August 24, 2013

Review: The Last Little Blue Envelope by Maureen Johnson

The Last Little Blue Envelope (Little Blue Envelope #2)
Author: Maureen Johnson
Release Date: April 26th, 2011
Publisher: HarperTeen
Page Count: 282 
Source: Borrowed from the New York Public Library
Rating: Richard parental power and Ginny's growth as a character make this book an awesome wanderlust read - much better than the first.
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.

[Summary Source: Goodreads]

Ginny lost the last little blue envelope. But then she gets an email that says some guy has the envelope and wants to meet her to finish the last task in said last envelope. So Ginny picks up and goes back to England to finish what she started.

Let's break this down:

Okay, to start with, I'm still not pleased with the absence of Ginny's parents BUT Richard does play something of a parent's role in this book and there's already a precedent of Ginny's parents being useless, so I was able to move past it.

But that's not the only reason I like the second book in this series than the first (although that did play a big part in it).

The other major reason I like this book more is because while book one was about shaking things up, pulling Ginny out of her stupor, book two is about what she decides to become once she realizes there's more than one option. Not to mention, Ginny finally takes control of the situation. Like, serious shenanigans ensue, but she finds a way to deal with it. Especially when Oliver blackmails her at the start of the book (because that shit cray).

The third reason I can think of that this book did it for me much more than the first is because the book starts with an injustice. Books that start with really terrible situations have a way of pulling me in from minute one. So, when Oliver starts the story extorting money from Ginny, I can't help but be sucked in. And then when everything happens with Keith, my insides freaked the heck out because HOW CAN SO MANY THINGS GO WRONG FOR ONE GIRL SO QUICKLY? (Even though all of the things going wrong at once is dead realistic.)

So this book. Better than the first because of all those reasons, but awesome on it's own merits as well. Like, I really love how I started book one loving Keith because of all his quirky, by the end of book two I was over him for the same characteristics. And while I started book two HATING Oliver, by the end I adored everything about it. Also, while I found Ginny kind of whatever in book one (it was really her adventures I loved) I really enjoyed how she really did take control in this book.

Basically what I'm saying is the character development here is stellar and totally believable.

It's also worth mentioning that I never once hated Ellis and I love Ginny for also pretty much never once hating her either.

And finally, Richard. I wish Maureen Johnson would write an adult companion book about Richard (plus possibly Peg, Ginny's aunt). I don't know what it'd be about, but I find him to be the most endearing man ever. I mean, a guy who puts up with all of Ginny's aunt's supposed craziness and Ginny's insane travel? He DESERVES 300-400 pages of his own. Also, he has a really cool job.

So, like, seriously, a short story about him finding ridiculous gifts for the Queen?

On a final note, while I really enjoyed all the countries Ginny visited in book one, I liked how book two is more focused on a few places and the journey getting to those places. There was meaning to each of those places and what Ginny took from each of them beyond just the casual: "Dear Ginny, I was here. Go there also. Love, Aunt Peg." That was nice. I definitely enjoyed that.

Also, seriously. Richard forced a cellphone on her and made her call him daily. SOMEONE GIVE THIS MAN A SHORT STORY.

The long and short of it?

Plot: Fewer places but more substance and character development, which I love.
World Building: See, now Ginny has a cellphone and a person on the other end who doesn't want her to end up dead in a ditch in some foreign country. This works for me.
Character Development: Ginny and Keith really develop and show through true colors in the second book of this series. And y'know what? Even the characters introduced in book two seem grow into themselves over the course of this short book.
Prose: Wonderful words that tell a really fun story.
Would I Recommend This Book?: This installment of the series is really good. If you're into quirky travel books with complicated relationships, I think it's worth it to start the series to get to the end (it's only two books and they're short, quick reads). But if you're not so into that stuff or get really mad when parents act irrationally, book one will probably put you off, so maybe you shouldn't bother.

Did you enjoy this sequel as much as I did? What did you think of Ginny's choices? How about Keith and Oliver's choices? I think those are just as interesting, so let me know in the comments below!


  1. I loved Richard. He was such a good uncle! Though, for both books, the absence of Ginny's parents bugged me. I wouldn't say I liked this one more, but I still really liked it. It was nice to get that resolution at the end!

    Great review!

  2. Richard was a great uncle! And I loved him so much. I actually didn't mind the absence of Ginny's parents much! Anything can happen in books as far as I'm concerned! I liked how Ginny didn't hate Ellis either. Because she was so nice and I wouldn't have been able to stand it if Ginny hated her just because she know.

  3. I love your idea for an adult book about Ginny's aunt! I really like this little series a ton (I read it in a day I think) even though it could have been a bit more detailed? Then I also got the travel bug :)

  4. So, I read the first book when I was thirteen years old (so young!) and adored it, but that was before I read really good books and now it's just meh. Got it? I'm rambling and I just don't care. But THIS BOOK is so much better! Ginny is just so much more likeable, and I really loved her character growth as well. ALSO, I was really upset about the Keith stuff at first, but that was before Oliver turned adorable.

    RICHARD SHORT STORY EFF YEAHHHHH. I love him. He's probably my favorite character of this series.


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