TITLE: 13 Little Blue Envelopes
AUTHOR: Maureen Johnson
LENGTH: 368 pages
ORIGINAL PUBLICATION DATE: 2005
SUMMARY: (via amazon.com) When Ginny receives 13 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 that one. Life and love are waiting for her across the Atlantic, and the 13 little blue envelopes are the key to finding them in this funny, romantic, heartbreaking novel.
REVIEW: I enjoyed this book. I think I would have enjoyed the book even more if I hadn’t listened to it as an audiobook. The narrator was a little to perfectly paced for me. Being a fan of Maureen Johnson’s, I am familiar with her voice and writing style. This narrator did not do it justice. At all. It was like listening to an elocution professor try to do comedy. In this narrator’s voice, Aunt Peg seems stuffily deranged instead of impulsive and quirky and Ginny seems horribly innocent and naive even though she is supposed to be a 17 year-old confident enough to strike out on her own in Europe. I almost stopped listening several times but to Johnson’s credit, the story is so engaging I just had to keep going to see where Ginny would end up next.
The story itself is unique and fresh in its simplicity. The whole concept of Ginny’s journey is intriguing and causes one to think about what living life should really entail. Ginny’s route through Europe would cause almost anyone to begin keeping a wish list of places to see and things to do. The people she meets along the way are fleshed out characters with issues of their own who become a part of Ginny’s quest to understand herself and the world around her better. Ultimately, Ginny’s imperfection is the thing that’s so endearing. The lesson this reader took away from the book is that everyone’s plodding along trying to make sense of things. Trust your gut and take chances, because it’s important to look around between struggles and EXPERIENCE the experience.