Excerpt from 13 Little Blue Envelopes by Maureen Johnson, plus links to reviews, author biography & more

Summary |  Excerpt |  Reviews |  Beyond the Book |  Readalikes |  Genres & Themes |  Author Bio

13 Little Blue Envelopes

by Maureen Johnson

13 Little Blue Envelopes by Maureen Johnson X
13 Little Blue Envelopes by Maureen Johnson
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

  • First Published:
    Sep 2005, 317 pages
    Paperback:
    Oct 2006, 318 pages

    Genres

  • Rate this book


Book Reviewed by:
BookBrowse Review Team
Buy This Book

About this Book

Print Excerpt


There was a tiny tinkle of a chime and a sharp blast of air-conditioning as Ginny opened the door. Standing behind the counter was a pixie of a woman manning three phones at once. This was Alice, the owner, and Aunt Peg's favorite neighbor. She smiled broadly when she saw Ginny and held up a finger, indicating that she should wait.

"Ginny," Alice said, hanging up two of the phones and setting down the third. "Package. Peg."

She disappeared through a bamboo curtain that covered a door into the back. Alice was Chinese, but she spoke perfect English (Aunt Peg had told her so). But because she always had to get right to the point (4th Noodle did a brisk business), she spoke in halting single words.

Nothing had changed since the last time Ginny had been here. She looked up at the illuminated pictures of Chinese food, the shiny plastic visions of sesame shrimp and chicken and broccoli. They glowed, not quite tantalizingly, more radioactively. The chicken pieces were a little too glossy and orange. The sesame seeds too white and too large. The broccoli was so green it seemed to vibrate. There was the blown-up and framed picture of Rudy Giuliani standing with a glowing Alice, taken when he had shown up one day.

It was the smell, though, that was most familiar. The heavy, fatty smell of sizzling beef and pork and peppers and the sweetish odor of vats of steaming rice. This was the scent that seeped through Aunt Peg's floor and perfumed her.

It rang such a chord in Ginny's memory that she almost swung her head around to see if Aunt Peg was standing there behind her.

But, of course, she couldn't be.

"Here," Alice said, emerging from the beaded curtain with a brown paper package in her hand. "For Ginny."

The package—an overstuffed padded brown envelope—was indeed addressed to her, Virginia Blackstone, care of Alice at 4th Noodle, New York City. It was postmarked from London and had the faintest aura of grease.

"Thanks," Ginny said, accepting the package as gracefully as she could, given that she couldn't lean over without falling face-first onto the counter.

"Say hi to Peg for me," Alice said, picking up the phone and launching straight into an order.

"Right . . ." Ginny nodded. "Um, sure."

Once she was out on the street, scanning Avenue A nervously for the cab she was going to have to hail for herself, Ginny wondered if she should have told Alice what had happened. But she was soon distracted by the sheer terror that her task caused her. Cabs were yellow beasts that sped through New York, whisking people who had to be places to the places they had to be and leaving terrified pedestrians scrambling for cover.

No, she thought, raising a timid hand as far as she could as a herd of her prey suddenly appeared. There was no reason to tell Alice what had happened. She barely believed it herself. And besides, she had to go.


The Adventures of Aunt Peg

When Aunt Peg was Ginny's age (seventeen), she ran away from her home in New Jersey, just two weeks before she was supposed to go off to Mount Holyoke on a full scholarship. She reappeared a week later and seemed surprised by the fact that people were upset with her. She needed to think about what she wanted to accomplish in school, she explained, so she'd gone off to Maine and met some people who built hand-crafted fishing boats. Also, she wasn't going to school now, she informed everyone. She was going to take a year off and work. And she did. She gave up her scholarship and spent the next year waitressing at a big seafood restaurant in downtown Philadelphia and living with three other people in a small South Street apartment.

The foregoing is excerpted from 13 Little Bue Envelopes by Maureen Johnson. All rights reserved. No part of this book may be used or reproduced without written permission from HarperCollins Publishers, 10 East 53rd Street, New York, NY 10022. All Rights Reserved.

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" articles
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $12 for 3 months or $39 for a year.
  • More about membership!

Join BookBrowse

Become a Member and discover books that entertain, engage & enlighten.

Find out more


Today's Top Picks

  • Book Jacket: Yolk
    Yolk
    by Mary Choi
    Mary H.K. Choi's young adult offering Yolk deftly maintains several plotlines running through the ...
  • Book Jacket: The Blizzard Party
    The Blizzard Party
    by Jack Livings
    It is 1978 and the place is New York City. A massive bacchanalian party is taking place at an Upper ...
  • Book Jacket: The Light of Days
    The Light of Days
    by Judy Batalion
    Renia, Sarah, Zivia, Frumka, Hantze, Tosia, Vladka, Chajka, Gusta, Hela, Bela, Lonka, Tema, Chasia, ...
  • Book Jacket: Hummingbird Salamander
    Hummingbird Salamander
    by Jeff VanderMeer
    In Hummingbird Salamander, Jeff VanderMeer weaves cybersecurity, bioterrorism, wildlife trafficking ...

Readers Recommend

  • Book Jacket

    The Funny Thing About Norman Foreman
    by Julietta Henderson

    A charming, uplifting debut about a mother and her 12-year-old son, an aspiring comedian.

    Reader Reviews
  • Book Jacket

    The Widow Queen
    by Elzbieta Cherezinska

    The epic story of an 11th century Polish queen whose life and name were all but forgotten until now.

    Reader Reviews
Book Club Discussion
Book Jacket
Miss Austen
by Gill Hornby
A witty, poignant novel about Cassandra Austen and her famous sister, Jane.
Win This Book!
Win The Beauty of Your Face

A New York Times Notable Book of 2020

"Stunning.… A timely family saga with faith and forgiveness at its core."
Marie Claire

Enter

Wordplay

Solve this clue:

It's N S O M N

and be entered to win..

Books that     
entertain,
     engage

 & enlighten

Visitors can view some of BookBrowse for free. Full access is for members only.

Join Today!

Your guide toexceptional          books

BookBrowse seeks out and recommends the best in contemporary fiction and nonfiction—books that not only engage and entertain but also deepen our understanding of ourselves and the world around us.