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13 Little Blue Envelopes (Little Blue Envelope #1)

3.66 of 5 stars 3.66  ·  rating details  ·  62,723 ratings  ·  3,735 reviews
Ginny, aged 17, is left 13 little blue envelopes by her free-spirited young Aunt Peg. Little does she know just how much they will change her life.
Paperback, 317 pages
Published July 1st 2009 by HarperCollins Children's Books (first published August 23rd 2005)
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Leslie You can read my full content review at It gives details on sex, language, and violence that should help you determine an…moreYou can read my full content review at It gives details on sex, language, and violence that should help you determine an appropriate age for the book. There isn't much in the way of mature content, but there are a couple of sketchy situations. So it depends on the maturity of the reader, but I would recommend it to my 9th grade students without reservation. (less)
Cara Stock I loved this book! I read it when I was about 12 (I'm 17 now) and could understand it then. But it is not babyish at all! Very interesting and I am…moreI loved this book! I read it when I was about 12 (I'm 17 now) and could understand it then. But it is not babyish at all! Very interesting and I am planning on reading it again soon.(less)
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Community Reviews

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13 Little Blue Envelopes suffers from DPS. Disappearing Parent Syndrome is a tragic epidemic in YA novels. In this case the DPS was particularly severe. Seventeen year old Ginny Blackstone goes on a trip to Europe sponsored by her deceased aunt. Aunt Peg was not reliable when she was around. In fact, during the last several years of Ginny's life Peg was in Europe. She died without contacting the family to let them know she was suffering from a prolonged illness. The family was just expected to p ...more
May 31, 2014 Shannon rated it 1 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: no one
Shelves: own, ya-books
Unimpressive. The way Johnson writes is annoying; more than halfway into the book, I really didn't know ANYTHING about the main character, other than that she was on a (ridiculous) journey. It was all action and no thought. It was not insightful. The main character was not likeable. She wasn't unlikeable either. She was just like...doing things. She didn't have very many thoughts. And never very insightful ones (ie "I like this boy! I am sad. I am happy. I am angry"). COME ON. There was no attem ...more
I am not going to review this book except to say the thing that made me crazy. There were several instances in this book where something was mentioned and you think it is important and then it was dropped.

For instance, when the MC goes in the Louvre, it is mentioned that she checks her backpack in at the front--kind of like a coat check. Okay. No problem.

But then, as she is trying to get out of the Louvre she kind of starts going down random hall after hall in search of an exit and finally finds
Dec 11, 2007 Kathryn rated it 1 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: People who like Peaches and The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants
I read this book as an assignment from a mother-daughter book club that I am in with some friends from B.F. Day.
It wasn't very good, and while the plot is a nice idea, the author didn't really write it very well.
I mean, who would let thier daughter go overseas with no contact to the US and only carrying what she could fit in her backpack. And only haveing 1000 US dollars to spend. In addition to several other appalling facts, some of which are:
letting your daughter do the following:
1 stay with a
Oh, book. I had such hopes for you.

Here's the thing - I love travel stories. I love coming of age stories. So what's not to love about a coming of age story that involves lots and lots of traveling?

It's a hard question to answer, and the fastest way to answer it is: Aunt Peg is one seriously bitter person.

She lives without having constants. Fair enough. She does all sorts of menial, petty jobs while waiting for her career as an artist to hit off. Alright with me. Then she packs up and leaves for
Feb 17, 2008 Sarah rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Travel Lovers
Recommended to Sarah by: Chelsie D.
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Aly (Fantasy4eva)
I liked the premise. It was sort of interesting and cute. Dead Aunt sends niece on this unpredictable and slightly loony journey. (maybe not so cute). One very similar to the one that her aunt took when she felt a little lost and was dealing with a bit of a reality check.

17 year old Ginny doesn't think twice about it. She jets to her first destination, London. From there on it's one big ride. She goes through many experiences, and although it's a decent read, I just was not in love with the boo
Kayley Hyde
Feb 17, 2012 Kayley Hyde rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Anyone
Recommended to Kayley by: No one
Shelves: favourites
If you've ever been to Europe, thought about going to Europe, wanted to go about Europe or even heard of'll love this book. It's a quick, fun summer read. Very clever and warm-hearted. I love the characters, the plot and just everything about it. It always keeps you guessing. One of my favourites. Maureen never lets me down.
Jennifer Wardrip
Reviewed by Dena Landon for

When Virginia Blackstone (Ginny) receives the first blue envelope from her Aunt Peg in the mail, it sends her on an exciting, funny, and sometimes poignant adventure that readers will be delighted to join. The envelope contains $1,000 in cash, and the instructions to pick up a package of envelopes that start Ginny on a trip around Europe, tracing the steps of her eccentric Aunt. The instructions are specific; no cell phones, no maps, and Ginny can only
Angel Gelique
Passport Europe photo: Passport j0365180.gif

Ginger "Ginny" Blackstone, a seventeen-year-old college-bound girl, receives a letter from her deceased aunt instructing her to pick up a package from her former apartment. The package contains twelve additional envelopes, numbered two through thirteen. As per her aunt's insistence, Ginny must open an envelope only after completing the task from the previous envelope. The first envelope sends her to London with no money, cell phone, computer or guidebook. Ginny begins her adventure.

I honestly w
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Mini mini review
13 Little Blue Envelopes is a quick, light read that will intrigue young readers from the first page. This 'road trip novel' is filled with adventure and a cute romance. Maureen Johnson manages to pull off an entertaining story in 300 pages that may not fulfil older readers' expectations.

Looking at the Goodreads shelves for 13 Little Blue Envelopes, I'm quite positive that this should actually be under 'Middle Grade'. Now I love the MG genr
This book would be more aptly marketed as a book about what NOT to do on a trip abroad rather than a YA quasi-adventure/quasi-romance. The most common emotion it drew out of me was annoyance. What parent lets their 17-year-old child go to Europe alone WITH NO SUPPLIES? No parents, that's who. Ginny wasn't properly equipped to travel the way she did. She talks to strangers, goes back to apartments with random people, just walks around some places at night, and leaves her crap unattended like it i ...more
Yeah, it's unrealistic: no parents would send their daughter off for a month with no contact, especially if she's never travelled before. But... who really cares? It's a fairy tale.

A lot of the travel stuff *was* very authentic and struck a very strong chord with me. The only thing I really missed were the Canadians, although she definitely got the Taking Up With Random Australians thing.

I think it would be a great book to read before traveling, or while traveling. Excellent travel feel, with
I really wanted to read this book while I was in China because it has to do with travel. I was traveling, Ginny was traveling - it seemed the thing to do. I read it in two days, as well, which is saying something. But still, there was something lacking for me in this novel.

First, I'll admit that this is definitely a fast-paced read. I was never bored with the story. The constant change of setting kept the book clipping along at a pretty breakneck speed. Ginny visits a crazy amount of countries i

2.5 stars

I enjoyed this enough as I read it - I was sick, jetlagged and in need of something pleasantly escapist – and this book did the trick. It’s a light, fun read and I quite like Maureen Johnson’s writing (admittedly more so in her other books than this one, though).

But ultimately I just found the story rather forgettable (and a little implausible). I found Ginny to be a fairly delible (thank you, The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks for the neglected positive there!) character
I felt that this was only an okay book from Maureen Johnson and that it paled in comparison to my favorite from her, Girl at Sea. There was a good plotline that promised adventure and romance in a foreign country that I was dissappointed to find did not exist. While it was an excellent idea, I felt the story did not develop well enough and it didn't go too in-depth. This book could have been better written but otherwise, still a good read.
13 Little Blue Envelopes by Maureen Johnson is a modern day coming of age story. It centers around Virginia 'Ginny' Blackstone, a 17 year old girl who is given a letter in a blue envelope. The letter tells her to fly to London, but she can't bring any crutches. What ensues is a fantastic adventure.
Read the rest of my review here
This was a book which seems to have sat on my Kindle forever, and kept on being pushed further down the list of to-read books, as more were added. Somehow I managed to reorder the dates so that the oldest books appeared first on the list, with this book being near the top as a consequence.
I have to admit to being pleasantly surprised by this book, and by the author who was previously unknown to me. There was nothing about the book that I disliked, it was very well planned out with wonderful char
The concept of the story, and especially the way the story unfolded, was so preposterous that it makes Twilight realistic. Seventeen year old Ginny receives 13 envelopes from her aunt, and needs to follow the instructions one at a time. This involves going to Europe and getting into stupid situations that miraculously resolve themselves. The first quarter of the story wasn't bad. The envelope containing Ginny's instructions to help an artist through donating a generous gift, were described with ...more
Can you imagine just dropping everything and parading off to England on the whim of your Aunt, who is now dead not knowing exactly where you are going or who you are going to stay with? Ginny is in this situation. Her Aunt left her 13 letters, all of which giving her instructions on what to do next and where to go, never opening the next letter until the task was completed. She is on a quest throughout Europe. I'm a little jealous... not of the dead aunt part, but the all expenses paid for traip ...more
This is my first review on here, and after reading a few last night, I have to say that I doubt mine will be as intellectual as others' may be. Just saying, in case you're expecting something spectacularly detailed.

13 Little Blue Envelopes is a story I can't sum up without rambling a little. It's all about a girl called Ginny, 17-years-old, who recieves 13 envelopes (blue ones, of course) from her Aunt Peg, who has died. She's informed (through letter) that she has to leave for a few weeks, trav

(Random Fun Fact: This is my 13th book I have read in 2011. And I didn't even plan that. EHEHEH.)

Anyway, the reason for the confliction is that in the first three-fourths of this book, I could hardly stand it. However, I actually enjoyed the last fourth. The reason for this was that the main character underwent a character change from an idiotic girl with no personality to one who would actually be fun to talk to. I think the author was getting annoyed at
I thought this was a cute plot and yeah, maybe not the most in-depth character study of the century but I think some of these reviewers may be missing the point of the story. I mean, did anybody really want to endure an entire chapter in which Ginny begs her parents for permission to go to Europe? (Or even more ridiculous: every time she checked her bag or had to pee?)

Not a whole lot of back story about Ginny's life was given and I think Maureen Johnson did that for a reason. Because Ginny didn
AWESOME! 5 stars! VERY CREATIVE! Unique! I love every little thing about it. Definitely exceeded my expectation!

I've been seeing this book in our bookstore for a long time but the title was really the one that caught my attention. It seems very interesting and cute! Of course, my curiosity for those 13 little blue envelopes and the messages they carry was killing me. LOL! I expected a lot of adventures and funny scenes, and the book never failed in any point. What I didn't expect is the ability

Maureen Johnson has quite the reputation in the YA world. She is admired by plenty of bloggers and produces a number of eccentric Tweets. I sped through 13 Little Blue Envelopes over the course of a weekend, and had no inclination to put it down. While this book gave me happy reminisces about my own European adventures and kept me entertained, I didn’t care for Ginny as a protagonist.

13 Little Blue Envelopes read like a mash-up between Cecilia Ahern’s P.S. I Love You and a David Levithan novel.
I love YA lit and I'm not trying to be a hater here. But meh to this book. I only picked it up because John Green is always loving on Maureen Johnson and I figured anyone he endorses must be fantastic. And Johnson probably is. I'll probably try her again, but I just did not love 13 LBE.

My main issue here: I could not suspend my disbelief. Willing suspension of disbelief is pretty integral for a book like this (girl jets around Europe on her dead aunt's dime...her parents never once check up on
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jun 23, 2011 Nicole rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Anyone who loves an adventure from the comfort of their own home.
I kept seeing this book on the shelf every time I would go to the library and it's been on my TBR a LOOOONG time. But each time I would go to the library and see it there it was almost as if it were saying, Read me!!!! Check me out. You won't be sorry!!!! So I finally gave in to the voices and decided to give it a try. And I have to admit, I was a little apprehensive about reading it. Although, I'm not sure why. I love Maureen Johnson's books. I guess I was expecting it to be kind of a fluffy te ...more
A really enjoyable backpacker's story - written by someone with obvious travel experience behind her - with very few drawbacks.

What i.e. ticked me was the money issue: No way can you take planes and trains to and fro Europe's capital cities and pay stays in youth hostels for less than 1300 Pounds altogether, if you have not booked your seat months earlier. But there was much more to like than to criticize.

I especially liked the subtle humor tickling throughout the book. And I liked Ginny's pers
Zoë (readbyzoe)
I listened to this book as an audio book during my drive to New Orleans which made me dislike the book even more (I didn't enjoy the reader's voice). I enjoyed the book in the beginning but soon felt like the story was dragging and every country visited after Paris was unnecessary. I also didn't really like any character in this book, they had no depth and weren't interesting or likable. The concept of this book was so intriguing but I was disappointed.
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Maureen knew from an early age she wanted to be a writer. She went to high school at an all-girls' Catholic school and graduated from University of Delaware with a degree in writing. She now lives and writes in New York City.

Many of the adventures Maureen's characters face in her books are based on real-life stories. Maureen has traveled all over Europe, and is a Secret Sister to vlog brothers Han
More about Maureen Johnson...

Other Books in the Series

Little Blue Envelope (2 books)
  • The Last Little Blue Envelope (Little Blue Envelope, #2)
The Name of the Star (Shades of London, #1) The Last Little Blue Envelope (Little Blue Envelope, #2) Suite Scarlett (Scarlett, #1) The Bermudez Triangle Girl at Sea

Share This Book

“Rule #1: You may bring only what fits in your backpack. Don’t try to fake it with a purse or a carry-on.

Rule #2: You may not bring guidebooks, phrase books, or any kind of foreign language aid. And no journals.

Rule #3: You cannot bring extra money or credit/debit cards, travelers’ checks, etc. I’ll take care of all that.

Rule #4: No electronic crutches. This means no laptop, no cell phone, no music, and no camera. You can’t call home or communicate with people in the U.S. by Internet or telephone. Postcards and letters are acceptable and encouraged.

That’s all you need to know for now. ”
“I'm Keith," he said, "and you're . . . clearly mad, but what's your name?” 113 likes
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