Monday, June 27, 2011

Review #33: 13 Little Blue Envelopes by Maureen Johnson

Hello my awesome literary comrades! Happy Monday! Got a great review for y'all so lets go

13 Little Blue Envelopes is by Maureen Johnson. I first heard about her through John Green on his and his brother Hank's youtube page (DFTBA!). I have wanted to read a book of hers for a while. Then at least a few months ago, this book was offered as the Free Friday book on my Nook. I knew it was kismet, so I instantly bought it. It centers on a 17 year old girl named Ginny Blackstone. After finding out her free spirited Aunt Peg died, she later receives a package from her. It contains 13 little blue envelopes (yay title of the book/plot device! ^^ Thank god it's not a macguffin). Ginny is instructed to go on a European adventure, with no guidebooks, no technology, and only able to follow what the letters say. Her adventures give her an incredible journey, while also learning more about her beloved aunt.

I really love this book. It has a P.S I Love You vibe with the post mortem package that sends the receiver on a life changing journey. I liked the plot and the path it took. It was pure bliss. I like realistic novels that have a bit of surrealism added. Reading about the different countries Ginny visited and the hi-jinks that ensued. Point blank it was wonderful. I turned every page in great anticipation to find out what happened next. 

I really liked Ginny as the protagonist (do I use really a lot? I feel like I do. I try to find other words but really just works). She works well with the surprise journey she embarks. She is sassy enough that it's not obnoxious. I liked that she was trying so hard to hold on to her aunt and the memory of her. I loved the closeness between the two and how the bond did not break despite death. I loved Ginny's reactions as she read each letter and found out things she didn't know about her aunt, while also learning about herself. I also thought of an interesting theme for her character: that she wrapped her identity at first around her aunt a bit. In the book Ginny talks a couple of times about how she wasn't interesting, except for when she was around Peg. How she normally wasn't loud or very free spirited and didn't do anything too out of the box. And because of that theme I thought of I loved watching Ginny forge a more cohesive identity/persona outside of her aunt's shadow. It was also interesting how she essentially retraced her aunt's journey while also making it her own (if you think this is over-analyzing you should discuss Beverly Hills Cop with me). Thinking of this made the book a lot more interesting. Now on to Peg. Even though she was gone, her character permeated the book, and you felt her presence throughout Ginny's journey, while also reading Peg's journey. I laughed while reading the letters, and cried at the end during one of the last letters. I wanted to be Peg. She was such a free spirit and genuinely her own person, and also had a delicacy and a vulnerability to her. She dealt with life in a way that wasn't always savory, but she owned up to it and I loved how brave she was. Now to Keith. Oh man do I have a massive crush on Keith. He is one sexy actor. I so wish he were real, so he and I could kiss like he and Ginny do in that once scene. I love his sense of humor and his relationship with Ginny, how it wasn't insta-love at first sight. He was a genuine person with flaws and wasn't into himself like a good chunk of YA male leads. Also Richard was fantastic. For some reason I picture Stephen Merchant as him if this book was made into a movie. I don't know I just picture him as Richard. He was reliable and loving and caring and a really good developed character. He's that guy you can rely on no matter what, and I love his ending in the book (won't spoil it but lets just say I wish it happened to me in real life). I also loved the array of people Ginny met during the trip.

I adore Maureen's writing style. It was light and breezy but when need be she got serious and dramatic. Plus it must have taken quite a bit of research while writing this novel. I mean all the places Ginny visited were described so well you felt like you were there with her. I loved the twist she did at the end. It didn't seem that far fetched but for the character it was and that was what made it so good/shocking! Plus Maureen is just talented, period. 

If you want a light fun read pick this up. You won't regret it.

I'll next be reviewing Starcrossed by Josephine Angelini. 

Until next time comrades

Viva la literature!

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