Title: 13 Little Blue Envelopes
Author: Maureen Johnson
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.
This is one of those books that I didn’t mind the story or the blurb. I think I only picked this up because it’s blue. I know I have that impulse. I had this since 2016 but I wasn’t really into YAs the past year. Though what a waste if I won’t read it, so here we go! Who doesn’t want to backpack in Europe, right?
This is written in third person perspective but is mainly focused on Ginny’s viewpoint. I think it would be much better or effective if I was able to connect with the other characters as well. But then again, it’s really just about Ginny all along.
The letters’ format is cute and the way Ginny’s Aunt Peg ends each is remarkable. She must be the coolest aunt.
At first, I really think the story is absurd. Ginny’s aunt, who is now dead, left these little envelopes telling her to do this and that. I mean, who does that? Who sends her niece to Europe to follow your steps just so she could learn and see things the way you did? Adults really do that sometimes, don’t they? As if they know what we want. But, as I go through the whole narrative, I think Ginny and her Aunt Peg are both different and unique in their own ways, but they get each other’s differences. That’s kind of a strong relationship to be shared.
I also love how the story revolves around art. And what continent embodies that? Europe. I mean, they are very artsy. Their architecture is just like the base coat. Medieval art? Renaissance? Even their literature, right? Johnson did a great job in using these particular artist names and their arts in her novel. From London to Edinburgh to Rome to Paris to Amsterdam to Copenhagen to Greece. If that’s not enough adventure for you then I don’t know what is. I suddenly miss my Arts and Humanities subject.
Ginny – the loving niece. She was in denial when her aunt died because it was so sudden. For socially awkward person, she sure is brave enough to leave home and find out what her aunt left in store for her. You will how much she have grown all throughout the story, I guess. I’m looking for a much deeper development, but it’s just not there for me. For a millennial, I must admit though that she did a great job without camera and internet during travel. Except this one time! I was actually relieved and it is more realistic, if you know what I mean. I can definitely go without internet but a camera? In Europe? Please. Who am I kidding?
Aunt Peg – she is very eccentric but that’s what makes her her. She loves art and she is an artist herself. It would be nice if the book got illustrations of her paintings instead of just leaving it in descriptive notes. I mean, sometimes words are not enough. There are certain things, like paintings, that are mainly visual focus. Peg’s favorite painting is Manet’s A Bar at the Folies-Bergère. I really love the interpretation Jonhson did in this piece. Let me leave here the picture and I hope you take time to get your head around it and tell me what you think.
Quote to Ponder
Sometimes, life leaves you without directions, without guideposts or signs. When this happens, you just have to pick a direction and run like hell.
It is really a fun read and I’d definitely recommend this. Now, if you don’t know yet it has a sequel called The Last Little Blue Envelope. It confuses me so much because if you’d ask me, this can be a standalone. The last envelope got lost or it has been stolen. But at the end of the story, it seems like everything was in place. Like, Ginny figured out what she needed to know. I’m not sure if I’m going to read the next one. Should I? To know what was really written in the last envelope, right? But one whole novel for one envelope? Well, let’s see.
I forgot about my giveaway. I’m really sorry about that! I let a friend choose last night and yay I got a winner now!
Congrats, Shealea from That Bookshelf Bitch! Please DM me your shipping details.
[Edit – Giveaway proof]