Sunday, May 24, 2009

13 Little Blue Envelopes by Maureen Johnson

It has been some while since I posted to the blog, although I did read this title a few months ago. Time has been taken up with classes, my Latin class, a flower sale and of course the Burgen und Berge trip to Europe. Suffice it to say in a month reading will once again become a priority in my life.

Ginny is a normal seventeen year old living in New Jersey whose life changes when she receives a letter from her Aunt Peg, a free spirited woman who would often disappear for months at a time only to show up with incredible tales of adventures. In the letter is a an ATM card and instructions for Ginny to get a passport, book a ticket to London and follow all subsequent instructions in the 12 Little Blue Envelopes. She cannot take a mobile phone, laptop, have any electronic contact with her friends, and must fit everything that she does take into a backpack. The book's adventure begins as she journeys to London and is directed to a flat that her aunt once shared with Richard.

As she finished the tasks in one envelope, Ginny is directed to the next. As she does this she travels all over Europe from Scotland to Rome to Amsterdam. Johnson's description of the places she visits is accurate and enticing. As one who loves to travel and experience different cultures and venues, this book proved to be quite intriguing. There are twists, turns, and a mystery all wrapped up in the pages.

Along the way she meets many people. She is adopted by an American family, the Knapps, in Amsterdam. Being awakened in the morning by a cheery "mother" with a schedule of the day's events hit a nerve as I saw a bit of me in her. It began with a visit to the museum at 9 am and ended with bedtime at 10 pm. Everything in the middle of the itinerary was scheduled to the minute.

This was a delightful book and one that would appeal to all who have a penchant for adventure and travel. The ending took me a bit by surprise, but I won't spoil it by sharing here. You'll have to read it and find out for yourself.