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.Review:
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.
Sometimes sequels do not live up to the previous book. However, sometimes they blow the first book away to the extreme. Maureen Johnson’s The Last Little Blue Envelope, the follow-up to 13 Little Blue Envelopes- a major favorite of mine- was one of those kinds of books. Containing not only a swoon-worthy setting along with fabulously funny main characters (old and new) but also a lot of heart, this book- as well as its prequel- are absolute must-reads, in my opinion.
The Last Blue Envelope picks up Ginny’s story a few months after she has returned from her whirlwind European trip. Ginny has quickly readjusted to life at home, however everything changes when she receives an email from Oliver. Oliver claims to have the thirteenth blue envelope Ginny was sure she lost forever, and he is willing to give it back to her, but under two conditions: she must return to Europe and allow him to accompany her on the trip the letter describes. Always up for an adventure as well as a chance to see her sort-of-something Keith, Ginny quickly packs her bags, though little does she know this trip will soon change everything once again. Friendships will be tested; new loves will be introduced; but will Ginny stay true to herself? In addition, what exactly does that thirteenth little blue envelope contain? Only time and more pages will tell in this addictive coming-of-age tale sure to leave readers laughing as well as rooting on Ginny every step of the way.
Honestly, the aspect that always leaves me hooked on Maureen’s books is the characters, and this book was no different. Ginny is a girl who I quite simply adore. Brave, smart, witty, and fearless, she is someone I’ve come to admire and relate to easily. Then there is Keith. Pompous, alluring, and charming, he is in most ways the definition of a swoon-worthy boy- one who I love as well as hate. I also enjoyed seeing the return of past characters in this (like Ginny’s uncle) and new ones, such as Oliver, the mysterious boy who I for the life of me could not figure out for the majority of the book, and Ellis, yet another hilarious Brit.
With this book, also came a fabulous setting: Europe. Over the course of the book, Maureen truly creates Europe yet another one of her “characters” so to say because it comes to life in the best kind of ways. The descriptions make the reader truly want to have their own Ginny inspired trip- or at least it makes me want one.
The plot of this was also fantastic. For one, it was in all ways a separate story from the prequel in the way it fully stood on its own and contained a completely new idea. Better yet, it had several twists and turns as well as funny and sad moments, that will truly win any reader over in my opinion.
Finally yet importantly, Maureen’s writing in this was fabulous. Full of spunk and liveliness, there was not a thing I did not like about it. She has created characters as well as a setting I have come to love, laugh-out-loud banter and scenes, and most importantly, every word feels like a delicious chocolate- perfect and purely delicious goodness that you can't help but want to devour.
In all, The Last Blue Envelope has reminded me once again why Maureen Johnson is one of the best YA authors out there, and I have a feeling it will do the same to others.
Highly, highly recommended.
The Last Little Blue Envelope is now out!
Source: HarperTeen via Netgalley