13 Little Blue Envelopes
By Maureen Johnson
Published 2006 by HarperTeen
So, I'll be attending my first ALA conference in just a few weeks and one of the special events I registered for as soon as I saw it is the Coffee Klatch, put on by YALSA. It's sort of like an early morning speed dating event - the participant librarians sit at a table and are joined every few minutes by a new YA author. Sounds amazing, right? So obviously I signed up for it. Then I looked at the list of authors and there are quite a few whom I've never read before. My goal is to try to remedy this before the conference, but it's sneaking up on me very quickly, so we'll see how I do.
My first foray into this project was Maureen Johnson. This book sounded right up my alley - Ginny receives 13 mysterious blue envelopes from her recently-deceased aunt that send her traveling alone across Europe. Johnson's writing style is very engaging and easy to relate to - I can clearly see why she's a popular author with teens. Ginny was a very down-to-earth character. There was just the right blend of things in this novel - angst, a touch of romance, adventure, the muddle of emotions teens feel and the right amount of personal growth. It was all executed very well and at a pace that made the book hard to put down. I really enjoyed this. However, I don't know if I think reading the recently released sequel is necessary. Yes, we never discovered what the 13th envelope contained. But our not knowing doesn't take away from the story. Yes, I'm curious. But Ginny's guess as to the contents is a pretty good one. Who knows? Maybe I'll pick it up after the conference. An enjoyable read.