Friday, July 25, 2008

13 Little Blue Envelopes, by Maureen Johnson

I was drawn to the cover of this one in the bookstore one day back when I was contemplating joining the YA Romance Challenge, and after reading the back copy, I thought it sounded just about perfect.

It's not a romance, though. Not really. There is a romance in it, but it's mostly a bildungsroman for girls (if you can apply that word to girls): a story about a girl who is living a comfortable life, and manages to find the confidence to... well... be a bit uncomfortable.

Ginny's aunt has died, and the summer she is 17 (though I was never clear: is she or is she not still in high school? If she is, then she's going to be a very old senior, since she'll be 18 in August; if she isn't, then, I never really got that), she receives a letter (with $1000) from her aunt with a set of instructions to fly to London. The catch: well, there are lots of catches, but the big one is that her aunt has died recently. Ginny is off to discover what her aunt wants her to learn, but mostly she's just on an adventure. And a pretty good one at that.

Em's biggest criticism of the book (which I read recently and which is why it's stuck in my mind) was that it was completely implausible for a 17 year old to go knocking around Europe by herself. And I completely agree. But, having been forewarned of that implausibility, I was more than able to set it aside and enjoy the adventure -- and Maureen Johnson's writing -- for what it was. A whole lotta fun.

Cross-posted at Book Nut.

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