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April 26, 2011

Review: The Last Little Blue Envelope

2011 Books

The Last Little Blue Envelope by Maureen Johnson
Genre: Young adult
Pages: 288
Grade: 95

First, HUGE CAVEAT: I work for the author, Maureen Johnson. I had nothing to do with this book, but obviously I am completely biased. That said . . .

I LOVE THIS BOOK and it was released today and you all should read it. Ahem. This is a sequel to 13 Little Blue Envelopes, and while you could certainly enjoy LLBE on its own, you'd get more out of it if you read 13LBE first. And that one's great too, so why not? Anyway. Briefly: In the first book, the main character, Ginny, was sent by her missing aunt on a sort of scavenger hunt through Europe, where she had all sorts of adventures and discovered family secrets and met a boy and learned a lot about herself. But her backpack containing the envelopes that instructed her along her journey was stolen when she had only one envelope left, so she always felt like her journey was unfinished.

This new book starts when Ginny is contacted by a mysterious person who has found the envelopes, and she goes back to Europe to figure out who he is and what the last envelope is telling her to do, and also to figure out the status of her relationship-ish thing with the boy she met on her previous trip. So she has more adventures, some of them terrifying, and learns a lot about herself and other people, and makes some sort of peace with some of the difficult things she's gone through. And let me just take a moment to mention how impressed I am with Ginny, because she's a regular girl, not a superhero or spy or trained wunderkind, but she handles all the crazy stuff that's thrown on her and goes on this trip alone without having any idea where she's going, or any sort of plan, and dear Lord, as anyone who's traveled with me could tell you, I COULD NEVER EVER DO THAT.

Really, though, this book has it all: mystery and action and heartbreak and grief and self-actualization. And Christmas in London - with a dinner from Harrods - and New Year's in Ireland and other gallivanting around Europe. And humor! Did I mention that it's FUNNY? (If you've read Johnson at all, I probably did not need to specifically mention that.) And there's an awesome uncle, and a bunch of flawed but real and compelling characters, including a guy who may be evil. Or may be the hero. Or may be both. In any case, he banters, and he's interesting, and maybe-evil bantery heroes are really my favorites. And at the heart of it all is Ginny, a strong heroine who isn't annoyingly perfect, and is just trying to figure herself out in the midst of her wacky but dire circumstances.

Posted by Kat at April 26, 2011 06:57 PM
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