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13 Little Blue Envelopes by [Johnson, Maureen]
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13 Little Blue Envelopes Kindle Edition

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Kindle Edition, 15 Apr 2010
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Length: 317 pages Word Wise: Enabled Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
Page Flip: Enabled Language: English

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Product description

Product Description

Everything about Ginny will change this summer, and it’s all because of 13 little blue envelopes…

Perfect summer read from Queen of Teen 2012

Ginny, aged 17, is left 13 little blue envelopes by her free-spirited young Aunt Peg. Little does she know just how much they will change her life…

• Inside envelope No 1 is money and instructions to buy a plane ticket.
• Inside envelope No 2 are directions to a specific London flat
• Inside envelope No 3 a note to Ginny says: Find a starving artist.
• And because of envelope No 4 Ginny and a man called Keith go to Scotland together, with somewhat disastrous – though utterly romantic – results.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 651 KB
  • Print Length: 317 pages
  • Publisher: HarperCollinsChildren’sBooks (12 April 2010)
  • Sold by: HarperCollins Publishers (AU)
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B003GUBIE8
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Screen Reader: Supported
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: Be the first to review this item
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #195,885 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) (May include reviews from Early Reviewer Rewards Program) 4.0 out of 5 stars 246 reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Johnson's ability to boil down each city to its most basic elements is really quite brilliant. 15 September 2014
By bookwormthemillionth - Published on
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I read this book because 1) it was on sale and 2) Maureen Johnson is one of my favorite people to follow on Twitter. I love her to pieces on social media, so it makes sense that I would love her books.

It turns out that's not quite the case. Not that this is a bad book, it's just not particularly good. It's a solid "meh".

The premise is that this girl (Virginia/Ginny) has just found out that her eccentric, unreliable artist aunt has just died of brain cancer while touring Europe and left Ginny with 13 blue envelopes. Each envelope contains instructions and Ginny can only open them in certain times and places. Each letter has an assignment like "Find that cafe in Paris that I lived in for a month" and "Ask out an Italian boy". Once she has completed an assignment, she can open the next envelope.

Ginny is also not allowed to take along any maps, guidebooks, or any kind of electronics (including cell phone, camera, and computer) and she is forbidden electronic communication with anyone in America. Only letters and postcards to let the family know she's still alive are permitted. She does manage to find ways around some of these rules, and at one point she flat out breaks one of them, but for the most part I am in favor of these rules.

Ginny (16-years-old) is shy and introverted and has never been away from home on her own before, so to say that this experience is new for her is an understatement. In that sense, this is largely a coming-of-age story as Ginny explores the world and meets all sorts of people and gets to know herself better. She discovers that she can do fun and exciting things without her aunt, and at the same time, she comes to terms with her aunt's death. Despite the slow death that is brain cancer, Aunt Peg was in Europe and out of contact with her family when she got sick, so her poor family never even knew she was sick until she was already gone. One minute she was fine, then she left with no explanation and no forwarding address, then they got notice that she had passed and that they should go to the airport to pick up her remains.

The letters were also kind of Aunt Peg's way of saying good-bye to Ginny. In the letters, she got to tell Ginny about her travels and let Ginny experience parts of them for herself. She also told Ginny things that she never told anyone else, and I think that probably helped her cope with what was coming.

I know that Maureen Johnson has done some traveling. I don't know how extensive, but I do know that she did an excellent job of immersing the reader into every place that Ginny went. She boiled down each city to its most basic elements and presented them to the reader. In doing so, she was able to transport the reader all over Europe with Ginny, without taking away from the story. It was really quite brilliant.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A great re read! 1 January 2016
By Morgan Phillips - Published on
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Ginny is going on an adventure of a lifetime! Her aunt who has just recently pass write her all these letters to send her across Europe to follow in her footsteps. Along the way Ginny makes some pretty odd and crazy people. One of which she starts a little romance with when one letter leads her to a theater in a basement under the Goldsmiths college Uni. On this journey Ginny learns to loosen up and step out of shell and in a way become closer aunt in understanding that even though at times during the trip she really hated her aunt for making her doing things didn’t want to do or didn’t make any sense at the time. The first I read this book I was in high school and I got an email this weekend saying it was on sale and I just had to buy and read it again. I laughed just as hard this time through as I did the last time maybe more because now that I’m older I can enjoy her experience more because I have been through similar (I mean who hasn’t made a complete fool out herself in front of a super cute guy!). Ginny is like any other high school girl and is so relatable. I think every girl will be able to relate to her in someway. I think Keith is the perfect guy for during this journey. he is a rebel and even though she makes a fool of herself with him over and over again he doesn’t dread on it. he even makes a fool out himself a few times as well. I think that even each other out a little and hello he is British! Gotta love that accent!
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars It's the posh, posh traveling life, the traveling life for me!!!!!!! 23 January 2015
By Tammy Smith - Published on
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I loved this book! But what's not to love? It had everything; tragedy, triumph, romance, crime, action, adventure, travel and it was down right fun.

Ginny is our main character. She is not a risk taker by any means. Her Aunt Peg has died and she has been given an envelope with some cash, a list of rules and a quest to fulfill. She has left for Ginny some envelopes. They are numbered sequentially and the number of the count is 13. Thou shall not count to 12, unless thereby thou proceed to 13. 14 is right out. Sorry. Coincidentally, the envelopes are also all blue...and on the small size, hence the title of the book.

Now Ginny could cheat and open all the envelopes and read them, but Aunt Peg's rules were very specific. She had a plan and the envelopes were not to be read except in order and at the ordained location or time frame. Ginny never having been anywhere, is understandably nervous about undertaking this trip.

She really has no idea what to expect not having seen her aunt in a long time, never even knowing she was sick and again, she's not a risk taker, but she undertakes the journey and follows her aunt's instructions. She is to take one backpack only and only what will fit in the backpack. She is to only take the money her aunt left her. She is to take no travel books and nothing to record her journey in. And she is not allowed to use phone, computer, camera, Internet or any other electronic devices or tools. And she cannot contact anyone back in the States. Oh yeah! She's going to England!!!

But alone is an intimidating prospect, especially for a 17 year old who has never been out of the country. I personally would have reveled in the experience, but I have family from the UK and became obsessed from an early age. I also did do just that. I went off to England by myself, but I was 29 at the time. Got off the plane, rented a car and just drove for 2 1/2 weeks. It was quite an adventure, but I have a travelling heart.

But back to our story. Aunt Peg has very explicit instructions for Ginny. She has to go find some strange man who is expecting her and she is going to stay with him while in England. But she has other things she has to do as well, like find an artistic stranger and support their artistic vision with 500 pounds. She also has to go find some artist in Scotland Aunt Peg was friends with.

If you didn't guess before, Aunt Peg was what we call a unique individual. Some might say flighty. She gave up the rat race and just went off to pursue her dreams and follow along wherever the wind would take her. Eccentric? Perhaps, probably. A hippie? Definitely, but she lived each day of her life to the fullest and she was trying to teach Ginny how to do the same.

So Ginny follows the instructions in the envelopes to the letter, ends up traveling all over Europe in some less than ideal circumstances at times and has the time of her life. Talk about life changing events. Well, this one is one of the big ones. Hello, life!

If you think you would enjoy a story about a girl who ends up finding herself on the back roads of Europe, this would probably be a good book for you. So, go out there and grab that book by the cover and don't stop reading until the end. You won't be sorry!
5.0 out of 5 stars I'm so glad that I finally got around to reading this book 16 October 2015
By whit893 - Published on
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I'm so glad that I finally got around to reading this book. 13 Little Blue Envelopes never got boring, you never knew what was going to happen next. If you have ever traveled to Europe you'll want to go back, and if you haven't you'll want to go after reading this book. This was a typical young adult book, short, sweet, and a feel good book. What I really liked about this book it that there were actual conflicts, and although there was a happy ending, it didn't come easy. There was a lot of heartbreak along the way, and not the kind where the most popular boy in school broke up with the main character to date a cheerleader instead. Great book and an awesome read.
3.0 out of 5 stars Fun escapism! 3.5 Stars... 27 April 2012
By Ruth Anderson - Published on
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Ginny always viewed her eccentric, artistic Aunt Peg as the most daring, interesting member of her family -- a fearless and bold risk-taker, the woman who made the safer Ginny more interesting by association. When Peg's free-spirited ways led her to abandon her home in New York to travel throughout Europe, no one in Ginny's family was really surprised -- Peg always returned, sooner or later, bearing tales and souvenirs of her adventures. But one day, instead of Peg a package arrives for seventeen-year-old Ginny -- thirteen blue envelopes, the first containing $1,000 and instructions for Ginny to buy a plane ticket to London. The instructions are very specific -- bring minimal baggage and only open the next envelope when the task in the current letter has been completed. Accepting Peg's terms, Ginny gamely books her flight and heads for London, the first of many leaps of faith she'll be required to experience in order to follow her aunt's most unusual directive. Each letter, each requirement thrusts Ginny into the most exhilarating and scary journey of her young life, a pilgrimage to follow her aunt's footsteps throughout Europe. Along the way the letters test Ginny's resilience and force her to decide who she is and wants to be, the type of woman she stands on the cusp of becoming. All it takes is leap after leap of faith...

I've had this book on my radar for several years now -- the cover is adorable, the premise intriguing, and since I seem to be on a YA kick here lately I figured now is as good a time as any to read my first Johnson novel. The impetus behind Ginny's journey through Europe is a fascinating one, and given the apparent (and stark) differences in personality between Ginny and her colorful aunt, Johnson sets the stage for a rollicking travelogue adventure grounded in the unexpected and deep bond between two seemingly wildly different personality types. However (and I realize I'm probably showing my age here), I would've liked a touch more plausibility in the journey's set-up -- given the clear (and often valid) issues Ginny's mother had with her sister's lifestyle, I find it hard to believe that she would have sanctioned the trip given Ginny's age and the restrictions place on her travel by the letters. But fiction is all about escapism, and my issue with the set-up was quickly overshadowed by the promise of Ginny's adventures to come in the great European unknown.

Each letter serves as figurative key that unlocks a new chapter in Peg's life for Ginny to explore. Johnson keeps the action moving at a refreshing, brisk pace, introducing new characters and scenery every few days -- in that respect this novel is an armchair traveler's dream. The individuals that pepper Ginny's travels are incredibly engaging, colorful characters -- from the rather traditional, somewhat staid Richard who seems the complete opposite of Peg, to Keith, the charming university student/ex-thief (and creator of "Starbucks: The Musical") who finds himself the benefactor of Ginny's efforts to "fund a struggling artist." I loved Keith -- he was an absolute charmer, and his deadpan responses to Ginny and the eccentric nature of her trip provided some of the novel's funniest moments. Unfortunately, for a novel with such rich scenic potential and delightfully individual and quirky supporting characters, Ginny comes across as woefully flat for the first two-thirds of the book. She's just...there and it's hard to fathom how she seems so one-dimensional when compared to everyone she encounters. Thankfully, Johnson's brisk pacing keeps the plot moving forward, and the more Ginny learns about her aunt's life, Peg's hopes and fears, the more Ginny opens up and becomes a character I finally began to really connect with.

Despite some implausibilities and characterization issues, I enjoyed this introduction to Johnson's work. I loved the way in which the mystery of Aunt Peg unfolded further with each letter, a poignant testimony to one woman's reflections on her life and relationships, guiding Ginny to finally come into her own, balancing her aunt's hopes for her with the dawning realization of who she is and wants to be. I'm looking forward to Ginny's further adventures in the sequel!