13 Little Blue Envelopes

By Maureen Johnson

From Goodreads: When Ginny receives thirteen little blue envelopes and instructions to buy a plane ticket to London, she knows something exciting is going to happen. What Ginny doesn’t know is that she will have the adventure of her life and it will change her in more ways than one. Life and love are waiting for her across the Atlantic, and the thirteen little blue envelopes are the key to finding them in this funny, romantic, heartbreaking novel.

Why it’s my type: I came into this book expecting a lot. I had heard great things of Maureen Johnson, and so my expectations inevitably got ahead of themselves, as they sometimes tend to do. And at times while reading this I did think: Hm, I could pick up another book right now; hmm, where is this going? But then the ending came around and I concluded–gosh darnit, this whole damn book now makes absolute perfect sense. Johnson, you’ve done it!

So what’s holding it back then? You may be wondering. Is there anything? If it’s as great as you claim, then let the world know why don’t you! There is a single, teensie part of this book that holds it back, for me. See, for me, a book is an entire beautiful package. And I value the presentation, just as I value the story within.

It is that bodacious bod on the cover.  I don’t know who she is, but she is certainly not Ginny. Ginny–who as a rule tries to generally go unnoticed–I could relate to and see myself in. But that hot to trot cover model, with her midriff bearing low-riders (am I 60?), she intimated me I suppose. She (and her vibe) just didn’t seem like the kind of girl I’d like to pick up and hang out with for a while. Hey, double entendre. I feel there is a moral lurking somewhere around here. . .

And now it’s time to wrap this up. 🙂

Recommendation: Anyway, it was an incredibly smart, charming, coming of age contemporary adventure. For those times when you really need a–this is real life–read. With just the perfect amount of of heartstring-tugging that creeps up on you little by little.

Standout Script: “For the rest of the month, I lived in the cafe. I managed to get some blankets and pillows and I made myself a little sleeping nest behind the bar. I went to the market for food and cooked my meals in the little kitchen. It didn’t really matter if it was day or night–I painted all the time, whenever I felt like it. I slept with the paint fumes. I dreamed about the designs. I permanently stained the skin under my left thumbnail blue. I made curtains from aprons I found in a secondhand shop. I bought up old plates, smashed them in the courtyard out back, and made them into a mosaic. My Paris was just this tiny room, and a few junk shopes, and occassionally walks down the street either at night or when it was raining. This, I thought, is what Paris is all about.”

“It wasn’t as easy for Ginny to get over the fence. . .Keith finally persuaded her to swing her leg over or she was definitely going to get caught. He almost managed to catch her as she hurled herself down and was very good about helping her off the ground.”

Published: 2005 by HarperCollins Children’s Books.

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One thought on “13 Little Blue Envelopes

  1. Ahh, you are making it more and more essential that I read this book! I’ve already heard so many good things, and apparently there is a sequel (hintyhint: you could totally cover that too when it’s released and you get to read it)…

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