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13 Little Blue Envelopes

13 Little Blue Envelopes

Written by Maureen Johnson

Narrated by Emily Durante


13 Little Blue Envelopes

Written by Maureen Johnson

Narrated by Emily Durante

ratings:
4/5 (162 ratings)
Length:
6 hours
Publisher:
Released:
Dec 21, 2010
ISBN:
9780062067814
Format:
Audiobook

Also available as...

Also available as bookBook

Also available as...

Also available as bookBook

Description

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.

Publisher:
Released:
Dec 21, 2010
ISBN:
9780062067814
Format:
Audiobook

Also available as...

Also available as bookBook


About the author

Maureen Johnson is the bestselling author of several novels, including 13 Little Blue Envelopes, the Truly Devious series, the Suite Scarlett series, and the Shades of London series. She has also written collaborative works such as Let It Snow with John Green and Lauren Myracle and The Bane Chronicles with Cassandra Clare and Sarah Rees Brennan. Maureen lives in New York and online on Twitter @maureenjohnson or at www.maureenjohnsonbooks.com. 


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Reviews

What people think about 13 Little Blue Envelopes

3.9
162 ratings / 146 Reviews
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Reader reviews

  • (4/5)
    Read on the nook. Very sweet, easy-to-read book about Ginny, a girl whose dead aunt has sent her thirteen blue envelopes. Each letter contains instructions on a task to complete, which means Ginny is traveling abroad all alone. While I was interested in this book from the start, I initially thought it was just a nice story. The closer I got to the end, I realized how much it actually impacted me. It's very sweet, yes, but also very telling. It made me want to give up everything that wasn't important and necessary, just to travel and learn more about myself.
  • (3/5)
    2.5 stars rounded up to 3

    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.)

    This review is also posted on my blog, Mommy's Reading Break
  • (5/5)
    The Little BookwormGinny received 13 blue envelopes from her deceased aunt with specific instructions on what to and what not to pack in her backpack and how to follow the instructions in one letter before opening another. These letters lead Ginny on a trip around Europe and to the greatest adventure in her life so far. This is my second read. I read this about when it came out around 2006 and had positive memories about it. The sequel is coming out this month and I decided to re-read this one in order to have a fresh memory about the main character and her travels. And, while I like this book and I like Ginny, it struck me on this read-through how passive Ginny is about the whole thing. She doesn't question anything and doesn't seem to have much emotion about it. She just goes along with whatever happens. She does what the letters tell her to and anytime anyone suggests something, she goes along with it too. I don't want to spoil the book, but the boy in Italy, anything Keith says, the family in Amsterdam, Ginny just goes along. I wanted her to take some active interest in what was going on. Maybe show a little emotion or something. It is a charming book and I enjoy Ginny's trips around Europe following her aunt's letters and trying to figure out her aunt's life and why she ran away from New York before she died. The settings are beautifully written and it (kind of) makes me want to go out and visit Europe with just a backpack and a vague idea of what I'm doing. There are some really funny scenes and a few touching moments as well.
  • (5/5)
    Really, what would you do? I like to think that I would be adventurous enough to take the envelopes and go, but in reality I know that I wouldn't be able to.
    Maureen had me hooked from the first letter. I couldn't put the book down, and at first i was reading it on a tiny little ipod screen through the kindle app. I knew that I wouldn't get the whole effect, so I went out and bought the book. I loved how the letters from Aunt Peg were obviously set apart from the rest of the book text and I was anxiously waiting to see what adventure Ginny would get into next. From landing in London and finding Richard to buying out all of the seats to Keith's shows; I felt like I was right there with Ginny.
    I may never get to do the traveling that I really want to, but through this book I have seen so many different places. Loved visiting Rome and the Vestal Virgins, the little Cafe in Paris and Greece were among my favorites.
    I have read a few reviews of this book were people don't really believe that parents would let their child roam another country with no contact, but I believe that with Ginny being 17, most parents might be ok with that; looking at it as taking time before college to explore. I like to think that i would let my daughter go, especially if I knew that her Aunt had planned most of it out.
    I was worried for Ginny during some of her trip and my heart broke for her at the end of the book. I can't wait to read the sequel to know what else Ginny can get into.
  • (3/5)
    I need to admit I am a huge fan of Maureen Johnson's Twitter, but had not, until this point, read any of her books. When this came along as a freebie on Kindle as a promotion to reel you in for one of her newer titles, I grabbed it. I admittedly rarely dip into YA, so this seemed like a good gateway drug.Erm.Not terribly sure what I read but I'm having a hard time reconciling the erudite, witty, and hilarious MJ could write such a bland book. There is no character development, no setting, no plot movement - it's just all action. Ginger follows these steps to get to this point. The problem is the underlying premise of the book is about the growth of Ginger when her favorite aunt dies, because who else would push her to developing into something that was not just a dependable, reliable old hag. But you don't really see any growth going on with Ginger as she flits about Europe chasing after her dead aunt.A couple of other reviewers pointed out some major flaws of the book, such as the Mysterious Parents who apparently had zero problem letting Ging flitter her way across Europe with not a single contact to them. In fact, we never even meet the parents The second criticism has to do with the money spent by Ginger, given to her by her Aunt, which was such an exact number, £1826, that the travelling she does, even on the cheap, is not necessarily going to cover it all. Even more importantly when she has to give £500 away and ends up being charged £500 for a weeks room / board while in Amsterdam. She's apparently crossed EU several times, via plane and train, ate, and got rooming for under £800? There is suspending belief and there is being so fucking arbitrary it's kind of ridiculous.I'll give ole MJ another go a later time, but overall the only positive thing about this book is that I finished it in 1.5 hours.
  • (5/5)
    This is the second book I read as an audiobook. I've tried a few, but I usually ended up get the e-book or paperback copy in order to read it because I'm way to impatient to go at the narrator's pace, and I can't increase the speed as I'm not a native English speaker and I end up getting confused because of the various accents! :p

    But now, I can proudly say that I finished reading this book solely through the Audiobook.

    And I loved it. I loved the crazy aunt Peg, and I loved Virginia and Keith too. I loved the narration as well because it was easy to understand and I was actually able to fast forward it.

    The places Virginia visits are described so beautifully that I felt I was there. It was a beautiful experience.

    I also loved the letters and the pictures on them and Aunt Peg's other paintings. They were all so beautiful!

    The writing style was super, the characters though many, were all awesome and I absolutely loved it! Now I'll on to the book two!
  • (4/5)
    Ginny receives a package from her Aunt Peg who passed away. In the package are 13 Little Blue Envelopes containing the secrets of Peg's life and instructions on how to unravel those secrets.....

    The first Little Blue Envelope comes with the following instructions: "I'd like to play that game one more time--except now we're going to be a little more literal. Today's game is 'I live in London.' Notice that I have included $1,000 in cash, a one-way ticket from New York to London, and a backpack. (Keep a few buck for a cab to the airport.)
    Upon booking the ticket, packing the backpack, and hugging everyone good-bye, I want you to go to New York City. Specifically, I want you to go to 4th Noodle, the Chinese restaurant under my old apartment. Something is waiting there for you. Go to the airport right from there......"

    There are also rules about not using maps, guidebooks, cell phones, or a laptop.

    Off on an adventure to discover who her aunt really was, how she lived, loved, and died......

    I found the mystery of this book to be engrossing, so much so that I was up all night in order to finish reading it. The story itself was exciting but the characters were a bit flat and I felt that I never got to know any of them very well... This isn't great literature, but it is a quick and enjoyable read.
  • (4/5)
    Reading about the tasks and the countries she traveled, it's not the typical tourist-y part of the countries either. But this is a very wild, interesting, and crazy road trip adventure story and I enjoyed reading about Ginny's growth. Makes me want to go to the places traveled in the book
  • (5/5)
    Despite knowing from minute conversations and twitter posts that Maureen Johnson cracks me up, I was not expecting to legitimately laugh out loud at this book. It was a fun, light read - took me two hours to rip through it, but it was thoroughly enjoyable, well written, and made me laugh as hard as I've ever laughed at a book.
  • (3/5)
    I picked this up on a whim at Target (as I have been doing a lot of these last few weeks since I moved. lol) anyway, as a quick read, it isn't bad. I call it a quick read because I read most of it in one day on a couple of flights. It's likeable enough that it's hard to put down once you get going. And if you're traveling while reading a book about traveling, things get trippy man. I loved the idea of this journey she had to go on to push herself to be bold and that she trusted her aunt enough to not lead her astray. I was bummed how the book ended, so imagine my surprise when I found out there was a sequel. great! (I read that one just as quick)There were times I got frustrated with Ginny's personality for being a kind of shy pushover. I chalked that up to her just being a sheltered teenager. And then I was a little envious that I couldn't go on an adventure like that (at least not right now. One day though.) Overall, it was a good read and I'd recommend it to anyone looking for a day read to chill with.
  • (4/5)
    A treasure hunt for 'Little Blue Envelopes' takes a young women around Europe and helps her find her voice. Coming of age story in a fun and flirty format.
  • (4/5)
    This book sat on my shelf unread for far too long. This is a great adventure story of coming of age, getting out of one's comfort zone and the beginnings of love and loss. I tore through 13 Little Blue Envelopes as if I was on the adventure myself.Having just taken a vacation I found this book refreshing. I felt adventurous and as if nothing can stop you from seeing or doing anything. Is the kind of book that helps you realize that your restraints of your own making. Ginny makes for a good main character. She is likable and relatively easy to relate to. In the beginning of the novel she is a bit shy and inexperienced, but the adventure that envelopes sent her on help her grow and the experience really changes her. I can understand why Ginny likes Keith. He is exciting and different, and at times a little weird. He is up for adventure so it is easy to like him. He's the kind of guy that makes you think anything is possible. I could see myself dating someone like Keith because it is a relationship that is filled with excitement. The ending of the book happens at the perfect time. This isn't the type of book that I would pick up the rest of the series. After an adventure like this one returning to normal life would seem dull. However I did really enjoy the story, so I would pick up another book by Maureen Johnson. I was surprised to see that she did make a series out of this one.I really enjoyed reading this novel as I found myself relating to Ginny (I would have hated traveling with the Knapp's). My only regret is that I didn't pick this one up sooner. I would suggest this novel for fans of YA or for anyone starting a new beginning.
  • (3/5)
    The premise of this book is interesting - 17 year old Ginny receives 13 blue envelopes from her Aunt Peg who passed away. Aunt Peg was an artist and a free spirit. Ginny is supposed to open each envelope after she has completed a task, but there's a catch, she can't bring a cellphone and a map, among other things. Soon, Ginny finds herself retracing her aunts footsteps as she goes on the greatest adventure of her life.This book has been getting mixed reviews, and I understand why. As I was reading this, I was wondering how many parents would allow their underage daughter to travel abroad under the same conditions as Ginny. No cellphone, no maps, no extra cash, etc. I would be beside myself with worry. Also, Ginny's characterization is a bit flat - she lacks personality. The only time I felt Ginny show emotion was towards the end, when the reality of her aunt's death sunk in. The tasks that Ginny had to complete was so random and lacked significance. However, I'm hoping the story and characterization further developes in the sequel - The Lost Little Blue Envelope.
  • (4/5)
    I'm not exactly sure if this really earned four stars. The writing felt a little too easy. The story was a jaunt around Europe, and at times felt like a travel guide with narration. The narration was third-person, which I personally find harder to get into as opposed to first-person. The character of Ginny's deceased aunt actually had more personality than Ginny herself. So, why four stars? Because it was simplistically brilliant. And it made me cry. I now want to read absolutely everything Maureen Johnson has written.
  • (4/5)
    Cleverly written in letter format followed by the narrative that ensues, the reader is taken place to place via Ginny’s mandated orders in each letter. At times the traveling seems a bit odd or far-fetched in that the itinerary is not systematically planned out and destinations are scattered across the European Continent; yet, through this style the reader is invited inside the aunt’s artistic and spontaneous way of thinking and sees how her guidelines mimic her way of thinking. The teens that are met along the way are fortunately safe and a positive influence upon the main character; yet, perhaps suspended by hope and romance and adventure, the reader might overlook the three mishaps along the way and perceive Ginny’s adventure across Europe as the norm. A good read for teens wanting a realistic, and not-too-far-fetched adventure.
  • (5/5)
    really good Book!!! I love Maureen Johnson and her writing!!!
  • (5/5)
    I really enjoyed my time throughout the story.
    The reader's voice was lovely and fun.
  • (3/5)
    I have seen the cover of 13 Little Blue Envelopes around, but never felt motivated to actually pick it up and read it until a few days ago. That's when the whole concept of this book had me hooked from the start--the envelopes that reveal the next destination, which can only be opened after each task is completed; it was very cool.Ginny's aunt slowly reveals pieces of herself as she writes each letter, and I found her to be a very interesting character. Ginny herself was interesting to read about; a shy girl thrown into bizarre situations. She has to find out who she really is (which aunt Peg seems to know the answer to very well).Now, while the idea behind the story was very good, it did fall a little short of hitting the mark. There were inconsistencies like the main character checking her bag to be held at the entrance of the Louvre, and leaving via a different route, without picking it up...to name just one. Also, the promise of adventure that I felt in the beginning, didn't have as much of a role as I hoped it would. And the big revelation at the end wasn't as emotionally packed for me as I think it was supposed to be.The big whammy happened right at the beginning, though; I'm not sure I know many people who would let their teenage daughter (who is still in high school, by the way) leave home to travel Europe with no phone, no means of communication, and nothing but what fits in her backpack. I'm not saying it couldn't happen, I'm just saying it's very unlikely, which made the whole thing a little unbelievable. If there had been a stipulation that Ginny had to call every night, or something like that, it would have been a *touch* more believable.The final diagnosis for this book was hard to make. It was a quick read, and was very entertaining. In fact, the thoughts about insufficient parental contact and missed adventure didn't come until after I had finished. I enjoyed myself while reading, and was able to keep all of that out of my mind until the end. Because of this, I'm going with a temperature of 98.3 and rising, and recommending it to any fans of the contemporary genre.See the original review on my blog, The Reading Fever
  • (4/5)
    A personal "Amazing Race" for a teen. Really fun concept and read, but I was hoping for a different ending. I'm not sure what it would be, but different.
  • (5/5)
    13 little blue envelopes can help a 17 years old girl understand the life of her runaway Aunt. In this realistic fiction novel the protagonist is Virginia Blackstone but many people call her Ginny. The small envelopes takes ginny on an adventure around the world alone with only the 13 envelopes, the envelopes tells her where to go how to find a place to stay and friends of Aunt Peg and another instruction to do before opening the next envelope. Ginny is brave and trustworthy because she trusted throughout the envelopes by doing everything she is supposed to do. She is so brave taking on an adventure alone not knowing anyone.Some of the places her runaway Aunt went is New york, and most of Europe.There was not a boring part I was always on my toes, thinking what's going to happen next. The ending was great although it was a little predictable over all it was very good.
  • (5/5)
    I really like this book because I identify with Ginny a lot. In fact, I think I am Ginny. Except, I'm fairly sure that if I got sent off to Europe, my adventures wouldn't turn out exactly like hers. Unfortunately.Ginny is a very normal girl who goes chasing after her very abnormal aunt, and this is cool because for once the story isn't about the abnormal person. It's about a normal person trying to understand an abnormal person, and this is very beautiful to me because I think I am both a normal and an abnormal person constantly trying to understand the other half of my self.Also, Ginny just has really fabulous adventures all over Europe. Keith and Richard are both very awesome.
  • (5/5)
    I absolutely love this story! It's funny, hilarious yet sad at the same time. I don't think I could be half as brave as Ginny, going to Europe all by myself. I can't wait to start the sequel.
  • (3/5)
    READ IN DUTCH

    Even though I normally don't like this sort of books, I did want to read this book a few years ago. One of my friends read it and told me about it. And I got interested in the story. After reading I thought that the story was original but completely unbelievable. There are happening so many weird things but nobody seems to care about that. I enjoyed reading, it wasn't hard to read it. You could read it rather fast, but I was not blown away by it. But I still bought her second book as well, but still need to read that one.
  • (4/5)
    Ginny receives thirteen envelopes from her aunt that leads her on a wild goose chase around Europe. Along the way she meets a wide array of characters who influence her in some way.

    As the story unfolds, we travel with Ginny from New York to London and then hop on trains, planes and various forms of transportation to other European cities. As Ginny's travels unfold we are given glimpses into the mind of the aunt who wrote her the 13 letters. We face the perils - and freedom - of traveling alone in foreign cities. We feel Ginny's despair when she needs to figure out what to do next, as well as her triumph when she's overcome an obstacle, or solved a riddle.

    Maureen Johnson did a wonderful job in describing the essence of each location, making it feel as though I was traveling along the streets with Ginny. The story progresses quickly and while there were many funny bits, it was also a story of grieving and acceptance. I appreciated that the reason for envelopes were explained in the beginning of the novel, while still allowing for the mystery in their contents.

    The one thing I did not completely understand was the seemingly tangential revelation of Olivia; while it was good to get to know her I didn't see the usefulness of her reveal nor of the Knapps to the storyline.

    Overall it was a great story with fun characters. I'm looking forward to it's conclusion.
  • (5/5)
    I recently discovered I really enjoy fictional travel books, and non-fictional too. I discovered this after reading Eat, Pray, Love and then I moved on to some others. Well, I wanted to try out this one because someone told me it's like a YA travel book, I figured, I like YA, I like travel books. Sold.

    To say I liked this book would be an understatement. I LOVED IT! I loved every second os Ginny's happiness, giddiness, embarrassment, joy, everything. I found myself wishing I was traveling with her, thinking to myself whether some of these places could be real or not. Planning my own 13 envelope traveling experience based on the book...and so on and so forth. To say the very least Maureen Johnson inspired me. She showed me a world outside the mad crush of the current craze of vampires, werewolves, and angels and showed me a normal world, with semi-normal people.

    The characters in this book were perfect, I had no faults with any of them. I also think the plot moved at an excellent pace. I read this book straight through in a few hours when I went up to Seoul for the weekend. Reading this book also inspired me to want to get out and go see some things here in Korea, go check out some places I may never see again.

    I adore this book, I adore Maureen Johnson, and I can't wait to read book two in this series, 'The Last Little Blue Envelope'.
  • (5/5)
    This is more than chick lit--there is character development and a sort of underlying theme of learning about yourself that goes beyond the breezy romance and travelogue that makes Johnson a stand out writer for me.
  • (3/5)
    For as lively as funny as Maureen Johnson is on Twitter, I was expecting to enjoy this more. Instead I found a rather pedestrian YA novel. Perhaps I'd have found it more exciting if I was a 14-year-old girl, still.
  • (2/5)
    I had to slog through to the end. Nice idea. But I would like a little more parental involvement in this.
  • (1/5)
    This really isn't a review of this book, but an explanation of why I left it unfinished. While reading, the author changed tense and POV in the book and it made it difficult and confusing to follow.
  • (4/5)
    13 Little Blue Envelopes had always stuck me as that cheesy book that could be made into a chick flick movie at any minute. I never picked it up to actually read it because of that. However, I finally read the back of the book and it actually sounded interesting. After finishing it, I still can say it seems like a cheesy chick flick type book, but that it was pretty enjoyable.

    Ultimately, this book is a good summer read. Nothing too serious, not too boring, and not too much unneeded fluff. 13 Little Blue Envelopes was a great combination of everything. However, it just never seemed to reach that climax of the story until the very end. When Ginny is robbed of everything and she's left wondering what to do did it finally reach that climax. Sure, she has a bunch of mysterious letters but as the reader, you already know that it's going to tell her to go travel somewhere. Nothing exciting. The ending, though, it was where all the meat is.

    Maureen Johnson's writing style is simple and enjoyable. I found no flaws and it flowed so nicely. It really helped me focus on just the story and that's really nice to encounter every now and then. As a whole, the book was interesting, but not great. However, it did make me want to read the sequel! So thumbs up to that, 13 Little Blue Envelopes!