13 Little Blue Envelopes by Maureen Johnson

13 Little Blue Envelopes

“I like you because you were mad. And you’re pretty. And pretty sane for a mad person.”
-Keith Dobson

Although it seemed interesting, this was another of those books that I thought I would absolutely despise from the very beginning. It seemed a little too girly for my taste, and the review on the back that said something like “fairy-tale ending” didn’t help. But I was wrong, as I usually am with books I’m unsure about.

The summer before she starts her senior year of high school, Ginny Blackstone receives thirteen envelopes in the mail from her Aunt Peg, who died of brain cancer while travelling across Europe. The instructions in the envelopes are simple, leading Ginny on the same route her aunt travelled on. As Ginny follows her aunt’s directions, she wonders why she was sent to Europe in the first place, and what the last envelope will contain.

It was upsetting to see the book end so quickly, but I enjoyed the experience. Throughout her travels, Ginny meets so many kind and strange people that you already know she’ll never see again after the trip. Some of the envelopes make her do odd or unusual things, all while making you question the purpose of the trip.

I do have one small complaint about this book, though. I saw one review on GoodReads that criticized Maureen Johnson for not developing the character of Ginny more. The review said something along the lines of “Even at the end of the book, I still knew nothing about her.” And it’s true, kind of. The only things I can say to describe her is that she’s tall, according to another character named Keith, and shy, judging by her reluctance to ask a boy out or sing karaoke. That’s all. So, yes, I believe Maureen Johnson really needs to work on character development.

And that’s pretty much all I have to say. I really, really hope this review actually publishes, unlike the last two I tried to publish that completely disappeared. If anything does happen to this review, please comment or email me to let me know.

-J

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