Sunday, 12 April 2009

13 Little Blue Envelopes / Maureen Johnson

Summary - Seventeen year-old Ginny Blackstone leads a fairly ordinary life up until the day she receives an envelope from her free-spirited, artistic (and recently deceased) Aunt Peg. The envelope, which is the first of 13 total, contains detailed instructions for Ginny, including picking up a package from a Chinese restaurant in New York and then taking a plane to London. She is to follow the strict instructions left in each envelope very closely. The envelopes are to be opened one at a time, and she can only proceed to the next one when she has successfully completed the task in the previous one. Sometimes the letters are very clear, but other times they are clouded in mystery, requiring Ginny to figure things out for herself.For a shy, un-worldly girl, each of the 13 envelopes hold for her a challenge. As a result, Ginny slowly begins to discover how much adventure she is capable of withstanding and at the same time she discovers the true identity of the aunt she thought she knew all these years.

Review - This was my first foray in MoJo-Land and ultimately I came away pretty disappointed. Yes, it managed to avoid many of the cliches of many YA novels but it also lacked the spark. Maybe due to the fact that Ginny was on the adventure to find her own?

Regardless, I mainly felt that I was reading a character that really didn't have a lot going for her. She was simply going through the motions. Ginny followed directions through magnificent places and didn't embrace the thrill of being there. I can understand, as some situations border on life threatening (thank you Aunt Peg), but mainly I felt dissatisfied.

Johnson has a lovely style of writing but I wish she'd put more time into developing Ginny, as opposed to Peg. Despite a refreshingly honest portrayal of a burgeoning relationship between Ginny and Keith, I never really felt like I knew the protagonist. I didn't feel anything having finished this novel and that pretty much summarises my problem with it. The concept has plenty of potential but it was never realised.

Published:2008
Format: Paperback,
Publisher: Harper Teen
Origin: USA

4 comments:

H said...

Yeah, I was a bit disappointed by this book. I felt like Ginny didn't have a mind of her own, following her aunt's rules to the letter, even if it ends up being embarassing and/or dangerous.

Lenore said...

You hit the nail on the head. I was also frustrated that she didn't take charge more of her own destiny. The Ginny/Keith relationship was so non-existent to me that it didn't even rate a mention in my review.

prophecygirl said...

Thanks for the honest review Adele. Will you read anything else by this author?

Jen said...

I loved Girl at Sea, Suite Scarlett and Devilish but I couldnt get into this one.