Posted 19 April, 2011 | Mary @ TheBookSwarm | | 4 Comments

YA Contemporary
304 pages
Available April 26, 2011 (but it’s already been spotted in the wild!)
Review copy provided by HarperTeen


Ginny Blackstone thought that the biggest adventure of her life was behind her. She spent last summer traveling around Europe, following the tasks her aunt Peg laid out in a series of letters before she died. When someone stole Ginny’s backpack—and the last little blue envelope inside—she resigned herself to never knowing how it was supposed to end.
Months later, a mysterious boy contacts Ginny from London, saying he’s found her bag. Finally, Ginny can finish what she started. But instead of ending her journey, the last letter starts a new adventure—one filled with old friends, new loves, and once-in-a-lifetime experiences. Ginny finds she must hold on to her wits . . . and her heart. This time, there are no instructions.

I’m a total Maureen Johnson fangirl so I was absolutely ecstatic when I heard she wrote a follow up to 13 LITTLE BLUE ENVELOPES. We were all left hanging a bit at the end of that story, since Ginny’s backpack was stolen along with all of the envelopes including the last one. Ginny sold her Aunt Peg’s paintings, said goodbye to her uncle and Keith, and headed back home to America.

When we rejoin Ginny, she’s staring down a college application essay and the dreaded question, “Describe a life experience that changed you. What was it, and what did you learn? (1,000 words)”. While, of course, she had an amazing life experience, she just can’t seem to figure out how to talk about it in a thousand words or less. Plus, then there’s Keith. Do they have a thing or not? They used to IM all the time and now…not so much. As she dwells on her maybe-relationship and the essay she has to complete ASAP, she gets a mysterious email from someone in England who claims to have found her backpack and all the letters, including the last one. So, she jumps on a plane.

A good travel adventure always rocks, and this story doesn’t disappoint. Ginny heads back to her uncle’s house, who is more than happy to host her, even if she did drop in at the worst possible time (Harrod’s at Christmas). He’s a sweet guy and a great sounding board for her, as she tries to puzzle out her life.

I do wish that Ginny were a bit more forceful, more confident. Even though she’s adventurous (she has to be to follow her aunt’s nutty directions), she kind of sits back and lets those around her direct things. Like the writer of the mysterious email, Oliver. He won’t give her the letter and blackmails her into signing a contract to split the monies from the sale of whatever art they find, and only reveals bits and pieces of the letters so they won’t ditch him along the way. He comes across as kind of a jerk, and she doesn’t stands up to him.

Aunt Peg’s instructions are as wacky as ever and lead Ginny and her adventuresome friends around Europe once again. Ginny gets another chance to really see through her aunt’s artistic eye and finally say goodbye.

Written in Johnson’s quirky voice (which came through loud and clear in this novel. I think I picked up on it even more than before because I’ve been following her tweets.), THE LAST LITTLE BLUE ENVELOPE exceeded my expectations. Wonderful. Read it (but read 13 LITTLE BLUE ENVELOPES first. You’ll appreciate this one ever so much more.).

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4 Responses to “THE LAST LITTLE BLUE ENVELOPE by Maureen Johnson”

  1. You’re right about Ginny, sometimes she does read like she lets things happen to her, and it takes her forever to realize she’s the one that put together her crazy crew, not her aunt.

    Richard is by far my favorite character, I wish there had been more of him 🙂

  2. I’m glad to finally see a review for this series. I’ve got the first book (bought it on clearance) and I’ve been putting it off, not sure if I’d like it. I think I’ll put it at the top of my pile now. Thanks! 🙂

  3. Alexa Nernberg

    I’m glad summer is coming, as I will have another two (or perhaps more) books to read. Based on your review, I think I will thoroughly enjoy these books. Thanks for sponsoring this giveaway and giving me an opportunity to participate.