What it’s about :
Before she passed away, Ginny’s aunt took care of leaving behind a very special gift for her niece : 13 blue envelopes with very specific instructions for a trip around Europe. Equipped with a single backpack and no guidebook (as instructed), Ginny is ready for a life changing experience.
My Thoughts :
This was my second experience with Maureen Johnson and certainly a more positive one than Suite Scarlett, which was fine but not outstanding. And while 13 Little Blue Envelopes didn’t blew me away, it was certainly more fun, and sweet, and likable!
I was quickly hooked to the story, which had many of my favorite things : letters, the small mystery they contained, travel around Europe, a touch of humor, a touch of feel-good story. I have to say, I admired Ginny’s will to follow her aunt’s instructions, because I don’t know that I would be brave enough to hop on a plane to Greece without a guidebook. Scary! Or not to open the letters before time. I like to think that I would be more patient and less curious, but I’m not so sure! It certainly made for an interesting story, though.
One question that troubled me while reading was : what about Ginny’s parents? We only hear of her one best friend back home, with whom she seems to be really close. And maybe that’s the only friend she has, and that’s understandable. But she barely has a thought for her parents in all the book, and I don’t even think she tries to communicate with them once. (I might be wrong there, but the point still stands; she barely mentions them). It was hardly believable, especially when at the start of Ginny’s story, she described her mom as more strict, more reasonable than her aunt.
I also wish Ginny had more of a personality, so that I could relate more to her; but I still knew enough to like her. I think my favorite part was back in London, early in the story, when she has to find an artist to help, as per her aunt’s instructions. She was so sweet, and awkward, I really liked her there. It wasn’t enough to make me really invested in the romance she has, or in the new friends she makes; what can I say, I was far more interested in her traveling!
13 Little Blue Envelopes really was a sweet, quick read. It’s the perfect book to spend an afternoon traveling around the world without moving from your seat. I’ll definitely be reading its sequel, The Last Little Blue Envelope!
French Milk by Lucy Knisley
Pages : 193
Genre : Graphic Novel, memoir
My Rating :
French Milk is an adorable graphic novel, illustrating Lucy and her mother’s trip to Paris during the 2006-2007 holidays. Charming and evocative of the beautiful French city, this visual travelogue is also illustrated by a few photographs, though the author’s drawings really are center stage to the story.
I adored reading French Milk, and went through it in one single sitting. In fact, I cracked it open late at night before bed, and ended up reading the whole thing. Knisley has a way of telling her story that made me feel like I was there – and I certainly wish I was – while being entertaining and extremely likable and honest.
This being simply a diary of events taking place over a few weeks, I imagine some readers would find it a little dry; there is no action, suspense, questions, it is only a day-to-day account of what Lucy and her mom do while in Paris. Personally, I loved that, because it reminded me so, so much of our (too) short vacation there. I believe readers who’ve been there, or who have a strong interest in visiting the city, will be most likely to enjoy this one, though honestly I would still recommend it to anyone who enjoys graphic novels and/or traveling. Or eating. Because a lot of Lucy’s time is occupied by food. So. Much. Food!
Another strong aspect of Lucy’s story is the fact that, at 22 years old, she finds herself facing an important and scary moment of her life: she’s getting ready to leave college to finally enter her adult life. I believe many readers will, as myself, relate to her fears
All in all, a very pleasant read with a lot of heart (and food!)