Review – 13 Little Blue Envelopes by Maureen Johnson

Title: 13 Little Blue Envelopes
Author: Maureen Johnson
Series: Little Blue Envelope #1
Next Book: The Last Little Blue Envelope
Source: Library

Description from Goodreads:

Inside little blue envelope 1 are $1,000 and instructions to buy a plane ticket.

In envelope 2 are directions to a specific London flat.

The note in envelope 3 tells Ginny: Find a starving artist.

Because of envelope 4, Ginny and a playwright/thief/ bloke–about–town called Keith go to Scotland together, with somewhat disastrous–though utterly romantic–results. But will she ever see him again?

Everything about Ginny will change this summer, and it’s all because of the 13 little blue envelopes.


I’ve seen 13 Little Blue Envelopes a few times around the blogosphere, so when I was browsing my library and saw it, I decided to pick it up. Of course, I then proceeded to procrastinate on reading it for a while, but I did finally pick it up.

I felt like 13 Little Blue Envelopes really started off at a good pace. Ginny receives a letter from her dead aunt telling her to pack one backpack, travel to New York to pick up a package, and to fly to London. From there, she is to open one envelope at a time, and only when she is instructed to by the previous note.

As interesting as this concept seemed, it also kind of lost me as a parent. Ginny is 17 and instructed to leave the country by herself with no extra money and no means of electronic communication with anyone in the states. No cell phone, email, IM, nothing. She can write letters however. But as a parent, I cannot imagine EVER letting my teenage daughter travel internationally by herself with no way to contact me if she needed help. I just found this to be extremely far-fetched, especially since Ginny’s mom found her sister to be a little crazy (not the exact words used, but close enough sentiment) and encouraged Ginny while she was growing up to NOT be like her aunt. This whole scene is glossed over in the book, though. She says “…she had to convince her parents of the same thing. Major international treaties had been negotiated in less time.” Seriously, this is a conversation I would have liked to see. How on earth did Ginny convince her parents to let her go?

After she opens envelope #3, I felt like the story slowed down a bit. Honestly, I found myself not even caring that much about Ginny or her adventures. I kept reading only because I was curious more about what the letters said than how Ginny fulfilled them. I just never really connected to Ginny, so I just didn’t really care that much about her story. However, after a few twists at the end, I’m dying to know what the last envelope said, so I will probably be reading the sequel anyway.

Overall, I thought that 13 Little Blue Envelopes was an okay story, but I’ve seen several people love it. So if you like art, nerdy, insecure girls, and travel, you’ll probably like this book. It just wasn’t really for me. (I’m giving it an extra half a star only because it made me want to read the sequel.)

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3 thoughts on “Review – 13 Little Blue Envelopes by Maureen Johnson

  1. Natalie (@NatflixandBooks) July 18, 2013 at 11:45 am Reply

    I’ve owned a copy of this book for forever and have even read up until the 50-70 page mark…twice…but I always end up putting it down in favor of something else. I do want to finish it someday, but agree that the pace definitely slows down after a pretty fast-paced start. I’m not a mother (but am an adult) and completely agree with you that it is pretty unrealistic to let your teenage daughter travel overseas with no money or cellphone. Oh, well. I hope you like the second book more once you do pick it up. Great review!
    -Natalie @Natflix&Books

    • Mommy's Reading Break July 20, 2013 at 10:02 pm Reply

      It’s definitely not great. I have the sequel and will probably read it, but eh. Definitely didn’t love this one.

  2. […] 13 Little Blue Envelopes by Maureen Johnson (2.5 stars) […]

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