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13 Little Blue Envelopes Paperback – May 3, 2016

4.0 out of 5 stars 239 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Series: 13 Little Blue Envelopes (Book 1)
  • Paperback: 352 pages
  • Publisher: HarperTeen; Reprint edition (May 3, 2016)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0062439103
  • ISBN-13: 978-0062439109
  • Product Dimensions: 5.3 x 0.8 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (239 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #38,431 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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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 Aunt...one 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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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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Format: Paperback
My friend did a book project on this and the idea of the story fascinated me. Overall it was a good not great book. It was wordy in all the wrong places and any problem Ginny faced didnt seem real or likely. The author had a tendency to gloss over the details.Sometimes the entire thing seemed unrealistic. So many things could have gone wrong with an unsupervised minor trekking acorss Europe but none of those issues were addressed. At the end of the book I felt muddled and tired just like Ginny. Considering the kinds of book I have read in this genre it was an excellent book and i recomend it but I think there are better, more detailed books out there.
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Format: Paperback
Let me just start out by saying that I am a big fan of Maureen Johnson. Her sense of humor is what draws me into her books and leaves me wishing for more by the time I'm done. That said, 13 Little Blue Envelopes is her one book that got the most hype pre-Suite Scarlett so I am shocked at what a disappointment it was.

POSSIBLE SPOILERS.

Ms. Johnson normally has that pitch-perfect ability to make characters and situations come alive for me. I wasn't feeling it with this one. The premise is interesting enough: a deceased woman leads her niece through Europe via instructions written in thirteen little blue envelopes. However, Maureen Johnson wasn't able to give this particularly wacky situation a soul. It just starts off with Ginny explaining how the envelopes situation came about and a little background on her and her aunt. Then she's off to Europe. That's it, just like that. As if everyone is just able to swing off to an entirely different continent. It had previously mentioned that her mom was disapproving of her aunt and her antics so why was she met with no challenge on the exploration of Europe? I haven't seen anyone bring this up yet so maybe it's only me, but I don't think most parents would want their child gallavanting alone through unfamiliar countries. Even a brief mentioned of a conflict or some sort of parental reaction or even a "Ginny had run away to the airport and her parents currently had no idea where she was" would have brought the situation to life a little bit more. (I'm sorry. I'm nit-picky about these kinds of details. I know it's not a huge central problem but there it is.)

Great characterization is another thing that I look for in Maureen Johnson books.
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