REVIEW: 13 Little Blue Envelopes by Maureen Johnson

Title: 13 Little Blue Envelopes (Little Blue Envelope, #1)
Author: Maureen Johnson
Format: paperback, 321 pages
Genre: Young Adult
Source: personal shelf
Published: September 2005 by HarperTeen

When Ginny receives thirteen little blue envelopes and instructions to buy a plane ticket to London, she knows something exciting is going to happen. What Ginny doesn't know is that she will have the adventure of her life and it will change her in more ways than one. Life and love are waiting for her across the Atlantic, and the thirteen little blue envelopes are the key to finding them in this funny, romantic, heartbreaking novel.

Why I Read this Book: I like books that have letters in them. It gives a sense of personal sharing and an insider look at the characters in the story. I also like that the book was a bit like a scavenger hunt. I’ve had this book on my shelf for a year and a half now. I finally picked it up once I heard there the sequel, The Last Little Blue Envelope, was coming out. 

What I Liked: 13 Little Blue Envelopes was a fun read. It kind of reminded me of the movie (cause I haven’t read the book) P.S. I Love You (but without the crying that comes along with it). I liked picturing myself in Ginny’s shoes on her world wind adventure. It had a whimsical and carefree feel to it. It was not only a self-discovery journey for Ginny but a world discovery as well.

Keith was my favorite secondary character. He’s a fun loving guy and he has a bit of a sweet side. I’m wondering if he makes a reappearance in the sequel….? (don’t tell me!)

What I Didn’t Like: This story is not that realistic. Granted, it’s a work of fiction however I can’t help but try to find myself in the story. I can’t imagine my mother allowing me to travel abroad, alone at the age of 17 and without any type of communication, and I certainly wouldn’t allow my daughter to do so. Why not? Two reasons: Natalie Holloway and the movie Taken. So that was in the back of my mind while I was reading this story. It is a bit a realistic fiction. It could happen and it probably has happened (to some degree). I would have felt a little more comfortable if Ginny would have been a woman in her 20s rather than a 17-year old girl.

Confession: I skimmed through parts of the book, parts that weren’t that interesting to me. There were some scenes that I felt were drawn out too long and I was ready to move on to the next letter.

At times, I didn’t get what the aunt was trying to accomplish by sending Ginny to some of these places. Sure, she got to see new places and meet new people. Even step out of her shelf a bit. But it seemed that maybe the aunt should have had a more specific purpose for sending Ginny to the places she did. Maybe she did and I just didn’t get it.

Overall Impression: 13 Little Blue Envelopes was a fun reading adventure. It was fun to be in Ginny’s shoes for a few hours. It was a great escape though a bit unrealistic.

The Book Vixen’s Rating:

3 Frogs

About Brianna: Supermom by day, naughty reader by night. Addicted to chocolate, Twitter, her iPad, her Kindle, and 99¢ Kindle deals. You can follow Brianna on Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads, and Instagram.


  1. Nice review! Taken would have immediately come to mind for me as well. Because of stuff like that, I just can't see a parent being willing to let their teenager fly solo in a different city, let alone a different country.

  2. Sounds like a fun book to read when I'm sick, for some reason I always prefer those silly unrealistic books when under the influence of cough syrup :) I totally agree with you that a person is INSANE to let their teenager travel unaccompanied. The movie Taken freaks me the crap out!

    -Kate the Book Buff
    The Book Buff: Book Reviews for Regular People

  3. Sounds very cute, I would read it :D Would I like it though...I can't tell that right now

  4. I've always thought this premise sound a bit out there, but fun. Glad to hear I wasn't too far off the mark! This has been sitting on my shelf for ages too, but I'm determined to get to it this summer!

  5. Catherine - that movie scared the hibbie gibbies out of me! LOL

    Casey - it would be a great summer read :)

  6. Taken scared me too! And I loved PS I Love You, although I cried like a baby the entire movie.

    I can't get over myself when a book feels unrealistic to me. Glad you're better at that than I am!

  7. Enjoyed your review! I've got this one on my nook, but haven't gotten to it yet. Agree that most parents wouldn't let their teenage daughter fly off on their own like that, but then there are parents who let their 16 year old try to sail across the ocean on their own. Crazy! :o


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