Sunday, December 17, 2006

13 Little Blue Evelopes by Maureen Johnson

I decided to put this title on one of my Teen Book Club lists for the spring, but couldn't wait to read it myself.

After her Aunt Peg's death Ginny receives a package with direct instructions from her aunt to pack a backpack, leave all her electronic trappings and guidebooks home and get on a plane to London. Once she's completed that task 13 more little blue envelopes will lead her around Europe to experience it as her aunt did. She learns some new things about her aunt and herself along the way.

I liked this book and it was a quick read. I kept wanting to know what her aunt had for Ginny to do next and what lesson she would learn from it.

My major complaint is the plausibility of a 17 year old having trusting enough parents to let her go off to Europe alone with no communication except for the handwritten posted kind (It's in the rules). Ginny doesn't change in huge ways by the end of the book but she's seen more, done more and has more to think about which in my opinion was the aunt's goal all along. Peg was a driving force in Ginny's life until she died and had promised to see Ginny through high school and college to help her through those confusing and awkward times in life. Failing that I think Peg concocted this scheme as a way to bundle all those little bits of helpful advice into a short period of time and in a dramatic (Peg was an artist after all).

There are some touching moments and having been to the UK, where Ginny's travels start I felt nostalgic at the mentions of places I've been.

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