13 Little Blue Envelopes by Maureen Johnson

13 Little Blue Envelopes by Maureen Johnson
Publisher: Harper Teen
Format: ebook
Genre: Contemporary, Young Adult
Publication Date: 10.1.2006
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.

I have seen the cover of 13 Little Blue Envelopes around, but never felt motivated to actually pick it up and read it until a few days ago. That's when the whole concept of this book had me hooked from the start--the envelopes that reveal the next destination, which can only be opened after each task is completed; it was very cool.

Ginny's aunt slowly reveals pieces of herself as she writes each letter, and I found her to be a very interesting character. Ginny herself was interesting to read about; a shy girl thrown into bizarre situations. She has to find out who she really is (which aunt Peg seems to know the answer to very well).

Now, while the idea behind the story was very good, it did fall a little short of hitting the mark. There were inconsistencies like the main character checking her bag to be held at the entrance of the Louvre, and leaving via a different route, without picking it up...to name just one. Also, the promise of adventure that I felt in the beginning, didn't have as much of a role as I hoped it would. And the big revelation at the end wasn't as emotionally packed for me as I think it was supposed to be.

The big whammy happened right at the beginning, though; I'm not sure I know many people who would let their teenage daughter (who is still in high school, by the way) leave home to travel Europe with no phone, no means of communication, and nothing but what fits in her backpack. I'm not saying it couldn't happen, I'm just saying it's very unlikely, which made the whole thing a little unbelievable. If there had been a stipulation that Ginny had to call every night, or something like that, it would have been a *touch* more believable.

The final diagnosis for this book was hard to make. It was a quick read, and was very entertaining. In fact, the thoughts about insufficient parental contact and missed adventure didn't come until after I had finished. I enjoyed myself while reading, and was able to keep all of that out of my mind until the end. Because of this, I'm going with a temperature of 98.3 and rising, and recommending it to any fans of the contemporary genre.

Read this if:
...you like contemporary novels, you want to travel, and you think you'd do well backpacking on your own.

Content Warning
*This section may contain some spoilers about content!*
Highlight between the brackets to reveal the text.
{Use of religious names as swear words.}


  1. Sounds fun. Thanks for pointing out what didn't work :)

  2. I just read this last week. I agree with the main problem of the book is right up front, especially when Ginny's mom seems to have such a negative view of the aunt (her sister.

    I like it otherwise though.

    Isn't there a sequel coming out?

  3. Jessica, the sequel is called The Last Little Blue Envelope.
    I appreciate your review! I can forgive the thought that she went off on her own more than I can the little inconsistencies like the backpack especially if she had it afterwards. I downloaded a free version to my Kindle last week. I won't read it before the sequel is published on April 26th, but I will give it a shot after that. Thanks again!!

  4. Juju: Welcome!

    Jessica: Kathy answered your question already, but I agree with what you said. Her mother didn't particularly like the aunt, but let her go anyway. Doesn't make much sense.

    Kathy: I'm glad you like my review! Yes, the inconsistencies got a little annoying. The one I hated the most (but forgot to put in my review) was when the MC had to use the restroom really bad, but couldn't figure out which one was the women's restroom. Suddenly, the person she was supposed to meet appears, and takes her somewhere (skip some parts so I don't spoil it), and then the next thing you know, it's morning and we have no idea if the poor girl ever got to go to the bathroom!

    Do hope you like it when you read it, though. I'm going to read the sequel, since it had been a few years since this book was published, and maybe the sequel will be better.


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