We owe it to each other to tell stories - Neil Gaiman

Thursday, 24 May 2012

Thirteen Little Blue Envelopes - Maureen Johnson

Would you follow the directions?

Would you travel around the world?

Would you open the envelopes one by one?

Title: Thirteen Little Blue Envelopes
Author: Maureen Johnson
Pages: 319
Publisher: HarperCollins
Followed by: The Last Little Blue Envelope
Source: borrowed

The Synopsis

Inside little blue envelope number 1 is $1000 and instructions to buy a plane ticket. 
Envelope number 2 contains directions to a specific London flat.
The note in envelope 3 tells Ginny: Find a starving artist.
Because of envelope 4, Ginny and a playwright/thief/bloke-about-town called Keith go to Scotland together, with somewhat disastrous -though utterly romantic- results. 
Everything about Ginny will change this summer, and it's all because of the 13 little blue envelopes.

Everything about Ginny will change this summer, and it's all because of the 13 little blue envelopes.

The Review

Imagine being able to go to Europe on someone else's expense for what could be the adventure of your life. This is what is offered to Ginny, with some sometimes hilarious consequences. The missions that she is sent on by opening each little blue envelope are quite wonderful, you are exposed to so many different things. Vicariously you get to see Europe through Ginny's eyes and her experiences.

I would love to have the opportunity that Ginny had to travel, to go and see Europe. If anyone funded a trip like that for me, I would be absolutely ecstatic! It would be a dream come true, but I would want to go for months and not just weeks. I thoroughly enjoyed the adventure aspect of this story, I only wish that there could have been more...

But who knows, maybe the next book in the series - The Last Little Blue Envelope - will give this story a more finished feel. But whilst I understand why (and I'll not say more for fear of spoilers,) I feel that Maureen Johnson could have added something more to make it feel whole.

The only thing that saddens me about Thirteen Little Blue Envelopes is that I was hoping it would give me that feeling that I got from Ten Things We Did (and probably shouldn't have) but it didn't, I loved going on the adventure, but I did not get that excited conspiratorial feeling that I was hoping to get.  

I enjoyed this book, but it fell a little short of great for me. There was just something missing towards the end, a crucial element that made it feel incomplete. Things just started to move so quickly after the 13th envelope got lost, and in another direction completely that I felt a bit thrown off. It does make me question why there has to be a second book, whether the story could not have been told in one book, being just great. But I shall render my final judgement after I have read The Last Little Blue Envelope.

This is still a book that is worth reading, and it is quite enjoyable, and for the vicarious traveller, it is just the book to get you in the mood for travel and adventure.

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