13 Little Blue Envelopes by: Maureen Johnson

Book: 13 Little Blue Envelopes
Author: Maureen Johnson


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.

Why I read this Book:

This author has been on my radar for quite some time.  I wanted to start with her other books, but this was all the library had, so I grabbed it.


I don’t understand how or why her parents would ever let her traipse across Europe by herself.  Also she doesn’t write home in the book that we know about.  My parents would never ever ever have let me do that in a million years.  I’m an adult now and if I suddenly declared I was going to go to Europe by myself, my mom would still find a way to stop me.  So how she managed to convince her parents into letting her go, I don’t know.  But a little convincing scene would have been nice, for me as a reader, so I wasn’t hung up on this throughout the rest of the book.

So after I got over that, and let go the rest of the book was very enjoyable.  Keith and her relationship with him felt very real. I love the getting to know you parts before falling for someone.  This wasn’t super glamorous, OMG he is so hot – feel the tension.  NO. It had awkward real teenage moments, which really worked for me.

At the end of the book (the one I read anyways) there is a kind of Q&A section.  Which really also helped to understand the travel aspect of it.  After a while you can tell Ginny is being worn out by all of this travel, and the letters aren’t making much sense to her in the tasks but she keeps doing it, and you know she is wearing thin.  And I kept thinking, YOUR ON THE ADVENTURE OF A LIFE TIME, ENJOY!!!  Yes I thought this in capitals.  But when Maureen explains that after a while it just starts to wash over you because it becomes too much, well that made sense to me too and gave me a better perspective on the novel.

Also, I loved how awkwardly Ginny was.  This was a book about her getting out of her comfort zone, but through each experience, we also see how much effort this takes her.  It was really humane.  It wasn’t all balls to the wall fearless.  And I can really appreciate that.

This book was written in third person limited, but because we were attached to Ginny the whole time I thought it could have been stronger if it was told in first.  I never thought I would see the day where I would actively advocate for first person, but alas I find it works really well in YA.  So unless you are using third multiple POV, please give me first person.  Or for the other caveat, use third if first will only result in an EMO mess.

There are also some brilliant laugh out loud moments in this book.  I wish I had owned it while reading it because I would have then bookmarked them all for you. I keep thinking I will remember them, but I hardly ever do.  This one that I really LOVED.  Reverse mugging.  You need to read it in context but it was made of WIN.


The last envelope gets lost.  And yet the ending still felt very complete to me.  I know that there is another book being released in the spring called The Last Little Blue Envelope, and I am very curious about what it contains within.  BUT at the same time, I am also very content with the ending of 13 Little Blue Envelopes.  So content in fact that I am not sure what Maureen could possibly cover in the next book because the first book took 12 letters.  This book will only have one.  What if when I reach the end there will be no peace.  I like the peace that I have made with 13 Little Blue Envelopes.  Mind you I am WAY WAY to curious not to find out.

Final Thoughts:

If you are going to try Maureen Johnson this is a good starting place.  If you like travel books and YA, this book is perfect.  There is a lot to fall in love with in this book, and I really enjoyed it.  There are of course a few things I would fix, but overall they would not stop me from reading this.

Rating: 8/10


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