Saturday, February 15, 2014

13 Little Blue Envelopes

13 Little Blue Envelopes by Maureen Johnson
Publication Date: December 21, 2010
Publisher: HarperTeen
Pages: 322
Keywords: travel, Europe, art
Format Read: paperback

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.

Confession time: I have never read a Maureen Johnson book. I really don't know how it happened, but it just did. So when I found this at Half Price Books for literally $1.50 I knew it was time.

The premise of the book I think is what is most interesting to me. There's a mystery aspect to it that compels the reader to want to know what the other letters say. In addition, there's the cute traveling and romance aspect, but the flirty bit takes a side stage to Ginny's main adventure, which is to learn more about her aunt, and in turn, herself, which was a refreshing change from what I was expecting (I thought it was going to be hardcore love at first sight teenager love).

I loved how truthful the travel was. I studied abroad in England for a semester in 2012. It is expensive. And hostels are gross. They're convenient and cheap. But gross. So when Ginny had to deal with shared bathrooms and fares for sheets and disgusting lockers, I was laughing and nodding my head, smiling at Maureen because I've been there. It is that way. It's not all glamour and fun and adventurous person abroad. I loved that Ginny smelled after awhile because hygiene becomes not a thing. I loved that she ran away from a hostel. I loved that expensive stuff happened and it freaked her out and that money became an issue at points because she didn't have any.

This book was super fun to read and a welcome distraction from the insanity that is polar vortex 2014. I had a lot of happiness from it, and though it wasn't superb or genius or anything, it was fun to read and enjoyable.

Read When: You want a good, solid travel story that is also fun, cute, and reminiscent of summer.

  The thing I actually don't like is the cover. It's very early 2000s, and I don't think it reflects the feel of the book at all. (My design class this semester has to redesign a book cover, so I may tackle this at some point in the future). The girl on the front does not give off the image that Ginny portrays, and I would like to see a little hardship travel stuff on the front. I think this one is just too busy and not serious enough for the book.


  1. I LOVE Maureen Johnson so I really need to read this one! It sounds like the perfect contemporary book :D Great review!

    PS. Thank you for the lovely comment you left on my blog, it made my day :) I love your blog too, your design is gorgeous. :)

    1. Thank you for YOUR comment! :) comments are my favorite, and I love interacting with other bloggers.
      And I can't believe I've never read Maureen Johnson before now, so I'll definitely be picking up more.

  2. I really liked this one too! Travel books are really interesting to read. The premise is probably the most interesting part to me too. :) Great review!

  3. This is one of the first books I read when I was starting to get into YA again. I read it in a day on the beach and it was amazing. So much fun. It's books like these that always make me want to travel so badly.


I love receiving comments. I read each and every comment and do my best to respond and visit your blog.