Warning: If you have not read “13 Little Blue Envelopes” by Maureen Johnson, don’t read this review if you don’t want spoilers!
I’m back with another book review, and this time it’s’ for “13 Little Blue Envelopes” by Maureen Johnson! Here’s a summary so we know what it’s about:
“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.”
Character Development: 1 out of 5 stars
Romance Development: 1 out of 5 stars
Plot Development: 1 out of 5 stars
In terms of character development, Ginny didn’t have a lot of it, other than constantly doing things. I really didn’t know ANYTHING about her, other than that she was on a journey. It was all action and no thought, so there was barely anything in her character at all.
The chemistry between Ginny and Keith didn’t feel like it was there, and the separation they have from each other about midway through the book due to Ginny following Aunt Peggy’s instructions in her letter probably didn’t help this. I also thought it was a bit too coincidental for Keith to be popping up in Paris and Heathrow (though to be fair, it seems that without Keith around, Ginny might be dead by now).
I also found something problematic about her aunt’s instructions: About midway through the book, one of the instructions is to ask a random guy (or girl, at least Aunt Peggy is open to bisexuality which is appreciated here) out to have cake with him. This situation puts Ginny into a near date-rape situation as a result. Not only do I think this was incredibly dangerous to follow through with, even if Ginny was just following instructions, but realistically, this is not a good idea and added nothing to the overall plot.
I also felt that losing the last envelope felt like a cop out, rather than a clever device that added mystery to the novel. Perhaps it’s meant to set up for a sequel, but the conclusion of her finding an uncle she never knew about and her getting together with Keith felt too sudden to happen.
The travelling sections of the book were also not interesting to read, as they provided rough transitions into what Ginny was supposed to do next. The sections were also written in a way that were not always clear where she was going or what she was doing in the area, so they served as additional scenes that served little purpose to the plot other than telling her current location.
Overall, I rate this book 1 out of 5 stars.
If you were looking for a cute travelling-themed romance book, this one is, unfortunately, not the one you’re looking for.