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The idea of a teenage girl receiving 13 envelopes that take her on a European adventure where she gains confidence in herself sounded like a great book idea, but this story didn't work. The plot was rather unrealistic (no parental involvement the whole time?) and her experiences were just not exciting enough. The narration seemed stiff, which didn't help. A big snooze.
2 of 2 people found this review helpful
I loved this book and I'm afraid this review won't do it justice. Virginia (Ginny) is a good kid. She doesn't get into trouble, she gets good grades, and she follows the rules. Yes, she knows that she is shy, even with her aunt Peg (who she loves wholeheartedly), but she's okay with that. When her aunt Peg dies and leaves her a stack of envelopes with travel instructions, Ginny reluctantly begins following the path they describe.
I thought I'd have a harder time with Ginny than I actually did. She's pretty passive and that always bugs me. And I thought I'd have a harder time with Aunt Peg than I actually did. She's pretty aggressive and that always bugs me. Fortunately, Maureen Johnson doesn't take any of the easy paths or settle for obvious "lessons" with her characters so what we end up with is a rich exploration of growth, friendship, relationships, and family with just the right pacing of events to move the story along.
One of the strengths of the book is that Johnson didn't deify Aunt Peg the way that books like this seem tempted to do. She wasn't some genius artistic mastermind engineering the education and betterment of her niece. Her plan has flaws, some obvious, some subtle, and part of Ginny's journey is coming to terms with the flawed human being her Aunt turns out to be.
Another strength of the book is that Ginny doesn't learn all the obvious lessons from her journey, either. Ginny needs to learn to be comfortable with herself, to have confidence, and to be open to meeting new people. Being a smart girl, she knows this and is prepared to follow-through on Aunt Peg's crazy pilgrimage. But the things Ginny experiences aren't as clear-cut as all that. Some of exploring your world ends up reinforcing your preconceived notions rather than abating them and sometimes the lessons Ginny learns aren't even close to what Aunt Peg intended.
And I really liked the two men who end up dominating Ginny's experiences—one introduced directly by Aunt Peg's instructions and the other a happy accident. No, this is not a romantic triangle and for that I am deeply grateful. Richard is my favorite (he's the not-love-interest). He is reliable and honest and grieving the passing of Aunt Peg in his own way. Fortunately, his grief is the unselfish kind that turns his attentions to helping Ginny any way that he can. He was endearing and drew me into the novel, particularly at the end.
I really can't say more without ruining key aspects of the book. If you have a heart and wouldn't mind exploring growth, friendship, relationships, and family, this book is a good place to do so.
2 of 2 people found this review helpful
Would you try another book from Maureen Johnson and/or Emily Durante?
Yes. I have read Devilish by Maureen Johnson and loved it.
Has 13 Little Blue Envelopes turned you off from other books in this genre?
No, I don't think so.
Which character – as performed by Emily Durante – was your favorite?
They all were boring. Don't get me wrong, the performance was okay. The characters themselves were either boring, or unlikable. Or both,
What character would you cut from 13 Little Blue Envelopes?
Non. The book ITSELF was a waste of time.
Any additional comments?
Definitely not gonna read the sequel.
Would you consider the audio edition of 13 Little Blue Envelopes to be better than the print version?
No. I've read 13LBE a million times since picking it up in high school, and I haven't stopped loving it. I was excited to listen to it because of all the countries and dialects that are featured, but Durante is just awful at accents. Had it not been written into the story that Keith had a Scottish accent, Durante would have convinced me he was Indian. She also manages to butcher Australian, British RP, and even American when she switches back to it.
Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?
This book makes me laugh AND cry. Maureen Johnson is a genius.
I loved this story! As with all of Maureen Johnson's books, the witty voice of the characters was my favorite part. Unfortunately, the narrator herself just about ruined the entire book for me. I'm a stickler for accents. If a narrator can't get the accents of the characters down, it ruins the illusion for me, and this narrator cannot do accents!
Would you say that listening to this book was time well-spent? Why or why not?
I found the story of this book kinda dull and the main character pretty passive. I liked the theme of the value of love, family and human connections, though.
Do you think 13 Little Blue Envelopes needs a follow-up book? Why or why not?
It already has a sequal
Any additional comments?
If you enjoy road trips you should listen to Amy and Roger's Epic Detour instead.
it's a nice book to read althoug the story is realy silly. This book have a nice performance.
When I finished it I bought the continuing story, book 2.
Would you recommend this book to a friend? Why or why not?
yeah I would recommend it , though I didn't like the hero Keith but it is very nice and light story
What other book might you compare 13 Little Blue Envelopes to and why?
Amy and Roger's Epic Detour <br/>Because they both have the same plot only Amy and Roger's Epic Detour is way better
What about Emily Durante’s performance did you like?
her performance is very good and I felt most of the character except at the end all the males sounded the same for me
Was 13 Little Blue Envelopes worth the listening time?
yeah it was and I enjoyed it very much
Any additional comments?
I just wanted Keith out of the story and I would've given it a 5/5
this is a very light hearted and entertaining book about a shy girl that is sent on different expeditions around europe. she at first has a hard time coming out of her shell, but eventually finds herself gaining confidence and discovering who she really is. i read this book while traveling around africa, and really enjoyed how all of her mishaps open her up and give her confidence. there is so much to learn about the world and yourself when you travel.
I kept losing my consentration.. So I feel like I didn`t get the whole story..
It was much of the same and no big thigs happened.
And for me which is new to the whole audibook thing. I just lost focus.. :(
As my headline says.. Wish I had it in paperform.
Coz I heard great things.. and I still think this might be a book for me..
0 of 1 people found this review helpful