Book Review: 13 Little Blue Envelopes by Maureen Johnson

13 Little Blue Envelopes by Maureen Johnson

Genres: Young adult, contemporary.

When Ginny receives thirteen 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 than one. Life and love are waiting for her across the Atlantic, and the thirteen little blue envelopes are the key to finding them in this funny, romantic, heartbreaking novel.

Spoiler note: This review does not contain any spoilers.

I’ll be honest, I’d never have normally picked up 13 Little Blue Envelopes but because it was free in the Amazon Kindle store and because a lot of the bloggers I follow liked it, I decided to give it a go, and I’m really glad I did. I visualised 13 Little Blue Envelopes to be like an old Mary-Kate and Ashley film (anyone else love them?) – a sweet story involving a young girl and some mischief but everything works out well in the end.

17-year-old Ginny receives some envelopes from her Aunt Peg with strict, but vague, instructions and rules that she has to follow. She’s not allowed to open the next envelope before she’s completed the task in the previous envelope. These aren’t just local tasks – she has to travel from the US to Europe, meeting different people, and this is what made the story interesting. I loved the concept and I actually waited eagerly for when it was time open the next envelope. My favourite destination that Ginny visited was, of course, London. I live in London and it was hilarious and entertaining reading about someone else’s experience (even if they are fiction character). London plays a huge part in Ginny’s life during the novel and it’s where we meet some colourful characters: “I’m Keith,” he said, “and you’re … clearly mad, but what’s your name?”

Maureen Johnson’s writing is witty and anecdotal; there were passages that I had to reread because they were so amusing, or because they captured feelings perfectly and succinctly.

I found Ginny to be a little silly at times such as when she’s in England and takes half an hour to figure out that she’s looking at a washing machine, but luckily the story is told in third person! I did find it interesting how the voice changed when the story would occasionally switch to first person because Ginny ‘sounded’ very different to how I’d imagined her. I warmed to her towards the end, when the story focuses more on her self-discovery.

13 Little Blue Envelopes is a light, fast-paced, entertaining novel that also has an emotional, serious side.

My Rating: ★★★★