Friday, May 13, 2011

#BookReview: 13 Little Blue Envelopes - Maureen Johnson

What a great adventure this book was!  I'll have to confess that if I had known it was YA (young adult) lit, I probably wouldn't have bothered reading it.  I'm so glad I did though.  I have nothing against YA lit, but other than the Harry Potter series, I haven't really read this kind of bubblegummy YA lit since I was 10 or 11. 

Up front, I have to admit that this story would be more believable if the lead character was at least in her early 20s.  It took me a second to realize that she was in high school and that made the story just a little less believable and more like, "really?"  Why? Because 13 Little Blue Envelopes is the story of a young woman whose aunt has passed and left her a package that takes her on a scavenger hunt, of sorts, through Europe.

While I loved the adventure and the life lessons her aunt teaches her through her notes and destinations that she leads her to, it's hard to believe that this sheltered teen's parents would allow her to travel from the U.S. to (and through) Europe by herself.  The adventures that she has, and some of the company she keeps, are certainly not experiences that the typical teen could, or would be able to, handle.  Nevertheless, if you can suspend your imagination during the time it takes you to get through this quick read, you'll find yourself cheering for Ginny and hoping she makes it to the end of her journey a better and more experienced person.

What did you like about this book?
I loved the sense of adventure. It would be amazing (and somewhat scary) to receive a letter in the mail like Ginny did and pack up and take off on said adventure with nothing more than what was provided by the sender.

What didn't you like about this book?
As I said earlier, it's hard to fathom any parents allowing their 17 year old high school daughter to set off on such an adventure on her own.  Had the author upped the age of the character by three to four years, it would have been much more believable.  I don't think the character would have lost any of the innocence of a 17 year old had she been written as a 20 year old.

What could the author do to improve this book?
Though it wasn't written in such a way that there could be a sequel, I would have liked to see an epilogue, just to catch readers up on Ginny's life after she returned to the states.

Published: September 2006


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