13 Little Blue Envelopes by Maureen Johnson must be a popular book. The copy I got from the library is so battered and bruised that the binding is practically unattached. I had to be extra careful as I read it, which was difficult because I was speeding through the pages to find out what happened next!
Seventeen-year-old Ginny Blackstone is about to embark on the adventure of a lifetime, with only the contents of a backpack and without guide books or foreign language aids and electronic gadgets.
Her tour guide? Thirteen envelopes from her Aunt Peg, who recently passed away.
Each envelope contains destinations and instructions on what to do at each location and when to open the next envelope. Ginny travels from New York City to London first. What follows is a rapid-fire tour of Europe.
Along the way, she meets Peg's friend Richard, a Harrod's employee; Keith, a college student who wrote, produced, and performed in a play about Starbucks; Beppe, an Italian lothario; the Knapps, a super-organized family from Indiana; and a group of students from Australia.
Each of the adventures brings Ginny closer to her Aunt, helping her understand the way Peg chose to live her life, why she suddenly disappeared from their lives, and more about her eventual illness.
Ginny also learns to step outside of her comfort zone and become more independent.
She falls in love, makes new friends, and learns to be more carefree. Not a bad way to spend the summer.
It was a fascinating read! I felt like I was traveling with Ginny (again, a much needed escape during my vacation-less summer). It was a great adventure and a very unique idea for a book.