pretty good moments. But Ginny is by far the most uninvolved heroine I've yet to see. Even Bella Swan, who is known for her uselessness, did stuff to advance the plot of the book. Granted, some of that stuff wasn't very smart *coughjumpingoffcliffscough*, but still, it was something. Ginny just lets stuff happen to her and leaves it at that. I'm not saying all protagonists need to be uber confident and strong but this is a coming of age story without any coming of age in it. What does Ginny learn in the end of it? What does she do with that knowledge? How is she different from the person she once was? I certainly felt like nothing in her had changed.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Emer (A Little Haze)

    This was supposed to be my cute, inoffensive, fluffy, sweet, palate cleanser book... So much for best laid plans and all that. To start with the book has an utterly implausible set up, improbable love story, MC that is borderline stupid .... and by borderline I mean 100% stupid. I was trying to be nice but well..... It was laden with clichés and conveniences and was all rather bland... But I mean it was okay. I was expecting all of the aforementioned story set ups. And it was very fluffy and over This was supposed to be my cute, inoffensive, fluffy, sweet, palate cleanser book... So much for best laid plans and all that. To start with the book has an utterly implausible set up, improbable love story, MC that is borderline stupid .... and by borderline I mean 100% stupid. I was trying to be nice but well..... It was laden with clichés and conveniences and was all rather bland... But I mean it was okay. I was expecting all of the aforementioned story set ups. And it was very fluffy and overall fabulously undemanding of my already drained energy reserves. I was happily distracted, plodding along to a 2 star rating... Until I wasn't at all happy anymore. Until I got very angry. Until this book stole my good vibes and drained what little energy I had left. And here's why: Some backstory. Lead character Ginny has been given 13 envelopes each containing directions from her dead aunt about what to do over the course of one summer abroad. Envelope 6 tells her to head to the temple of the vestal virgins in Rome, and Ginny thereafter, remarks the following to herself... Go see old virgins! Now ask a strange boy out, you shy, retarded thing! Do you see the offending word?? I'm sorry. But no. I do not accept that this was the most appropriate word to use in this situation. Retarded has become synonymous with offensively describing someone with a mental illness and I am appalled that a YA author saw fit to use such a descriptor in her book. And what's more appalling is that this somehow got through editing and proof reading???? Sure. Call me overly sensitive if you want but I think this is a word that needs to be confined to the annals of history. Society evolves. Language evolves. Move with it. Do not casually throw in a word such as that as some sort of means to show that the lead character is self-deprecating / experiencing anxiety etc. Just nope. Absolutely 100% unnecessary and bang out of order. Especially not in a YA novel that has a target demographic of quite a young age. YA books must be held to a higher standard because of their ability to influence young minds that are just figuring out this world for the first time. And to add insult to injury in the same chapter that this offensive word appears, there is an attempted robbery by what are described as gypsy children and I'm like no. Can we not endorse all this negative cultural stereotyping??? Just call them delinquents but don't try to single them out due to their ethnicity or otherwise. It further enforces long-standing intolerance of minority groups and breeds an air of distrust around those who are not white and privileged AF. So no. This book is not for me and nor do I recommend it for anyone else. And it's rare that I ever say such things as I usually can see the potential in a book for a certain type of reader... But this time... No no no. one star

  8. 4 out of 5

    Aly (Fantasy4eva)

    I liked the premise. It was sort of interesting and cute. Dead Aunt sends niece on this unpredictable and slightly loony journey. (maybe not so cute). One very similar to the one that her aunt took when she felt a little lost and was dealing with a bit of a reality check. 17 year old Ginny doesn't think twice about it. She jets to her first destination, London. From there on it's one big ride. She goes through many experiences, and although it's a decent read, I just was not in love with the boo I liked the premise. It was sort of interesting and cute. Dead Aunt sends niece on this unpredictable and slightly loony journey. (maybe not so cute). One very similar to the one that her aunt took when she felt a little lost and was dealing with a bit of a reality check. 17 year old Ginny doesn't think twice about it. She jets to her first destination, London. From there on it's one big ride. She goes through many experiences, and although it's a decent read, I just was not in love with the book. I mean, I finished it fairly quickly. It never lagged, and I might even say that it was slightly engrossing. But it didn't feel all that memorable. The love interest? A bit of a jerk, not to mention a major bore. I could not for the life of me figure out what she saw in the guy. I also found her confession - regarding her falling for him, rather random, too. I actually recall getting into the book, but by the time I had finished it, I was kind of underwhelmed. Also, I didn't really connect with any characters. I felt lack of depth might have had something to to with it. I liked it, I just didn't love it. Oh, and the holiday is going rather well so far. A little homesick, but nothing I can't handle ;)

  9. 4 out of 5

    Zoë

    I listened to this book as an audio book during my drive to New Orleans which made me dislike the book even more (I didn't enjoy the reader's voice). I enjoyed the book in the beginning but soon felt like the story was dragging and every country visited after Paris was unnecessary. I also didn't really like any character in this book, they had no depth and weren't interesting or likable. The concept of this book was so intriguing but I was disappointed.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Kayley Hyde

    If you've ever been to Europe, thought about going to Europe, wanted to go about Europe or even heard of Europe...you'll love this book. It's a quick, fun summer read. Very clever and warm-hearted. I love the characters, the plot and just everything about it. It always keeps you guessing. One of my favourites. Maureen never lets me down.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Olivia-Savannah Roach

    13 Little Blue Envelopes was a book which had been in my TBR pile for quite some time. I was glad to finally be able to read it after I discovered Anissa @ TheBookworm Central wanted to reread it. We read it together and it was so nice to discuss this read with someone! What I loved the most about the story would have to be the traveling side of things. Ginny’s trip takes her all across Europe to places like London, Denmark, Amsterdam and so many more places. As she is an American, she really get 13 Little Blue Envelopes was a book which had been in my TBR pile for quite some time. I was glad to finally be able to read it after I discovered Anissa @ TheBookworm Central wanted to reread it. We read it together and it was so nice to discuss this read with someone! What I loved the most about the story would have to be the traveling side of things. Ginny’s trip takes her all across Europe to places like London, Denmark, Amsterdam and so many more places. As she is an American, she really gets culture shock and the author highlights elements of the cultures that I didn’t know, or hadn’t realised were so unique. As I am from Europe, I’d been to quite a few of these places, or lived in them, so it was nice to see them represented realistically and so beautifully depicted. It’s almost like an international road trip – who can’t appreciate that? I liked reading these envelopes for ourselves, and discovering a little bit more about her Aunt in each one. It’s important to remember that everything happening is part of Ginny’s grieving process as well. I’m not sure whether I like her aunt or not still – she was wonderfully wacky, but scared to really be herself and settle down. And she hurt people because of that. But you have to admire her really independent and artistic nature at the same time. I also liked Ginny’s character. She was extremely quiet and shy – even more so than me. I can be pretty shy sometimes but Ginny took it to a new level. I liked her weirdness and quirkiness. Although sometimes, I have to admit that I found that Ginny was the kind of person who let things happen to her, rather than took advantage of them herself. She was kind of innocent and oblivious to some things around her which bothered me at times. But not too much. I think this novel showed the benefits and the cons to traveling solo as well. But then again, she didn’t have much guidance throughout the whole thing. What I didn’t like about the novel had to be the ending. I was really getting invested, when all of a sudden the ending came. It did close some ends, but then it didn’t close some either. I didn’t agree with the choice that Ginny made in the end. It’s a personal thing, but I was also pretty disappointed. You’re probably thinking it’s the only negative thing I mentioned in the review, so why does it only get three stars? Because although I did enjoy the novel, it wasn’t mind-blowingly amazing. The pace was slow and steady the whole way through, and it didn’t have enough suspense or build up for me to be fully immersed in the novel. This review and others can be found on Olivia's Catastrophe: http://olivia-savannah.blogspot.com.e...

  12. 5 out of 5

    Jennifer Wardrip

    Reviewed by Dena Landon for TeensReadToo.com When Virginia Blackstone (Ginny) receives the first blue envelope from her Aunt Peg in the mail, it sends her on an exciting, funny, and sometimes poignant adventure that readers will be delighted to join. The envelope contains $1,000 in cash, and the instructions to pick up a package of envelopes that start Ginny on a trip around Europe, tracing the steps of her eccentric Aunt. The instructions are specific; no cell phones, no maps, and Ginny can only Reviewed by Dena Landon for TeensReadToo.com When Virginia Blackstone (Ginny) receives the first blue envelope from her Aunt Peg in the mail, it sends her on an exciting, funny, and sometimes poignant adventure that readers will be delighted to join. The envelope contains $1,000 in cash, and the instructions to pick up a package of envelopes that start Ginny on a trip around Europe, tracing the steps of her eccentric Aunt. The instructions are specific; no cell phones, no maps, and Ginny can only open one envelope at a time, after she's completed each task in the previous letter. Through the letters, Ginny learns more about what drove her Aunt to flee to Europe in pursuit of her art, and about her Aunt's last year of life, since Aunt Peg has passed away from a brain tumor by the time the first envelope arrives--and Ginny never got to say good-bye. Through her adventures, Ginny learns a lot about herself. Her own strength and ingenuity, her ability to forgive, and that she, too, can be an interesting person. Some of the tasks seem impossible; find the one café in all of Paris where her Aunt spent a month sleeping behind the bar and decorating the café to pay her rent. Others are easier, at least on the surface; find a starving artist and be his mysterious benefactor. Readers will both laugh at some of Ginny's mishaps and cringe at some of her mistakes as the envelopes lead her around Europe. Peopled with a strong cast of supporting characters--the cute playwright she meets in London, the annoying family of Americans with a "schedule" in Amsterdam, the crazy artist friends of her Aunt--the novel unfolds at a fast pace, while never losing its poignancy as Ginny retraces the steps of the Aunt she loved. Ms. Johnson has written an excellent and entertaining novel that I highly recommend.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Melanie

    See more reviews at YA Midnight Reads Mini mini review 13 Little Blue Envelopes is a quick, light read that will intrigue young readers from the first page. This 'road trip novel' is filled with adventure and a cute romance. Maureen Johnson manages to pull off an entertaining story in 300 pages that may not fulfil older readers' expectations. Looking at the Goodreads shelves for 13 Little Blue Envelopes, I'm quite positive that this should actually be under 'Middle Grade'. Now I love the MG genr See more reviews at YA Midnight Reads Mini mini review 13 Little Blue Envelopes is a quick, light read that will intrigue young readers from the first page. This 'road trip novel' is filled with adventure and a cute romance. Maureen Johnson manages to pull off an entertaining story in 300 pages that may not fulfil older readers' expectations. Looking at the Goodreads shelves for 13 Little Blue Envelopes, I'm quite positive that this should actually be under 'Middle Grade'. Now I love the MG genre, in fact, my top two authors are MG writers, so my level of expectation for a MG novel is set at the stars. 13LBE most definitely did my reach my standards. There were so many holes in the plot and the main character was so oblivious and annoying. While I thought the plot line was excellent, the way it was executed was horridly poor. All in all, I am not a big fan of Maureen's novel, it was my first one by her, and probably the last. Everything seemed to childish and just not for me. MG people can try this but MG readers may dispute this as it had nothing too remarkable or anything that screamed depth.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Flannery

    This book would be more aptly marketed as a book about what NOT to do on a trip abroad rather than a YA quasi-adventure/quasi-romance. The most common emotion it drew out of me was annoyance. What parent lets their 17-year-old child go to Europe alone WITH NO SUPPLIES? No parents, that's who. Ginny wasn't properly equipped to travel the way she did. She talks to strangers, goes back to apartments with random people, just walks around some places at night, and leaves her crap unattended like it i This book would be more aptly marketed as a book about what NOT to do on a trip abroad rather than a YA quasi-adventure/quasi-romance. The most common emotion it drew out of me was annoyance. What parent lets their 17-year-old child go to Europe alone WITH NO SUPPLIES? No parents, that's who. Ginny wasn't properly equipped to travel the way she did. She talks to strangers, goes back to apartments with random people, just walks around some places at night, and leaves her crap unattended like it is her job. I'm surprised she didn't end up in a child sex trafficking ring. No, seriously, I am. Her "romance" with Keith (who is named Keith these days? I think all Keiths should just be born into middle-age) is weak and pretty unbelievable. We find out basically nothing about the main character, she shows no growth, and the ending is lame. The best part about the entire book is the backstory of Richard and Peg. Richard was likable and seemed realistic. I just don't get it, though: The parents of this child allowed her to go "all over the world" with no cell phone, camera, traveler's checks, no money (until she gets some in London, but they would never know that because she can't make any phone calls home), and NO CONTACTS. And we are supposed to believe this? I can't get my eyebrows to come back down even while I write this review. The reason it gets 2 stars instead of 1 is because I love European adventures and it was mildly entertaining. But I wouldn't recommend it to anyone.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Yoda

    It's a such amazing story! Well written, interesting and unexpected. Maureen Johnsons discriptions were so vivid I could've swore I was traveling through Europe with her. It's an easy read, and a really feel good kind of novel. All about finding yourself in the midts of unkown cities and countries. Thank you Maureen Johnson for taking me on this incredible journey.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Angel Gelique

    Ginger "Ginny" Blackstone, a seventeen-year-old college-bound girl, receives a letter from her deceased aunt instructing her to pick up a package from her former apartment. The package contains twelve additional envelopes, numbered two through thirteen. As per her aunt's insistence, Ginny must open an envelope only after completing the task from the previous envelope. The first envelope sends her to London with no money, cell phone, computer or guidebook. Ginny begins her adventure. I honestly Ginger "Ginny" Blackstone, a seventeen-year-old college-bound girl, receives a letter from her deceased aunt instructing her to pick up a package from her former apartment. The package contains twelve additional envelopes, numbered two through thirteen. As per her aunt's insistence, Ginny must open an envelope only after completing the task from the previous envelope. The first envelope sends her to London with no money, cell phone, computer or guidebook. Ginny begins her adventure. I honestly wanted to enjoy this book much more than I did. But I hated the fact that a young girl imprudently travels to unfamiliar regions and places herself in some precarious situations. Though I understand the aunt's desire for Ginny to follow in her footsteps by traveling throughout Europe on a journey of self-discovery, I think it was improper for the aunt to posthumously impose her will in attempt to pave Ginny's destiny. But aside from that personal gripe, I didn't really care for any of the characters, especially Keith. I can't understand why Ginny cared so much for him in such a short period. The only character I liked is Richard, who was sweet, sensible and helpful. Nor did I find the story particularly enthralling, either, until the ending. I will read the second book to see if it can drastically change my mind about this story....

  17. 5 out of 5

    jv poore

    I've no doubt that I'd thoroughly enjoy reading the side of a cereal box if Maureen Johnson wrote it.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Katie

    I really wanted to read this book while I was in China because it has to do with travel. I was traveling, Ginny was traveling - it seemed the thing to do. I read it in two days, as well, which is saying something. But still, there was something lacking for me in this novel. First, I'll admit that this is definitely a fast-paced read. I was never bored with the story. The constant change of setting kept the book clipping along at a pretty breakneck speed. Ginny visits a crazy amount of countries i I really wanted to read this book while I was in China because it has to do with travel. I was traveling, Ginny was traveling - it seemed the thing to do. I read it in two days, as well, which is saying something. But still, there was something lacking for me in this novel. First, I'll admit that this is definitely a fast-paced read. I was never bored with the story. The constant change of setting kept the book clipping along at a pretty breakneck speed. Ginny visits a crazy amount of countries in this 350-page novel, including England, Scotland, Greece, France, Denmark, and Italy, to name a few. But with this constant change of scenery, I never truly felt connected with any of the characters, not even Ginny herself. There's little said about our protagonist before we're thrown into this grand adventure that her insane aunt sends her on. Even at the end of the book, I didn't feel like I really knew much about Ginny or her character motivation. And what kind of crazy parents would allow their teenage daughter to gallivant around Europe unchaperoned and with no contact? I had a really hard time swallowing that. Really, the only character we learn much about is Ginny's aunt, and only through her letters and what Ginny says about her. Honestly, I felt like there was more narration devoted to the aunt than Ginny herself. But this wasn't supposed to be a book about Ginny's aunt; it was supposed to be about Ginny. Right? Then there's the "romance." I put quotation marks around it because it never really felt like a true romance to me. There was pretty much zero chemistry, and the love interest isn't really that essential to the story. He pops up in England, then again in Paris, and we never really see him again until the very end. It was weird. And Ginny's one-minute stand with an Italian at his house? Even weirder. I wasn't on board with the lackluster romance. But all that being said, it was an interesting book. I love travel and creative nonfiction travel journal-esque things, so I was interested and kept reading simply because of that aspect. I've never been to Europe, so I enjoyed the descriptions and experiencing everything for the first time, right along with Ginny. I just wish that I had gotten to know the characters better. The Last Little Blue Envelope was released recently, and I think I'll probably read that one. But it's certainly not at the top of my list. I just want to know what the stupid final letter says!

  19. 4 out of 5

    Merythapy

    Yeah, it's unrealistic: no parents would send their daughter off for a month with no contact, especially if she's never travelled before. But... who really cares? It's a fairy tale. A lot of the travel stuff *was* very authentic and struck a very strong chord with me. The only thing I really missed were the Canadians, although she definitely got the Taking Up With Random Australians thing. I think it would be a great book to read before traveling, or while traveling. Excellent travel feel, with Yeah, it's unrealistic: no parents would send their daughter off for a month with no contact, especially if she's never travelled before. But... who really cares? It's a fairy tale. A lot of the travel stuff *was* very authentic and struck a very strong chord with me. The only thing I really missed were the Canadians, although she definitely got the Taking Up With Random Australians thing. I think it would be a great book to read before traveling, or while traveling. Excellent travel feel, with just enough romance and mystery to keep you interested.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Shay

    Aunt Peg is dead and the thing she left Ginny? A little blue envelope with $1000 and the instructions to buy a plane ticket. So begins the adventure! This is a lovely tale of a girl following the trail of her aunt's life and discovering herself along the way.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Patrícia

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. RATING: 1.5 stars (barely). Let's see if I can piece together some sort of review for this book. But I must warn you now: it's not going to be objective and I suspect it is more of a rant then a review. Imagine that you're a 17-year-old, completely average and normal American girl who just happens to have a fun but somewhat crazy [favourite] aunt. Said aunt decides suddenly to leave her New York flat and the next thing you (the teenager) and your family know she is dead. Then an envelope comes for RATING: 1.5 stars (barely). Let's see if I can piece together some sort of review for this book. But I must warn you now: it's not going to be objective and I suspect it is more of a rant then a review. Imagine that you're a 17-year-old, completely average and normal American girl who just happens to have a fun but somewhat crazy [favourite] aunt. Said aunt decides suddenly to leave her New York flat and the next thing you (the teenager) and your family know she is dead. Then an envelope comes for you (annoying little and blue) and it's from your aunt and she wants you to grab the 1000 dollars in the envelope and buy a ticket to London. And you just... go. Why? I don't know. A letter comes for you, out-of-the-blue asking you, a teenager, to go from America to Europe with only a backpack and a set of written instructions. I'm sure everyone must have realized what the problem with this entire story line is. Yep. I doubt there are many parents out there who would let their teenage daughter just catch a plane to Europe with no money, barely any clothes and no cell phone. What? I mean, what? I just didn't buy it. And the fact thar there was no conversation between the main character (Ginny) and her parents at all didn't make it any better, obviously. Still this is fiction. This is teen fiction. I was willing to suspend my disbelief at this completely wacky plot line. Maybe something interesting would happen. But it didn't. The entire book is just about Ginny (Virginia) who is possibly one of the most dull protagonists ever (just like Finley, remember her?) running around all over Europe with a backpack, very little cash and no maps. I could suspend my disbelief no longer; 13 Little Blue Envelopes just didn't work. It was implausible, random and in spite of all the descriptions of European cities, boring. Any self-respecting person, teenager or not would be annoyed that their aunt was apparently making them travel all over for no discernible or logical reason, but not Ginny. Since she is dull, as I mentioned above and just devoid of any personality whatsoever she meekly followed all the crazy instructions in the various envelopes and I was honestly surprised she didn't get lost and/or wasn't repeatedly robbed or beaten up for the contents of her backpack. Johnson's descriptions of Europe are flawed, as if it is some sort of magical land where nothing wrong ever happens. Oh, sure, Ginny has some problems but somehow they get solved in the most fantastic and unrealistic ways: like, when she didn't have a place to stay, an American family just happened to find her and invite her to stay with them. Of course, no teen novel is complete without a romantic interest. Ginny falls for Keith, an English wannabe-actor (at first sight, of course). They keep running into each other (either because they're going the same way or because he decides to show up where she is, at random, as if traveling through Europe costs no money at all) but don't ever know each other very well. But they are still in luurve. In the end there was no point to the whole exercise. Ginny traveled, met a few people and went back home. She didn't change much (or if she did, we're never told). Overall: this book was... not very good. It was pointless, dull and random. The main character was not interesting at all, her quest was annoying vapid and unrealistic and in the end nothing changed. The whole setting was too implausible for words. When I compare this book to the recent YA paranormal fiction I read and find the fantasy books more believable than this one then something is definitely wrong. I wouldn't recommend this to anyone, teenagers or adults. There is just too much in this book that doesn't work.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Reynje

    2.5 stars I enjoyed this enough as I read it - I was sick, jetlagged and in need of something pleasantly escapist – and this book did the trick. It’s a light, fun read and I quite like Maureen Johnson’s writing (admittedly more so in her other books than this one, though). But ultimately I just found the story rather forgettable (and a little implausible). I found Ginny to be a fairly delible (thank you, The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks for the neglected positive there!) character 2.5 stars I enjoyed this enough as I read it - I was sick, jetlagged and in need of something pleasantly escapist – and this book did the trick. It’s a light, fun read and I quite like Maureen Johnson’s writing (admittedly more so in her other books than this one, though). But ultimately I just found the story rather forgettable (and a little implausible). I found Ginny to be a fairly delible (thank you, The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks for the neglected positive there!) character, and consequently didn’t form much of a connection with her story. Also, personal taste here, but the name “Keith”? No, just.. no.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Ying

    I felt that this was only an okay book from Maureen Johnson and that it paled in comparison to my favorite from her, Girl at Sea. There was a good plotline that promised adventure and romance in a foreign country that I was dissappointed to find did not exist. While it was an excellent idea, I felt the story did not develop well enough and it didn't go too in-depth. This book could have been better written but otherwise, still a good read.

  24. 4 out of 5

    April

    13 Little Blue Envelopes by Maureen Johnson is a modern day coming of age story. It centers around Virginia 'Ginny' Blackstone, a 17 year old girl who is given a letter in a blue envelope. The letter tells her to fly to London, but she can't bring any crutches. What ensues is a fantastic adventure. Read the rest of my review here

  25. 4 out of 5

    Miriam Mathew

    This was a light, fluffy read which I particularly enjoyed. I really liked the characters- they had a sense of depth to them and each place that the heroine travelled to was described in a specific way that made it really easy for me to visualise the scene. Overall, I think it deserves 3 stars.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Chelsea

    Not as good as the first time around

  27. 4 out of 5

    Olivia & Lori (The Candid Cover)

    I had been waiting to read the Little Blue Envelopes series by Maureen Johnson for a while, and I was so glad to finally get the chance his summer. The story is both cute and inspiring, and the main character transforms. In my opinion, the story should have ended with the first book, but the sequel is still interesting enough. This is the perfect book for those looking for an adventurous read. Full review on The Candid Cover

  28. 5 out of 5

    Brooke ♥booklife4life♥

    Basic Info Format: Audio Pages/Length: 6hrs and 52mins. Genre: Young Adult; Contemporary. At A Glance Love Triangle/Insta Love/Obsession?: Insta. Cliff Hanger: Eh. Triggers: n/a Rating: 2 Stars Score Sheet All out of ten Cover: 8 Plot: 7 Characters: 6 World Building: 5 Flow: 5 Series Congruity: n/a Writing: 6 Ending: 6 Total: 5 In Dept Best Part: Paris! Worst Part: Boringggg. Thoughts Had: really!; that's how you get raped!; boredddddd. Conclusion Continuing the Series: eh Recommending: eh Short Review: Okay every tim Basic Info Format: Audio Pages/Length: 6hrs and 52mins. Genre: Young Adult; Contemporary. At A Glance Love Triangle/Insta Love/Obsession?: Insta. Cliff Hanger: Eh. Triggers: n/a Rating: 2 Stars Score Sheet All out of ten Cover: 8 Plot: 7 Characters: 6 World Building: 5 Flow: 5 Series Congruity: n/a Writing: 6 Ending: 6 Total: 5 In Dept Best Part: Paris! Worst Part: Boringggg. Thoughts Had: really!; that's how you get raped!; boredddddd. Conclusion Continuing the Series: eh Recommending: eh Short Review: Okay every time i read about a girl just going to Europe all by themselves, i just cringe. That is how girls get either raped or sold in sex trades or murdered, but no, not in the fiction world. In the fiction world you ALWAYS meet some boy who just drops everything to show you around and be your "guide". GAG. Glad she doesn't even think to Google the conversion of pounds to dollars before spending all her money. The story is just too much to believe for me. Misc. Book Boyfriend: Nope. Best Friend Material: N/A Review in GIF Form:

  29. 5 out of 5

    F

    After hearing a lot of praise surrounding Maureen Johnson, I decided to give one of her books ago. Admittedly I chose 13 Little Blue Envelopes as it happened to be cheap in the Kindle Store, knowing little about the book I plunged straight in with high expectations. These were dashed remarkably quickly. Our heroine, Ginny, is ridiculous from the beginning. Perhaps it is because that is all we know of her, her name. Despite assurances that Ginny's mother is strictly disapproving, especially of h After hearing a lot of praise surrounding Maureen Johnson, I decided to give one of her books ago. Admittedly I chose 13 Little Blue Envelopes as it happened to be cheap in the Kindle Store, knowing little about the book I plunged straight in with high expectations. These were dashed remarkably quickly. Our heroine, Ginny, is ridiculous from the beginning. Perhaps it is because that is all we know of her, her name. Despite assurances that Ginny's mother is strictly disapproving, especially of her wayward free spirit of a younger sister, she doesn't seem to mind that her daughter takes off on a back-packing trip across Europe with only the "there in spirit" of her dead aunt. Furthermore, it becomes apparent all too quickly that Ginny herself is ill equipped to take a trip across the continent. Being British it was almost painful to read Johnson's descriptions of London and continual failings in her research. Ginny is confused by the smallest things, including our (shock, horror) abnormally shaped money, ATM machines and public transport. Clearly not a girl who should go traipsing around Europe and getting into cars with strangers. It isn't just Ginny who is ill equipped for Europe however, Johnson herself clearly wouldn't get by with her continual incorrect details about the countries her character visits.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Grace

    The concept of the story, and especially the way the story unfolded, was so preposterous that it makes Twilight realistic. Seventeen year old Ginny receives 13 envelopes from her aunt, and needs to follow the instructions one at a time. This involves going to Europe and getting into stupid situations that miraculously resolve themselves. The first quarter of the story wasn't bad. The envelope containing Ginny's instructions to help an artist through donating a generous gift, were described with The concept of the story, and especially the way the story unfolded, was so preposterous that it makes Twilight realistic. Seventeen year old Ginny receives 13 envelopes from her aunt, and needs to follow the instructions one at a time. This involves going to Europe and getting into stupid situations that miraculously resolve themselves. The first quarter of the story wasn't bad. The envelope containing Ginny's instructions to help an artist through donating a generous gift, were described with believable build-up to the resolution, through details from the author and Ginny making decisions that made sense. But then it was just downhill into stupidity. Situations that were so unbelievable, but not in a sense that was supposed to be humorous, just finding an easy way to explain away the chapter and move onto the next envelope. Plus Ginny was very two dimensional. I do not recommend this book at all.

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