In a nutshell, these are young adult books about a teenage girl named Ginny who is sent on a scavenger hunt of sorts orchestrated and funded by her recently deceased aunt. The aunt has written letters and placed them in 13 individual little blue envelopes. These envelopes contain instructions for Ginny to travel to Europe to see and experience all sorts of things in hopes of expanding her horizons and learning some things about herself. The envelopes must be opened in order and each new envelope can only be opened when the instructions from the previous envelope have been completed. The first book focuses on getting through the envelopes and seeing Europe through a unique lens crafted by her aunt. The second book resolves an issue from the end of the first book (won’t ruin it with a spoiler here) that takes her back to Europe to provide a relatively tidy conclusion for the whole experience.
While I noted a few continuity issues and I had a tad bit of a hard time believing a 17 year old would be ALLOWED by her parents to just traipse across Europe alone, I still really enjoyed the travelogue/discovery aspects of these books. With a pinch of art appreciation thrown in and some heartwarming personal relationships, I felt they were both enjoyable books.
13 Little Blue Envelopes published August 23, 2005 by HarperTeen
The Last Little Blue Envelope published April 26, 2011 by HarperTeen
My rating – 4 out of 5
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