Saturday, March 26, 2011

The Ultimate Travel Guide: Part Two

The Last Little Blue Envelope

Written by: Maureen Johnson

Released: April 26, 2011 by HarperTeen

Summary: 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.

I was so excited when I found out that I had gotten an advanced copy courtesy of netGalley and HarperTeen that I did a little dance. And really, it couldn’t have come at a better time. I had just – and I mean just – finished reading 13 Little Blue Envelopes and was so perturbed at the ending because I needed to know what happened next. Sure, the first novel had the first few bits of this one at the end, but that was so not enough and it cut off at a horrible (for a reader) moment.

If possible, I liked reading this book more than the first. I think that maybe it was the introduction of two new characters or the fact that Ginny, Keith, Ellis, and Oliver all are together for the vast majority of the novel and for the entirety of the last letter’s adventure. Their being thrown into the chaotic mix of Aunt Peg’s final task added something that the first novel just didn’t have, even though I can’t put words to what it is.

The two new characters – Ellis and Oliver – were so different. Ellis I liked right from the start (it was hard not to) though at the same time I resented her being there (for reasons that I don’t want to share so that it’s not ruined). But Oliver, I really wanted to slap him for about the first quarter of the book but then I couldn’t help but like him and subsequently feel sorry for him. Then at the end I was so happy that I was almost in tears.

This book had be both laughing and crying. Johnson really knows how to capture the human emotion and how to write it so that it’s perfect for her characters. She has the ability to take you from the lows to the highs and back again all while making you feel all warm a fuzzy inside. I can’t wait to read more from her and I’m giving this novel a 9/10.

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