Wednesday, October 3, 2012 books

13 Little Blue Envelopes
by Maureen Johnson

The author:
Maureen knew from an early age she wanted to be a writer. She went to high school at an all-girls' Catholic school and graduated from University of Delaware with a degree in writing. She now lives and writes in New York City.
Many of the adventures Maureen's characters face in her books are based on real-life stories. Maureen has traveled all over Europe, and is a Secret Sister to vlog brothers Hank and John Green.
source: Goodreads

For two further (one short and one long) biography go check out Maureen’s  About page on her Homepage.

First sentences:
Dear Ginger,
I have never been a great follower of rules. […]

As a rule, Ginny Blackstone tried to go unnoticed – something that was more or less impossible with thirty pounds (she’d weighed it) of purple-and-green backpack hanging from her back.

Here’s the deal: Aunt Peg, the New York artist and the person Ginny Blackstone depended on to make her life interesting, took off to Europe without a word three years ago. Aside from a few postcards, Ginny hasn’t heard much. Then she gets a horrible phone call that changes everything.
But the story is only beginning. Soon after, Ginny receives one little blue envelope from Aunt Peg containing a thousand dollars and some very strange instructions…
And with that, she is sent off to pick up a package containing twelve similar envelopes, which she can open one by one, as instructed. Each letter contains a task that Ginny must perform.
Soon, the mild-mannered and quiet Ginny (who’s barely made it out of New Jersey before) finds herself running from London to Paris to Rome, and beyond. Along the way, she collects a number of new friends, including: a manager from Harrods department store who runs errands for the rich and famous, a handsome but maddening thief-turned-playwright, a celebrity painter who tattoos the names of her dead pets on her body, and the angriest vegetable salesman in all of France.
As time goes on, Ginny realizes that her aunt has sent her on a mission, and that there is something big waiting for her in the thirteenth envelope. All she has to do is make it from place to place and complete all of the tasks that have been set before her.
As if life is that easy.

My opinion:
13 Little Blue Envelopes is a perfect pick-me-up book. It tells the story of Ginny, an American teenager who one day gets 13 little blue envelopes from her recently deceased aunt in which Aunt Peg lays out a kind of treasure hunt through Europe for her niece. Ginny gets on a plane from New York to London and starts her adventure which will change her life.

The book takes place all over Europe and (as a European) it is really funny to see Europe portrayed through the eyes of Ginny. During her trip she meets a lot of wonderful people and gets more extroverted and strong every day.

If you are love reading travel or road-trip books than 13 Little Blue Envelopes is the perfect book for you. It has amazing characters, is written in a wonderful style, has all the funny little bit that characterize Maureen Johnson’s writing and makes it so lovely. I read it when I was on vacation in Australia on a rainy day when I was in desperate need of a light, fun book that would brighten my mood and I found it in 13 Little Blue Envelopes. I re-read it once since then and still love it as much as the first time.

13 Little Blue Envelopes is available at Amazon in paperback and for your Kindle too. You can also buy it at Book Depo.

The sequel to this book is called The Last Little Blue Envelope and is available at Amazon and Book Depo.

For more information about Maureen Johnson visit her Homepage, her Blog and her Facebook or Twitter page.


  1. Oh, I love roadtrip books and films! I've seen this one quite a lot lately but I never got as far as checking out what it's about. Great review K!

  2. This sounds so good - I love roadtrip books, especially about Europe. Fab review, you've got me stalking it now!

  3. I agree that this is a lighter read. I read it last year and didn't love it...I thought it was a little too fluffy for my taste, plus I couldn't believe this girl was allowed to jet-set around the world without her parents (haha). But I liked your review, and I know I'm in the minority wiht my opinion on this one! I saw you reviewed the second book, and I've been debating whether I want to read it or not...

  4. This books sound like a great read! It's been on my TBR pile for ages now, just waiting for me to pick it up. Anyways, great insights about the book in your review. :)

  5. I started this one and ended up setting it aside. I'm not sure why I was not in the mood for it then, because I love travel books! I'm glad to hear you liked it so much. :) I'll have to give it another try soon!