13 Little Blue Envelopes by Maureen Johnson
My rating: 2 of 5 stars
Ginny Blackstone is leading a completely ordinary life in New York City. She has a best friend, she attends school; you know, the usual. The only "extraordinary" force in Ginny's life has always been her Aunt Peg, her charming, odd, albeit slightly flighty aunt. When Aunt Peg passes away, Ginny receives a series of 13 envelopes from her--to be opened strictly in order--each with a series of instructions that will take Ginny on a set of adventures.
I certainly wanted to like this book. I love Johnson's Shades of London series (seriously, read it) and, honestly, her Twitter account. When this book popped up as a deal on Bookbub, I figured, why not? However, I just never got into the premise. Part of it is that I'm probably a lot like Ginny: I'm not adventurous, and the thought of traveling around Europe without a map or a cell phone (or a freaking plan!) absolutely terrifies me, and so the book completely stressed me out. Ginny was sweet, but also awfully naive, to an almost painful extent. While I did like her (and empathized with her at times), I had a hard time getting into the other characters, including her supposed love interest, and honestly, I found myself getting irritated at her late aunt. Who does this to a teenager? I'm surprised the poor girl didn't just self-destruct.
All in all, this is just a weird book. It's supposed to be quirky (much like Aunt Peg), but it fell short for me. It's a shame, because I think Johnson is excellent at capturing the teen voice, especially those teens who are sort of on the outside (e.g., Shades of London), and you could certainly see hints of that here. There are definitely heartwarming moments to this book and parts to enjoy. But overall, it just fell flat, and I found it, as the Goodreads 2 stars states, "OK."
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