BookBrowse Reviews 13 Little Blue Envelopes by Maureen Johnson

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13 Little Blue Envelopes

by Maureen Johnson

13 Little Blue Envelopes by Maureen Johnson X
13 Little Blue Envelopes by Maureen Johnson
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  • First Published:
    Sep 2005, 317 pages
    Paperback:
    Oct 2006, 318 pages

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A sure hit with fans of The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants. Ages 12-18

From the book jacket: Everything about Ginny will change this summer, and it's all because of the 13 Little Blue Envelopes.  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 her artist, a playwright/thief/bloke-about-town called Keith, go to Scotland together, with somewhat disastrous -- though utterly romantic -- results. Ginny isn't sure she'll see Keith again, and definitely doesn't know what to think about him.  Could the answer be in the envelopes?

Ginny doesn't know it, but adventures in Rome and Paris are in envelopes 6 and 8. The rules are that she has to open one at a time, in order, so perhaps it isn't surprising that she discovers things about her life and love one by one. Everything about Ginny will change this summer, and it's all because of the 13 Little Blue Envelopes.

Comment: As the story opens we find 17 year-old Ginny setting off on a glorified scavenger hunt across Europe following the directions of her formerly wayward but recently deceased aunt.   Putting aside that the opening premise does stretch credibility somewhat (would Ginny's mother, who is described as someone who was "born practical" and "encouraged her younger sister to become an accountant, like herself", really allow Ginny to go off into the wild blue yonder with no known destination and no money?) it's easy to get absorbed into Ginny's journey of self-discovery.  This would be a great choice for teenage girls who are drawn to such books as The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants.

Did you know?  13 Little Blue Envelopes won the 2005 Cuffie Award in the category of "Book We Could Have Sold with a Better Cover".   The Cuffies, short for off the cuff, are an informal, fun, annual poll of children's booksellers conducted by Publishers Weekly.   The complaint being, " Could someone please stop giving the publishers stock photos of slutty teen girls?"

This review was originally published in The BookBrowse Review in November 2005, and has been updated for the October 2006 edition. Click here to go to this issue.

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