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13 Little Blue Envelopes Paperback – 2009

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 338 pages
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers (2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0060541431
  • ISBN-13: 978-0060541439
  • ASIN: 9026124171
  • Product Dimensions: 8 x 5.2 x 1.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.2 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (200 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #534,327 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

At the end of the novel, I still felt like I didn't really knew Ginny at all.
Readers will instantly connect with Ginny, and feel as if they are a part of this insane European adventure.
N., The BookBandit
The writing was fun to read, I've read a few books by Maureen before, she's a great writer.
Vintage Bookworm

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

32 of 37 people found the following review helpful By Erika Sorocco on December 1, 2005
Format: Hardcover
Seventeen-year-old Ginny was always in awe of her Aunt Peg, a free-spirited woman who loved the arts and would often disappear for months on end, only to show-up once again with tales of a fabulous adventure she had taken part in. Aunt Peg's most recent adventures took place throughout Europe. That is, before she died of a brain tumor. However, before her death, Aunt Peg made arrangements for Ginny to explore Europe the same way she did - with no plans at all whatsoever. Ginny receives a package from her deceased that includes a plane ticket to London, a list of rules, and thirteen little blue envelopes that she must open one at a time, in order to truly experience the whole "backpacking adventure."

There was something about Maureen Johnson's 13 LITTLE BLUE ENVELOPES that appealed to me from the moment I saw the cover, and read the synopsis about the story. An air of mystery and adventure that drew me in from page one. Ginny is an intriguing character, who can seem aloof, or shy at times, but is really fun once you truly delve into the story, and see what she's about. The adventures that she takes part in - and allows the reader to accompany her on - are exciting, and leave the reader ready to truly explore Europe on a backpacking trip of his/her own. Johnson has done a marvelous job of accurately conveying the mixed feelings of a teenager on her own, and the butterflies of first love, and has wrapped them all together in this nice little package. A first-class novel that will be cherished for generations.

Erika Sorocco

Book Review Columnist for The Community Bugle Newspaper
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Terri Rowan on December 20, 2006
Format: Hardcover
The fact that Ginny has received a package of thirteen blue envelopes from her eccentric but favorite aunt telling her to travel around the world is not particularly shocking. Being instructed to open each envelope in order isn't so strange either. What makes it a surprise is the fact that Ginny's aunt Peg has been dead for months. She was young and full of life, and her death was a shock.

Now, though, she is sending Ginny on a journey. It starts in London and will end up...who knows where? On the way, she'll meet interesting people, see exotic places, and, most of all, get to better know the aunt she lost.

The idea behind the story is original and interesting, sure to be appreciated by readers for the fact that it is both fun and meaningful. The characters are all interesting, unique, and believable. Readers will come to know Peg, who has been dead for three months at the start of the novel, through her letters and the journey she took through Europe that Ginny is retracing. Among the interesting people met by Ginny on her travels are Keith, a performance artist who was a bit of a delinquent in the past, and Richard, a friend of her aunt's who once sold underpants to the Queen of England, and various other colorful characters.

For some reason, it took me awhile to get into this story, but once I did, I was hooked. The ending was a little more open than I would have liked, but this is a good book that teens are sure to enjoy. Fans of Maureen Johnson's other books are sure to like 13 LITTLE BLUE ENVELOPES. Having read two of her other novels (DEVLILISH and THE BERMUDEZ TRIANGLE ), I was slightly disappointed with this one; it didn't grab my attention quite as quickly or keep my mind quite as occupied as those other two books, but it was still enjoyable, thought-provoking, and certainly worth reading.

Reviewed by Jocelyn Pearce

Posted 12/20/2006

4.5-BOOKS on WUAT = 5-STARS on Amazon
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Mary Danielson on April 26, 2007
Format: Paperback
I've been a reader of Maureen Johnson's blog for awhile now, but hadn't gotten to any of her books yet. On the insistence of others, I broke down and ordered 13 Little Blue Envelopes - Wow! I wish I'd picked this up sooner!

The plot itself is interesting, with the added bonus of being much different from most of the YA books on the shelves right now. Throughout the book, Johnson throws surprises and great chances for character development at the protagonist, Ginny, who shows fabulous arc through the book. Not only does she have travel opportunities that will leave readers wanting to hop on the next Trans-Atlantic, but her writing is fresh enough to keep the pages flying by as well.

Johnson is well known for being one of the most accessible, entertaining YA writers in the field right now. She definitely doesn't disappoint with Little Blue Envelopes - her concise, realistic prose and eye for charming, absurd details makes this a definite keeper. If you're looking for a fun, surprisingly moving book...this is the one for you!
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12 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Teen Reads on September 23, 2005
Format: Hardcover
Seventeen-year-old Ginny is living a rather normal, quiet life in New Jersey until a letter arrives from her quirky Aunt Peg. The letter contains a thousand dollars in cash and instructions: get a passport, book a one-way flight to London, then go to an address in New York to pick up a package before heading to the airport. Aunt Peg also lists specific rules: Take only what fits in a backpack. Leave credit cards, money, camera, cell phone, and laptop at home, and have no contact by electronic means from Europe with anyone in America. It seems unbelievable that Ginny would agree to these terms, but she does and is soon on her way to London with the New York package that contains twelve more letters of instruction.

Letter #2, which she is told to open on the plane, sends her to a flat in London where a man named Richard seems to be expecting her. Richard's answer to Peg's riddle "What did you sell the queen?" provides the password to an ATM account for Ginny that will fund her many adventures. Letter #3 instructs Ginny to give a charitable donation to an artist. After a few false starts Ginny stumbles upon a strange little play entitled "Starbucks: The Musical" and buys all the tickets to every performance. She becomes involved with the play's strange producer/director/star, Keith, who accompanies her to Edinburgh, Scotland where Letter #4 sends her. The next two envelopes guide Ginny on to Rome to statues of the vestal virgins.

Ginny is adopted by a noisy, over-organized American family touring Holland and spends five days with them. Her backpack and everything she owns, except her passport and ATM card, are stolen in Greece. Sometimes Ginny runs into dead ends as she tries to follow the instructions in the letters. She often gets lost and has to retrace her steps.
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