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Wednesday, May 02, 2007

13 Little Blue Envelopes - Maureen Johnson

This is one of those crossover books - an adult book some teen readers might enjoy. But honestly, after all the hype about this book, I expected a little more. This is what happens when you set your expectations too high. I should know better. It's not that it was a bad book. I didn't quit reading it, and I really did want to know what would happen next, but it just didn't thrill me.

The premise of the book is this: Ginny (of unknown age but old enough to travel Europe alone without her parents completely freaking out) has an eccentric aunt. Or she had an eccentric aunt, but the aunt died. Now she's sending Ginny on a quest, via a packet of 13 Little Blue Envelopes. At each stop on her journey, Ginny opens the next envelope and it has instructions about where to go, what to see, who to look for. Sort of, if it works out. This structure, if the 13 envelopes with instructions is what I enjoyed most about this novel. As a reader, I really wanted to know what was coming next. An although I was never thrilled with an installment, I always hoped the next installment would be better.

There is a trace of romance in the novel, definitely some adventure, for sure more questions than answers. The book is interesting and a bit of a psychological study of the dead aunt, but it fell short of my expectations, so I could recommend it as what I call a "beach book" - one with not so much substance but an okay way to pass the time.

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