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Review: The Last Little Blue Envelope

The Last Little Blue Envelope by Maureen Johnson was released in the U.S. on Tuesday, April 26, 2011 in hardcover and eBook formats. It is currently available online at Amazon and Barnes & Noble in both formats.

Published by HarperTeen, the hardcover is 288 pages.

Goodreads description:

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.

***

She thought her adventure was done. Once her backpack was stolen, along with all thirteen of her letters, Ginny returned home to finish school and prepare for the rest of her life. She took back with her all of her experiences and some money for school, but she left her heart in London.

When someone contacts her claiming to have found her lost letters, she is immediately ready to hop on a plane across the pond, to head back to London where she had left her heart with Keith, and to finally get the last piece of the puzzle her aunt had left behind.

Once again, with this last envelope, her aunt sends her on an adventure. Revisiting places she had been before and traveling to places she has yet to discover. And although this time she will not be traveling alone, her journey is just as unpredictable as her first.

With this final letter to guide her, Ginny will learn that returning to a place she’s once been is never quite the same the second time around and that as hard as it may be to walk away from someone you love and a future you thought was yours, it’s not impossible.

***

The Last Little Blue Envelope is the sweet and sorrowful, heartbreaking yet uplifting follow-up to 13 Little Blue Envelopes. It continues the story of Ginny Blackstone as she finally gets to discover what her aunt has planned for her with this last envelope.

She returns to London to complete this one last request and to reconnect with Keith who she had to leave behind when she went back home. But her return to London doesn’t go exactly as planned and her hopes for a romantic adventure are dashed when two new traveling companions come along for the ride.

And as Ginny’s adventure comes to a close, she will finally understand the message her aunt was trying to convey and learn a little something about going after the things in life that you want.

Author Maureen Johnson created a beautiful and engaging story in The Last Little Blue Envelope. Instead of simply continuing with the upbeat, light-hearted, quirky and fun feel from the first book, she added a number of layers which gave this story depth.

The Last Little Blue Envelope still retains its sense of adventure, but the pace is slowed down just a bit, allowing its message to come through. Readers will now more fully understand Aunt Peg and her reasons for making Ginny go through all these hoops and will be able to connect with Ginny as she takes on this one last challenge.

Whether you’ve read the first book or not, this sequel is a must read. It will make you laugh and cry, and your heart will go out to Ginny for all she’s had to endure and to her Aunt Peg who has lost so much but has given Ginny such an amazing gift.

Although The Last Little Blue Envelope is a sequel, the first book does not have to be read in order to understand or enjoy this book. The author has thoroughly explained what has transpired and so readers will not be lost if they were just to read this story.

Although to get a better understanding of the characters and their history, especially Aunt Peg, it would be best to read both books.

Reviewer gives this book [rating=5]

On a personal note:

When I first started reading this I expected it to be just like the first – a fun little adventure. Sweet, a bit sad, and something I could breeze through without really connecting to it. It was so completely different. I was totally emotionally invested in the characters and the story in The Last Little Blue Envelope by the time I reached the end.

Ginny was so much more likable in this story. I really love her now. Perhaps because of her experiences the previous summer she took on this adventure by choice, was more willing to accept when things didn’t follow the plan and was less frustrated and frustrating. She handled all her setbacks with maturity. And a kinder, less selfish, side really shines through.

She started off this adventure with hope, was hit with quite a few surprises – and not always the good kind – and ended up with more than she ever bargained for.

Even though the first book, 13 Little Blue Envelopes, wrapped up nicely at the end, it felt somehow unfinished. But perhaps that’s only because I knew there was another story ahead of it. But I think it was knowing that we, as readers, never got to find out – until now – what the contents of that last envelope were.

After reading this story I want to go back and just read all the letters in the order they were given to Ginny. The last envelope is by far the best. It makes sense of all those other envelopes. It ties everything together to give meaning to the big picture and it paints Ginny’s aunt in a much nicer and more sympathetic light.

I cried at a couple points during this story. And I still find myself tearing up as I re-read the last portion of that last letter. There are some amazing quotes but as I don’t want to spoil anything I am not including one here.

I am so glad that the author decided to write this book. I learned so much more about Ginny and Aunt Peg in this story and feel the connection with them that I didn’t have in the first book. I now feel that I understand both of them and I can see why they meant so much to one another.

Although there were parts that were so sad, I was left with this great sense of hope that life is an ever-changing adventure. There are some things you can control and some things you can’t, but in the end what matters is how you choose to live your life.

And even though the story closes many doors at the end, there are so many still left open, with endless possibilities that await Ginny.

I am now headed to Amazon to check out what else Maureen Johnson has written that I might want to download to my eReader for a future read. I can see why everyone loves this author.

***

To read an excerpt of The Last Little Blue Envelope from the publisher’s website, CLICK HERE.

Book trailer for The Last Little Blue Envelope:

Thank you to HarperTeen and NetGalley for the eARC for review.

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