13 Little Blue Envelopes maureen johnson For Kate Schafer, the greatest traveling companion in the world, and a woman. Aunt Peg, the New York artist and the person Ginny Blackstone depended on to make her life interesting, took off to Europe without a word three years ago. New York Times bestselling author Maureen Johnson's funny, heartbreaking, and utterly romantic tale gets a great new cover!Ginny Blackstone never thought .
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Read “13 Little Blue Envelopes - Maureen Johnson”, by Maureen Johnson online on Bookmate – New York Times bestselling author Maureen Johnson's funny. New York Times bestselling author Maureen Johnson's funny, heartbreaking, and utterly romantic tale gets a great new cover!Ginny Blackstone never thought s. 13 Little Blue Envelopes. Maureen Johnson. YA FIC Johnson. A Brief Chapter in My. Impossible Life. Dana Reinhardt. YA FIC Reinhardt. Gingerbread.
So Aunt Peg was exactly the kind of person who would send her to England alone, with a package from a Chinese restaurant. The odd part was that Aunt Peg had been dead for three months. That last fact was a little hard to swallow. Aunt Peg was the most lively person Ginny had ever known. She was also only thirty-five years old.
Only thirtyfive. But Aunt Peg had. The phone call had come from a doctor in England explaining that Aunt Peg had developed cancer—that it had come quickly, that everything had been tried but nothing could be done. The news.
Aunt Peg was still out there somewhere in her mind. And Ginny was somehow speeding toward her in this plane. Only Aunt Peg could make something like this happen. Major international treaties had been negotiated in less time. But now she was here. No going back now. The plane was cold. Very cold. The lights were down, and it was completely black outside the small windows.
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Everyone but Ginny seemed to be asleep, including the people to either side 14 of her. Ginny wrapped herself in the tiny and ineffectual airline blanket and clutched the package to her chest.
Below them, through a cottony veil of clouds, was a patchwork of green squares. This plane was actually going to land, and they were going to make her get out. In a foreign country. Ginny had never been anywhere more exotic than Florida, and nowhere by herself. She pried the package from her own grip and set it on her lap. The time had clearly come to open it.
Time to find out what Aunt Peg had planned for her. She pulled open the seal and reached inside. The package contained a collection of envelopes much like the first. They were all blue. They were made of heavy paper. Good quality. The kind from one of those boutique paper stores. The front of each envelope was either illustrated in pen and ink or watercolor, and they were bundled together with an overstretched rubber band that had been doubled around them.
More importantly, they were each marked with a number, starting with two and running to thirteen. So she did. I hope you had some ginger dumplings for me. But let me start by telling you about my life in New York, before I left, two years ago.
But I was okay with that. I thought I was doing things right and other people were doing them wrong. One November day, though, I was riding on the subway up to my new temp job. And then I got off at 33rd Street and bought myself a cup of burned, stale coffee from the closest deli for 89 cents, just like I did every other time I went for a temp job. That day I was going to a job in an office in the Empire State Building. I have to confess, Gin.
I get a little romantic about the old Empire State. Just looking at it makes me want to play some Frank Sinatra tunes and sway a little. I have a crush on a building. I always knew there were offices in there, but that fact never penetrated, really.
You propose in the Empire State Building. You sneak a flask up there and raise a toast to the whole city of New York. And as I walked up to it and realized that I was about to enter that beautiful building to file or make copies—I stopped. Too quickly, actually. The guy behind me walked right into me. Something had seriously gone wrong if I was going into the Empire State for that. That was how it all started, Gin. It was right there on the 33rd Street sidewalk.
I never went to work that day. I turned around, got back on the 6, and went home. As much as I loved my apartment, something in me was saying. Time to go! I called in sick. I wandered around my apartment in circles. I was doing boring jobs. What did they do? Where did they live? Well, for the most part, they lived in Europe. What if I just went to Europe? Right then? The people I admired had sometimes starved and scraped their way along, but it had helped them create. I wanted to create.
By that night, I had downloadd my ticket to London. I gave myself three days to get everything settled. Where I was going. I had no answers. This is the position you are in right now. Your path, your instructions, are in these envelopes. You need to get to the stop called Angel, which is on the Northern Line. Go right. Walk for about a minute until you reach Pennington Street. Hang left and look for 54a. Wait for someone to open door. Rinse and repeat as necessary until door opens.
Love, Your Runaway Aunt P. Now she was staring at a London tube map. It looked like a nursery school poster designed to attract the eyes of toddlers. It was stark white, with bright primary-colored lines snaking around it. The stops had solid-sounding names, like Old Street and London Bridge. Royal sounding: And there were names she recognized: Victoria Station, Paddington where the bear lived , Waterloo. And there was Angel.
She walked up to one of the entrance 23 aisles and faced a pair of metal doors, almost like saloon doors. She looked around, unsure of what to do next. She tried to push the gate gently, but nothing happened. Then she saw a woman next to her put her ticket into a slot on the little metal box next to her, and the doors opened. Ginny did the same.
The machine sucked in the ticket with a satisfying swoosh, and the doors clapped open and she passed through. Everyone was moving in the same direction, so she kept going, trying not to stumble against the backs of the bags other people were wheeling. These were much nicer. They were riding along behind houses. Then it was back underground, where the stations became more crowded. All kinds of people shuffled on and off, some with maps and backpacks, others with folded newspapers or books and blank expressions.
As she approached the exit, there was another set of metal gates. This time, Ginny was certain that they would yield when she approached, kind of like an automatic door. Not even when she walked right into them. It took it. The gates clapped open for her.
She hurried through, too embarrassed to even look back. The first thing that hit her was the smell of a recent rain. The sidewalk was still wet and was fairly thick with people who politely moved around her and her backpack. The street was jammed full of real London traffic, just like in the pictures.
The cars were tightly packed together, all going in the wrong direction. An actual red double-decker bus lumbered along. As soon as she turned off the main road, everything became much quieter. She found herself on a narrow street with a zigzagging line that cut down the middle. The houses were all chalk white and were nearly identical except for the colors of their doors mostly black, but occasionally there was a red or a blue and they all had multiple chimney pots poking out of the top, along with antennas and satellite dishes.
The effect was weird—it was like a space station had crashed into a Charles Dickens story. Number 54a had a jagged crack running down the six concrete steps that led to its front door. They were weak and small but still making an effort. Someone had obviously tried, and failed, to keep them alive. This had a very good chance of being a major mistake.
Aunt Peg had some very unusual friends. Like the performance artist roommate—the one who ate her own hair onstage. Or the guy who spent a month communicating only through interpretive dance as a form of protest against what, no one really knew.
She had come this far. She walked up the stairs and knocked at the door. It was also male. Not an old voice. She heard a thumping—someone running downstairs. And then the door swung open. The man standing in front of her was in the process of getting dressed. The first thing that surprised Ginny was that he was wearing half a black suit the pants. A silver gray tie hung loosely around his neck, and his shirt was only half tucked in.
It was less of a surprise that he was handsome— tall, with very dark, slightly curly hair and highly arched eyebrows. Aunt Peg attracted people with lots of personality, lots of charm. The man gaped at her for a moment, then hurriedly tucked in his shirt. The yeah came out too broad, and she suddenly heard her own accent. How did you know? She gave her head a quick snap to try to get the blood flowing up there again.
Richard clearly had a moment of confusion over what kind of greeting to give her. He finally stuck out his hand for her bag. They nodded at each other for a moment in acknowledgment of this fact until Richard seemed to be physically struck by a thought. He opened the door wider and grimaced only slightly as he relieved Ginny of the groaning purple-and-green backpack.
It was a fairly plainly decorated one at that. It looked like it might have been shipped straight out of an office supply catalog. Low-pile carpet. Simple furniture in flat navy blues and blacks. Nothing on the walls. Nothing, that is, until they came to a small, sunny bedroom.
It was a miniature version of the 4th Noodle apartment. In fact, the room resembled the apartment so closely it was almost spooky. The walls had been washed down in pink and then covered in an elaborate collage of. If anyone else had attempted this, the result would have been dizzying, nauseating.
But Aunt Peg managed to arrange it all by color, by type style, by image, so that it all looked like it belonged together. Like it all made sense. One wall had been left collage-free, and on it hung a poster Ginny recognized. It was a French painting of a young woman standing behind a bar.
It was an old picture, from the late s. The woman wore an elegant blue dress, and the bar she was tending was opulent—marble, loaded down with bottles. The mirror behind her head reflected a crowd and a show.
But she looked terribly, terribly bored. Now he probably thought she was some kind of art nerd who was only here because she had outgrown art-nerd camp. She only knew the name and artist of this one because Aunt Peg had had the exact same picture in her apartment, and the title and artist had been written at the bottom of the print.
Richard was still staring blankly at the poster. She wanted to stretch out on this bed so badly she could almost taste it. I work at Harrods. The big department store. Peg loved Harrods. We can sort everything out later. What do you say? They were stuck in the morning rush, forced to stand. The rhythm of the train lulled her. It look a lot of effort not to give in to her wobbling knees and slump into Richard.
His words were dribbling into the ebbing sensory mess that surrounded her. British voices swirled around her head. Her eyes flicked over the advertisements that ran along the top of the car. Though the language was the same, the meaning of many of the posters was lost on her. It seemed like every one of them was some kind of inside joke.
This was somewhat true. They had similar hair, at least— 31 long and deep chocolate brown. Aunt Peg was shorter. She had a slender build and a regal bearing that made strangers assume she was a dancer. Her features were very delicate. Ginny was taller, curvier. Bigger, generally. Less delicate. You really do. This move startled them both, and they looked away at the same time.
This was their stop. They emerged onto a pulsing London street. The road was completely jammed with red buses, black cabs, tiny cars, motorcycles. The sidewalks were crammed to capacity.
Though her brain was still cloudy, Ginny felt a shock of energy run through her body at the sight of it all. Richard directed her around a corner to a building that seemed to stretch on forever. It was a solid wall of golden red brick, with decorative cornices and a dome on the roof. Green awnings stretched above dozens of huge windows, each opulently displaying clothes, perfume, cosmetics, stuffed animals, even a car. Each one of these awnings was printed with the word Harrods in a mustard-gold script.
Richard led Ginny past the windows, past the front doors and the doorman, and around to an unobtrusive nook by a large trash bin. It gets a bit mad in here. Harrods is a big tourist destination. We get thousands and thousands of people a day. A sign on the wall next to the door listed various departments and floors.
Ginny wondered if she was misreading them: Air Harrods helicopter services, Air Harrods jet aircraft, tennis racquet restringing, piano tuning, saddlery, dog coat fitting.
That door leads to the ground floor. Plenty of things to look at in Harrods. Ask for Mr. A display case there featured a miniature speedboat, only big enough for a small child. It was colored olive green and had the name Harrods printed over the bow. The sign said: And then there were people. Massive, scary throngs of people pouring in through the doors, lining up at the display cases.
She stepped tentatively into the crowd and was immediately absorbed into the flow of humanity, which sucked 33 her along. She was pushed past the cigarette lighter repair desk, through a Princess Diana memorial, into a Starbucks, and then dropped on an escalator entirely decorated in Egyptian artifacts or really good copies, anyway.
She managed to get through that room pretty much on her own, but the crowd got her again as she passed through the door into a room filled with tuxedos for babies. Departments that made no sense were strung together in a series of large and small rooms. Every offshoot led to something weirder, and nothing appeared to be an exit.
There was always just more. She went from a room displaying colorful kitchen appliances into a room entirely filled with pianos. From there, she was swept up by the crowd into a room of exotic pet supplies. Even the walls were light blue. The crowd snagged her again— now she was in a bookstore—now back on the Egyptian escalator. She rode all the way down and stepped off into some kind of food palace that stretched on for room after massive room devoted to every kind of food, organized as an ever—Mary Poppin-izing array of displays, great arches of peacockpatterned stained glass and sparkling brass.
Decorative carts stacked with pyramids of perfect fruit. Marble counters loaded down with bricks of chocolate. Her eyes started to water. The voices around her thrummed 34 in her head. She found herself fantasizing about all the places she could rest.
Under the fake wagon that held the parmesan cheese display. On the floor next to the shelves full of cocoa. Maybe here, right in the middle of everything. Maybe people would just step over her. She managed to pull out of the crowd and get to a chocolate counter. A young woman with a short and taut blond ponytail came over to her. Ginny felt herself gripping the counter.
Richard Murphy. And what is it I need to tell him? She was in bed, still in her clothes. It was cool, and the sky outside was a pearly gray.
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She vaguely recalled Richard putting her in one of those black cabs in front of Harrods. Arriving at his house. Fumbling with keys and what seemed like six locks on the door.
Getting up the stairs. She kicked her feet. They were still hanging there off the edge of the bed. She looked around the room. It was strange to be waking up here—not only in a different country different country. This room really felt like a moment from her past, like Aunt Peg had just walked through the room, covered in blotches of paint, humming under her breath.
Aunt Peg hummed a lot. It was kind of annoying. Now he was wearing running pants and a T-shirt. This made no sense. Jet lag. Now her brain was catching up. Eight a. Cargo shorts. Practical shoes. She picked out a pair of jeans and a shirt. Once she had filled her arms with all the necessary items, Ginny suddenly felt self-conscious about being seen going into the bathroom. She poked her head out of the bedroom and, seeing that Richard had his back turned, dashed across the hall and quickly shut the door.
At home, the bathrooms were crammed full of countrycrafty wicker wall ornaments, and seashells, and potpourri that smelled like the Hallmark store. This room was stark blue with blue carpet and dark blue towels. No decorations. All of her toiletries were carefully sealed up in a plastic bag, which she set on the carpet. Wall-to-wall—plush but worn flat. Who carpeted a bathroom? Her stuff was all pink—had she meant to download so much pink?
Pink soap, pink miniature shampoo bottle, little pink razor. Why was she so pink? She took a second to close the blind on the large bathroom window. Then she turned to the tub. She looked at the wall, then up at the ceiling.
There was no showerhead. But it was all too real. There was a Y-shaped rubber tube. There were open suction cups on each tip of the Y part, and there was a handle on the end of the stem that looked a lot like a phone. After examining the tub and this device, Ginny determined that the Y tips were supposed to go over the two spigots, and water would come out of the phone, and some shower-like action would result. She gave this a try. Water shot up toward the ceiling.
She quickly pointed the shower phone into the tub and jumped in. But it proved impossible to try to wash herself and juggle the shower phone, 39 and she gave up and filled the tub. Also, the bath was amazingly loud—every movement produced a sloshing noise that echoed embarrassingly. She tried to make her movements as conservative as possible as she washed up, but the effort was lost as soon as she had to submerge herself to wash her hair.
She was pretty sure that ocean liners could be lowered into the sea and make less noise than she did. When the drama of the bath was over, she realized that she had another, totally unexpected problem.
Her hair was soaked, and she had no way of drying it. There was no alternative, it seemed, but to quickly bind it up in braids. When she emerged, she found Richard all suited up in what appeared to be the same suit and tie he had on the day before.
Richard started opening cabinet doors and pointing out things that might be considered breakfast-worthy. He excused himself for a moment. Ginny got a glass and poured herself some of the juice. It was warm and 40 incredibly thick. She took a sip and gagged slightly as the intense, overly sweet syrup coated her throat. I should have told you. If you ever get locked out, I leave a spare key wedged in the crack in the step.
Then he was gone, and Ginny was at the table alone, with her glass of syrup. She picked up the bottle and examined it to see if there was any warning, any indication that it was anything but normal juice, anything that would make her behavior less freakish. To her relief, there was nothing on the bottle that could have helped her. Which is where she was. She was in a kingdom far, far from home. And who was this Richard, anyway, aside from a guy in a suit who worked in a big store?
Looking around his kitchen, she decided he was definitely single. There were relatively few groceries—just things like this warm instant juice stuff.
There were some clothes on the chairs nearest to the wall and a few scattered crumbs and coffee granules on the table.
It must have taken time to make the collage and sew the bedspread. She had to have been here for months.
She got up and retrieved the package. After brushing a spot clean, she laid the envelopes out on the table. She looked over each of the eleven unopened ones. Most had been decorated with some kind of picture as well as a number. The front of the next one had been painted in watercolors in the style of a Monopoly Community Chest card. Aunt Peg had created her own version of the little man in the top hat with the monocle, with a very fat and round plane going by the background.
They read: That required her to find out what Richard had sold the queen and getting to an ATM. She needed money anyway. All she had left was a handful of strangely shaped coins, which she hoped would be enough to get her back to Harrods. Ginny snatched up the directions that Richard had written for her minutes before, dumped the offending juice down the sink, and headed for the door.
The sign on the front listed several famous-sounding destinations, including Knightsbridge, and the number matched one of the bus numbers Richard had given her. There was a small bus shelter a few feet away, and it looked like the bus planned on stopping there. Two black poles with illuminated yellow globes on top of them marked the opening of the pedestrian crossing. Ginny ran to these, glanced to make sure the coast was clear, and started to run across the road.
Sudden honking. A big black cab whizzed past her. As Ginny jumped back, she saw something written on the road. She managed to get across the road and tried to ignore the fact that everyone on one side of the bus had just witnessed her 43 near-death experience.
She had no idea what to pay the driver. Ginny helplessly held out her little bit of remaining money and he took one of the fat coins. She went up the narrow spiral staircase in the middle of the bus. There were many seats available, and Ginny took one at the very front.
The bus started to move. It felt like she was floating. From her perspective, it looked like the bus was running over countless pedestrians and bicyclists, squashing them into oblivion.
She pushed herself farther back into the seat and tried not to pay any attention to this. Except they had to have just killed that guy on the cell phone.
Ginny waited to feel the bump as the bus rolled over his body, but it never came. She looked around at the imposing facades of the stately buildings around her. The sky went from cloudy to gray in the space of a moment, and rain started hammering the wide windows in front of her. Now it looked like they were mowing down huge crowds of umbrella carriers.
She looked down at her smattering of remaining coins. Her parents somehow made this fact apparent without ever coming out and saying it.
Still, it never seemed like Aunt Peg was wanting for anything. She always seemed to have enough money to take Ginny for frozen hot chocolates at Serendipity, or to download her piles of art supplies, or to make her elaborate Halloween 44 costumes, or to get that jar of really good caviar she bought once just because she thought Ginny should taste it. It was still gross. Pounds seemed possible. Pounds sounded like they should come in the form of tiny burlap bags tied in rough string, filled with little bits of metal or shiny objects.
Aunt Peg could have that kind of money. Richard had gotten there first and was waiting in a booth. He smiled and dabbed some ketchup onto his steak.
Ginny tried not to wince. I make arrangements to get it to them. And occasionally, occasionally, I get to set up royal visits. One day, we got a call from the palace that the queen wanted to come 45 over that evening, in just a few hours.
She never does that. But this night she wanted to come in, and there was no one else available. So I had to take care of her. Big ones. Very nice ones as well, but big ones. I mailed the package. I suppose you know that? Someone had to send it. We were good mates. About your family. I felt like I knew you before you ever got here.
His sudden directness. They both stopped to watch her pick them up. Richard showed Ginny to the ATM and returned to work, with the promise of seeing her in the evening. She approached one and stuck in the card. The machine politely asked for a code. The machine purred and showed her a few advertisements about how she could save for a home, and then it asked her what she wanted.
She had no idea what she wanted, but she had to pick something. Some number. There were lots of numbers to choose from. Twenty pounds, please. That seemed like a good, basic kind of number. She was on her own. She would need to download things and get around, so. One hundred pounds, please. The machine asked for a moment. Ginny felt her stomach drop. Then a stack of crisp purple and blue notes different sizes: Now she got it.
Aunt Peg had come through.
Why Mysterious Benefactor Day? Well, Gin, let me give you a because: You need a little serendipity, a little luck, a little boost. Make someone think that wonderful things are happening to them for no reason they can see. Step one: Withdraw pounds from the account. Step two: Find an artist in London whose work you like, someone you think deserves a break.
This is going to require some looking around on your part. Any kind of artist—a painter, a musician, a writer, an actor. Step three: You are so wrong, Gin. Those are your orders. Love, Your Runaway Aunt The Benefactor The next morning, after reading her letter and splashing around in the tub, Ginny joined Richard at the kitchen table. He was loosely dressed—unbuttoned shirt, undone tie—and was roughly flipping through the sports section of the paper and shoving pieces of toast into his mouth.
Sounds like a Peg task. For someone who lived pretty randomly, she was a bit of a neat freak. Shelia Studies, paintings by Romily Mezogarden. Harry Smalls, demolition artist. She managed to make it to the front door just a second before he did, and they walked out into the drizzly morning together. No one was there, but the girl behind the counter was making a whole pitcher of beet juice anyway.
She waved a purple-stained hand at them as they came in. Shelia had a large, flat head with a square chunk of yellow hair sticking up out of it. Shelia usually just stood around 4: Shelia Standing; 7: Shelia Standing in 54 Bedroom; Shelia Standing in Road. Sometimes, she would stand around and hold things Shelia with Eggbeater or look at things Shelia Looking at Pencil , and then she would get tired and sit 9: Shelia Sitting on Box.
That seemed like a lot, considering that they were really ugly and the whole thing seemed uncomfortably stalker-like. These could be the greatest pictures in the world. There were people who could tell these things. She was not one of them. Still, it seemed like she should have a slight air of competence. She got the strange feeling that somehow Richard was expecting her to know something.
All kinds of things. Half a briefcase. Half a sofa. Half a mattress. Half a tube of toothpaste. Half an old car. Ginny thought this one over, then asked herself if she really wanted to give almost a thousand dollars to a guy who had a chain saw problem. Once they were back outside, Ginny struggled to come up with another idea. Street musicians, people like that? Lots of performers. All sorts of things going on, people selling things.
It has its own tube stop. Come on, then. There was nothing garden-like about Covent Garden. It was a large cobblestoned plaza, jammed with tourists and stalls of knickknacks. There was also no shortage of performers. She gave it her best, spending over an hour sitting on the curb, watching. Some guys juggled knives.
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Several guitarists of varying quality played either acoustically or through banged-up amps. A magician pulled a duck from his coat. She could picture the scene—the astonished knifethrowers looking at the flutter of twenty-pound notes. She gripped the money in her pocket, balled it tight, then got up and started walking. The sun was making more of an effort today, and the Londoners seemed to appreciate it. Ginny wandered around the stalls, wondering if she should download Miriam a T-shirt.
Then she was walking down a street full of bookstores. Her chances of succeeding seemed to be rapidly dwindling.
Plus, the advertisement gave directions. It seemed worth a try. She found herself on a city street, with a few fairly modern academic buildings scattered around. Of course, she realized, it was also summer, and evening, which meant no school and no students. She wandered around, glancing at a few flyers stuck to notice boards and walls.
A few protests. Yoga classes. A few album releases. She was about to turn and give up when a flapping piece of paper caught her eye. There was a cartoon of a man diving into a coffee cup. The bottom of the flyer said that the show was written, produced, directed, and designed by someone named Keith Dobson. Something about this just sounded promising.
And it was still going on—even now, in the summer. Tickets, the flyer promised, were on sale in something called the uni. She asked a girl passing by what it was. There was a flyer for the show stuck to the door and a pale redheaded guy visible through the nine inches of plastic window that made this a box office and not a closet. He looked up from a copy of War and Peace.
He held up his hands and indicated eight. She dug around in her pocket and found one of the tiny five-pound notes and three of the pound coins and carefully pressed these through the slot in the plastic, and he pulled a photocopied ticket from a cigar box and passed it over to her.
Then he jerked his finger, pointing her toward two red double doors at the end of the hall. It was a little damp. A few fake palm trees had been pushed off to the side. The seats were mostly empty and a few people sat on the floor or on steps in the back of the room. All in all, there were only maybe ten people in the audience. Most of them were smoking and talking to one another. It felt like a private party in a basement. She was thinking about getting up and leaving just as a girl appeared in the doorway near where she had come in and flipped off the light switches.
Punk music started to blast from a few scattered speakers on one side of the room. A moment later, it stopped abruptly, and a light came on in the middle of the stage. Standing there was a guy, maybe her age or just a little older, dressed in a green kilt, a Starbucks shirt, heavy black boots, and a top hat.
A fringe of light reddish hair stuck out from under the 59 hat, brushing along the top of his shoulders. He had a wide, slightly evil grin. More insults. He seemed to like that. It ended tragically when she stopped drinking coffee, and he threw himself offstage into what was supposed to be the Main Bean Supply. All of this was somehow arranged by Jittery, who remained onstage the entire time, talking to the audience, telling Joe what to do, and holding up signs that gave statistics on how the global economy was wrecking the environment.
There were a lot of random things going on, like a guy who sometimes rode through the scene on a bike for no reason that Ginny could figure. Despite all of that, Ginny found herself quickly and totally engrossed—and she knew why. She had a thing for performers. It probably had something to do with all of the performances Aunt Peg had taken her to as a kid. Or singing, dancing, telling jokes.
Flaunting themselves with no embarrassment. He jumped around the stage. He prowled through the audience. He owned the place. When it was all over, she picked up a program someone had left on the seat next to her and read it.
Keith Dobson—director, writer, producer—also happened to play Jittery Grande. Keith Dobson was her artist. And she had little burlap sacks to give to him. The next morning, as she made her way down the long linoleum hallway to the little ticket closet, Ginny realized that her shoes were squeaky. Really squeaky. She stopped and looked down at her sneakers. There they were, white with pink stripes, poking out below the heavy olive drab of her cargo shorts.
She remembered the exact sentence from the travel guide that had caused her to choose these shoes out of all possible shoes: Sneakers are universally acceptable, and white ones will keep you cool in the summer.
Shelves: wasn-t-for-me , young-adult , disappearing-parent-syndrome , coming-of-age 13 Little Blue Envelopes suffers from DPS. Disappearing Parent Syndrome is a tragic epidemic in YA novels. In this case the DPS was particularly severe. Seventeen year old Ginny Blackstone goes on a trip to Europe sponsored by her deceased aunt. Aunt Peg was not reliable when she was around. In fact, during the last several years of Ginny's life Peg was in Europe.
She died without contacting the family to let them know she was suffering from a prolonged illness. The family was just expected to pick up the pieces after she passed with very little explanation -- but wait! Aunt Peg has left Ginny mysterious envelopes that she's not allowed to open all at once and strange instructions to travel around Europe. Disappearstone allow their seventeen year old daughter -- their only child -- to go traipsing around Europe.
The rules state she's not allowed a cell phone or laptop or camera. They're not even allowed to give her extra money so they know there's a back up plan in case Mrs. Disapperancestone's unreliable sister who died from a brain tumor several months before hasn't provided Ginny with everything she might need for this spur of the moment trip. Oh yeah, and she's not allowed to call them even on a pay phone.
No communication back home. Honestly, I would have been slightly concerned in Ginny's case. What's the goal here? Sell me on the black market? I would have told my daughter that Aunt Peg was mentally unstable when she was healthy and thrown the envelopes into a fire place before I let her go off on some half-baked adventure across Europe.
Of course, Ginny thought mentions that her parents weren't thrilled, but somehow this underaged minor is still on a plane to England in the first few chapters.
Awesome, just awesome. Look, some of my annoyance with this book is based on just how often the parents disappear in YA fiction. I know it's the easiest route to take. How can Ginny have a sexy adventure in England and then the rest of Europe if her mom is following her around? Well, if you can't man up and work with the circumstances the age of your character gives you then you have no business writing Young Adult fiction.
This book should have been written about a girl who has completed one or two years of college, who has some experience living out there on her own within reasonable distance to her family even if that reasonable distance is merely being able to pick up a phone and ask for financial help.
No sane parent would ever let their child go on the trip Ginny did. I was asked to suspend my disbelief a little too far and now it's lost.
Mourn for it. While I think this book was better suited for something chick-lit I also don't think Maureen Johnson has the stomach to ever do the sex scene that would have more likely than not happened if she hadn't been writing about a dewy-eyed Virgin. Yes, Virgin with a capital V.Shelia Looking at Pencil , and then she would get tired and sit 9: I honestly w Ginger "Ginny" Blackstone, a seventeen-year-old college-bound girl, receives a letter from her deceased aunt instructing her to pick up a package from her former apartment.
Which part of the journey changed Ginny the most? It gets a bit mad in here. She stepped tentatively into the crowd and was immediately absorbed into the flow of humanity, which sucked 33 her along.