13 Little Blue Envelopes ~ Maureen Johnson
Highschool is hard enough without random letters arriving from eccentric (albeit well-loved) aunts. Seventeen-year-old Ginny knows this but does she really? She’s about to find out as a letter arrives from her long-lost, “artsy” Aunt Peg, sending her on a mission to end all missions. Turns out that the first letter is only one of a set, sending her on a whirlwind trip through Europe.
Doesn’t sound too bad, right? Well, she does have a few restrictions. Along with some extra cash and a few clues, Ginny has been sent some pretty strict rules via her benefactor:
Right, so, these aren’t exactly things that would encourage a normal Jersey teen to drop everything and run but Ginny takes her assignment seriously. She is soon on her way and what a fun way it is! Though there are dark shadows and snake pits, the whole thing just makes the reader want to quit her day job and grab a Euro rail pass. True to what I can remember from the last time I read a Maureen Johnson creation, this is a typical quirky and funny read with sparks of love but not totally bogged down in romance. The adventure, itself, is true enough to my own travel adventures with lost luggage, wet clothes but, you know, generally a good time.
The only thing I found lacking wasn’t so much terrible but simply, well, that: lacking. I think that I was longing for a little bit more at the beginning in terms of character set up. The whole trip turns out to be so life changing and Big with a capital B, that I felt there could have been a bit more in terms of setting up Ginny’s personality prior to the trip. We get the impression, a few times, that she is fairly shy but there’s not much in way of showing that before the trip begins. It’s mostly realized in retrospect and not to a deep degree. Again, it’s the only thing that I felt was lacking and it wasn’t distracting enough to put me off completely.
Over all, it was an adorable book. I also read it on my own little whirlwind trip (though it was a short trip with no spicy European boys) so I had the added benefit of pretending that my Atlanta-Boston flight was, perhaps going somewhere a bit more extravagant. I’ll probably wait until the sequel is out in paperback but I might get impatient and break down.