13 Little Blue Envelopes

Maureen Johnson, Author . HarperCollins $15.99 (336p) ISBN 978-0-06-054141-5

Self-effacing Ginny, 17, heads off to Europe with a giant purple-and-green backpack and an intriguing itinerary: she must follow the instructions set forth in a series of 13 sealed envelopes provided to her by her recently deceased Aunt Peg, an artist and free spirit. Ginny's journey starts in London, where she falls in with Keith, a scruffy but appealing performer who, as the designated love interest, is destined to pop up throughout the novel. Zig-zagging from Edinburgh to Rome (task: "Ask a Roman boy out for cake") to Paris (find the tiny café Peg spent a month decorating and painting) to Amsterdam and beyond, Ginny follows her aunt's footsteps while learning to rely on her own pluck and imagination. Readers will findGinny an excellent traveling companion: her wry observations reveal a keen eye for the defining details of the backpacking experience. Letter by letter, country by country, Ginny comes into her own as she begins to accept the loss of her beloved mentor. Her realization that she is indeed an adventurer, even without Peg's presence, is the emotional ballast that provides gravity to the novel's delicious fairytale ending. Equal parts poignant, funny and inspiring, this tale is sure to spark wanderlust. Ages 12-up. (Sept.)

Reviewed on: 09/05/2005
Release date: 09/01/2005
Paperback - 317 pages - 978-0-00-731990-9
Downloadable Audio - 978-0-06-206781-4
Downloadable Audio - 978-0-06-207162-0
Library Binding - 336 pages - 978-0-06-054142-2
Prebound-Glued - 317 pages - 978-0-7569-7830-3
Paperback - 317 pages - 978-0-06-054143-9
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Peanut Press/Palm Reader - 368 pages - 978-0-06-182523-1
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Ebook - 368 pages - 978-0-06-197380-2
Ebook - 978-0-06-210280-5
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