Wednesday, June 8, 2011

THE LAST LITTLE BLUE ENVELOPE Review

THE LAST LITTLE BLUE ENVELOPE by Maureen Johnson



From Goodreads: 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.


Hardcover, 304 pages
Published April 26th 2011 by HarperTeen




LLBE is one of those books. The ones you just have to read because the first was so enjoyable. I adored 13 LITTLE BLUE ENVELOPES and I could wait to read LLBE. And I wasn't disappointed.

Disclaimer: If you haven't read 13LBE, you may not want to read this for light spoilers. There are no spoilers for LLBE, however.

Cover: Okay, the cover has not much to do with the book, but it's pretty. It's got the envelope of the last of the 13 letters. You know, that one that was lost? Well, it's pretty if nothing else.

Plot/writing: The story of the last great adventure on which Ginny's aunt takes her. It's the final task that she didn't know anything about. Until now. Enter a mysterious man asking her to return to London to meet him and to get the stolen letter. But, this stranger wants more than Ginny bargained for, and she's off on a crazy adventure.

I adored the story LLBE, although at times it was fairly predicable. Other times, however, it blew me away with the raw emotion that Johnson wrung into the words. One part had me crying. And yet, Johnson still manages all this with the brilliant and hilarious tone of a character I've come to cherish. Johnson's writing is straight-forward, giving enough detail to make me wonder at the world, but simple enough that I am not pulled away from what really matters: story.

Characters: We're back with our main character, Ginny, who is sweet, kind, a little naive and – although she wouldn't think so – a little odd. Johnson's has created an MC who doesn't necessarily perpetuate all the strange things that happen to her. They just happen, which is brilliant to watch unfold. Enter Keith, the lovable thief/playwright Keith. And while sexual tension between the two is abound, Keith is a bit more annoying than he was in the previous book. There are also two new characters who join the cast and the journey – the mysterious boy Oliver who is dead-set on getting to the end of the journey alive, and Ellis, who is Keith's new girlfriend. By the end I loved and hated them all, which is saying something. You will love these characters. Because, they are just that good.

Themes: I love that this book was not supposed to be a sequel. It was not supposed to exist at all, in fact. (At first, I thought how can there be a sequel? And then I was a little upset about how the new task fit in, almost a little too deus ex machina for me. And then, I couldn't imagine a better end to the first book than this.) This book came out of the fans asking for more. Although I only read the first book shortly before reading LLBE, I too would have demanded more.

And there sits Ginny, trying to work on her scholarship essays but can't. She's stuck, lost. She still misses her aunt and hasn't fully let it sink in. She's still grieving. This is a book about how she overcomes those feelings, finally gets closure with her aunt Peg, and decides to take a step forward for her future. It's a lovely ending to a rather odd story. And I loved it.

Overall: Maureen Johnson is a fantastic writer, and you will not be disappointed by this book if you read the last. Five of Five stars. Magnificent. I wouldn't mind reading a third book. You hear that, Maureen? I want a third book!