Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Book Review: The Last Blue Envelope by Maureen Johnson

Goodreads says:

"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."

It has been months since Ginny's return from Europe.  When she was in Greece, her backpack was stolen along with the letters from Aunt Peg.  Without the last envelope, Ginny  was unable to complete the final task.

Months later, Ginny receives an email from someone in London who found her backpack and envelopes. Ginny heads back to London to retrieve her stolen items.  When she arrives, she encounters plenty of surprises and the opening of old wounds.  When Ginny visits Keith, she finds out that he has a girlfriend. 

Ginny meets Oliver who is willing to help her find Aunt Peg's remaining paintings.  The catch is that Oliver wants to split the profits with Ginny. Ginny was all geared up to travel to Paris with Oliver alone.  Sensing that Oliver was out to use Ginny, Keith decides drive Ginny and Oliver to France himself.  (Thumbs up for Keith).  

Ginny is off on another European adventure with Keith, Ellis, and Oliver.  Thank goodness that she doesn't have to do it alone.  The group travel to Paris, Belgium, the Netherlands, and Ireland.  Another advantage is that Ginny can have her phone, computer, maps, and guidebooks if necessary.  

I was eager to read The Last Blue Envelope by Maureen Johnson because I was curious to find out what happens to Ginny.  I wanted to know if Ginny simply moved on and forgot about the envelope.  I also was curious to know if Ginny and Keith were girlfriend and boyfriend.  

In my review of 13 Little Blue Envelopes, I wrote about  how the author ended the novel with a lot of loose ends.  At least the follow up novel tied up a lot of these loose ends.  I can't help but wonder what Ginny's parents have to say about all of this.  (Just a thought).  At least Richard gets to make a few appearances.  

On an additional note, I wanted to read The Last Blue Envelope because a friend of mine went to London a few weeks ago.  I wanted to feel like I was there.  Reading about Ginny's adventures and misadventures makes me wish that I could have taken a similar trip to Europe when I was her age.

Another positive aspect of this novel is that it was stronger than the last novel in terms of showing not telling.  Maureen Johnson doesn't just simply tell us what happens.  I got a better sense of what was going on within each scene.  For instance, there is a scene were Keith's car was traveling down the road. It was described as "farting and spitting."  Yes, I know it sounds disgusting, and we all know cars don't does things, but this description gave the Keith's beat up car human like charracteristics.  Also, there was a lot of humor between the characters.  For me, that is always a plus.

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