Read 13 Little Blue Envelopes by Maureen Johnson Free Online
Book Title: 13 Little Blue Envelopes|
The author of the book: Maureen Johnson
Edition: Perfection Learning
Date of issue: December 21st 2010
ISBN 13: 9780756978303
Format files: PDF
The size of the: 970 KB
City - Country: No data
Loaded: 2264 times
Reader ratings: 6.8
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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 pick up the pieces after she passed with very little explanation -- but wait! Aunt Peg has left Ginny mysterious envelopes that she's not allowed to open all at once and strange instructions to travel around Europe.
Mr. and Mrs. Disappearstone allow their seventeen year old daughter -- their only child -- to go traipsing around Europe. The rules state she's not allowed a cell phone or laptop or camera. They're not even allowed to give her extra money so they know there's a back up plan in case Mrs. Disapperancestone's unreliable sister who died from a brain tumor several months before hasn't provided Ginny with everything she might need for this spur of the moment trip. Oh yeah, and she's not allowed to call them even on a pay phone. No communication back home. Honestly, I would have been slightly concerned in Ginny's case. What's the goal here? Sell me on the black market?
You know what I would have done if I was Mummy-DisappearanceStone? I would have told my daughter that Aunt Peg was mentally unstable when she was healthy and thrown the envelopes into a fire place before I let her go off on some half-baked adventure across Europe. Of course, Ginny thought mentions that her parents weren't thrilled, but somehow this underaged minor is still on a plane to England in the first few chapters. Awesome, just awesome.
Look, some of my annoyance with this book is based on just how often the parents disappear in YA fiction. I know it's the easiest route to take. How can Ginny have a sexy adventure in England and then the rest of Europe if her mom is following her around? Well, if you can't man up and work with the circumstances the age of your character gives you then you have no business writing Young Adult fiction. This book should have been written about a girl who has completed one or two years of college, who has some experience living out there on her own within reasonable distance to her family (even if that reasonable distance is merely being able to pick up a phone and ask for financial help). No sane parent would ever let their child go on the trip Ginny did. I was asked to suspend my disbelief a little too far and now it's lost. Mourn for it.
While I think this book was better suited for 20-something chick-lit I also don't think Maureen Johnson has the stomach to ever do the sex scene that would have more likely than not happened if she hadn't been writing about a dewy-eyed Virgin. Yes, Virgin with a capital V. From what I gather reading other reviews on Maureen Johnson's books her characters pretty much all have the capital Virgin card in their deck. I'm tired of the constant YA virgin business. Part of what made me love The Duff was the fact that we didn't have another maidenhead to protect throughout the whole book! The novel *gasp* started with a non-virginal teenager.
Anyway, Ginny's adventures are very uncoordinated. I get that the aunt made Ginny's trip mimic her own eccentric path across Europe, but I should have felt there was some master intention from the author's point of view rather than constantly imagining Maureen Johnson throwing a dart at a map of Europe and going 'okay, time to buy a travel book for that country!'
The writing was, unfortunately, not top notch. There was a scene where Ginny really had to pee, but couldn't tell the difference between the men and women's bathroom symbols. She gets whisked off before she can pee and it felt like a Chekhov's gun. It left me sitting there wondering what just happened. Why did you waste my time with that scene if it meant nothing?
Ginny also gets put in a near date-rape situation from following her aunt's advice to hit on a random Italian boy. This immediately follows her nearly getting mugged. Eventually she does get robbed of all her worldly possessions, what's left of her very dwindling money, and the last envelope that could have explained all the shit that happened to her. Losing the last envelope was a cop out. It wasn't a clever device that added mystery to the novel. Some of what might have been in the note gets discovered later, but you never know for sure what it said. There is a sequel to the novel planned, but I think the intention was to leave it dangling.
Also, the subplot about her aunt's paintings and how the value sky-rocketed after her death? Um no. Peg had not merited a lot of fame in life. Her death was abrupt and she died young, yes, but death does not equate millions of dollars to your estate. It was an over simplification of how the art world works and in the end it just wasn't accurate. A huge portion of the happily ever ending was contingent on these unbelievable stipulations.
Oh and the romance.... Yeah. I felt more of a connection between two stick figures I doodled at work. The romance felt like requisite met because it was a YA coming of age novel rather than anything that actually fit with the book. Keith is around for one country and pops up in another so that their romance can develop. Forced, contrived etc etc.
So why two stars and not one? The writing wasn't awful. The idea was just underdeveloped and rushed. I think with more time from Johnson and an editor who'd pushed her to really polish it the book could have easily been three stars, maybe four. I do think she has some talent and I want to try her again, but this was definitely a disappointing start.
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Read information about the authorMaureen 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 Hank and John Green.
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