13 Little Blue Envelopes
By Maureen Johnson
Genre: Young Adult
Published 2005, HarperCollins Publishers
Hardback, 321 pages
Inside little blue envelope 1 are $1,000 and instructions to buy a plane ticket.I loved Aunt Peg right from the first letter. Even though everything the reader knows about her is through the letters and the memories of those she knew, she still seemed like an amazing and quirky person to be around. Ironically, she seemed more "alive" than the the main character, Ginny. Ginny's shyness and withdrawn personality seemed to hinder a connection with the reader for a large portion of the book. The letters from her Aunt Peg seemed to draw her out of her shell as she forces herself to complete the strange and uncomfortable tasks listed in the letters.
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.
Of course, what sane person wouldn't want to travel all over Europe for a month on some else's dime? Even though the tasks sometimes made no sense, and Ginny often had to miss out on the typical tourist destinations, the memories that she created and the life lessons that she gleaned from these abstract travels are invaluable. In addition, she gains a family member, a romantic relationship, and the freedom to go where she wants and be who she wants to be without feeling constrained by the life she had led previously to this adventure.
I was slightly disappointed with what happened towards the end, but the way that Ginny deals with it actually makes it better than it probably would have been otherwise. This ending also shows how well she truly knows her Aunt Peg, even after Peg's death. Her Aunt Peg was able to leave her with the roadmap to a lifetime of lessons and adventures, all stamped with Peg's unforgettable style.
The Cover: I thought this cover had just about nothing to do with the actual plot. The girl's hair is not even braided, while Ginny's hair is braided for most of the book. The only thing that had any actual relevance was the stamp of Big Ben in the top corner to signify London.
First Line: "I have never been a great follower of rules."
This opens the first letter from Ginny's crazy aunt, Peg. I love the concept of writing letters the old-fashioned way, so I'm hooked from the first page.
Favorite Quote: "Salt. Wound. Together at last."
Read For: Off The Shelf Challenge, Twenty-Eleven Challenge, What's In A Name Challenge