Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Review - The Last Little Blue Envelope

This review contains spoilers for 13 Little Blue Envelopes.
After the thirteenth little blue envelope was stolen, Ginny figured her adventures were over. However, when an anonymous guy named Oliver emails saying that he has the last letter, the adventure starts again as Ginny joins Keith, his new girlfriend Ellis, and Oliver in order to find Peggy's last piece of artwork.

I liked 13 Little Blue Envelopes, but I didn't love it. The sequel, however, is a much stronger read and I enjoyed it quite a bit more. Unlike the first book, there's a steady cast here that lends stability and heart to a very plot-centric story. As she tries to figure out what happens after high school, Ginny's also being blackmailed by Oliver, traveling Europe to pick up the various pieces of Aunt Peg's last masterpiece, and navigating the tricky relationship between her and Keith. At the end of 13 Little Blue Envelopes they were "kind of something," but now Keith has a girlfriend (the incredibly nice Ellis) and instead of telling Ginny, she's left to discover it on her own. The relationship between Ginny and her uncle Richard is a big part of the story this time around. The life Ginny has in Europe, with Richard, shows so clearly what a big part of her life exists across the pond and I absolutely loved it.

The actual plot was great. This time around there are only three places that Ginny has to visit, which makes for a much more relaxed pace and allows for a lot of setting description and atmosphere that really set the stage. Ginny's inner journey was possibly even more interesting than all the traveling and hijinks she got into, if only because there's such a sense of resolution here. Not only is there the closure that comes with being able to read the last letter from her aunt Peg, but also a sort of resolution with Keith and not only an ending, but also a new beginning as she reaches the end of her journey. The ending of this book really is the best sort in that it resolves the current story but leaves open a lot of hope and possibility for Ginny's life from this point forward. And in this way the book not only finishes the story of the envelopes, but also signals the rest of Ginny's life as she contemplates college applications and what her life holds after graduation.

It was great. If you've read 13 Little Blue Envelopes, you probably already want to read this book -- but if you haven't and you're a fan of contemporary YA, Maureen Johnson, or even just quirky coming-of-age novels, I definitely recommend reading it. (Though it does make more sense if you've read the first book before this one.)
The Last Little Blue Envelope comes out TODAY!

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