The Last Little Blue Envelope by Maureen Johnson
The Last Little Blue Envelope is the the sequel to Thirteen Little Blue Envelopes, and I implore you to not read this entry if you have not read Thirteen Little Blue Envelopes. The sequel begins as a spoiler to the end.
Now it's been awhile...a long while...since I've read Thirteen Little Blue Envelopes but I recall loving the story as it was one of the best coming of age stories I've probably ever gotten my hands on. I was very hesitant to pick up The Last Little Blue Envelope since I did not want it to ruin the first book.
The Last Little Blue Envelope begins with Ginny trying to figure out what to put down for a college application essay. While she's busy procrastinating, she receives a mysterious email that claims someone has found the last little blue envelope; the one that was stolen from the last book. Apparently, this mysterious someone had bought her backpack from the thieves and almost all the contents were included. Ginny immediately signs up to return to her Uncle Richard's. Once she arrives, she spends some time with her Uncle before she meets up with Keith. Keith is still quite lively and enthusiastic about life and Ginny is quite excited. The last we knew of their relationship was that they kissed and she went back home, since that time they had been chatting on the internet and established there was something between them, they just didn't know what. But quickly, Ginny meets Ellis and based on both Ellis and Keith's actions, she puts two and two together and figures out that Ellis is Keith's girlfriend. So Ginny throws herself into seeking out the adventure of the last little blue envelope. She discovers that Oliver wants to come along on the journey though. That Oliver had actually memorized the letter and is not going to give her the last one (he returned the other twelve) until after they retrieved her Aunt Peg's finally artwork and sell it; him going away with half the profits. Needless to say, WHAT THE HECK OLIVER. So Ginny tells Keith, Keith goes all furious, and BAM! The Last Little Blue Envelope gets a terrific blast off into adventure with Aunt Peg's presence doting the story.
Despite my hesitations about reading The Last Little Blue Envelope, I enjoyed it thoroughly. I do still like how the first book ended with no concrete answer, with the implication that there is no end to a wonderful journey just constant new beginnings, and oh so much glorious philosophical splendor. I think Aunt Peg continued to be fabulous in this book as she did put the artistic spin on what it means to live life. It's eye-opening, inspirational, and so sad. There were a couple times where I had to put the book down and blow my nose and wipe my face clean just so I could see to keep reading on.
When a book can emotionally move you, it's a wonderful thing. I encourage readers to seek out Thirteen Little Blue Envelopes, and it's brilliant sequel, The Last Little Blue Envelope.
I do have one little spat with it though. SPOILERS. OH MAN ALL THE SPOILERS. STOP READING IF YOU DON'T WANT TO KNOW HOW THE BOOK ENDS. I MEAN IT.
In the end, Ginny winds up with Oliver (if you've read the book, then you should know why; GUYS THE SPOILERS, THEY'RE COMING) and decides to not return to America. Well, it's implied she returns to America but only after she makes plan to go back to Europe. I don't like the implication that someone other than her Aunt Peg had to push her in the direction of following what she wanted to do, what would make her happy, rather than keep doing what she felt she had to do. Sometimes it makes all the sense that everything falls into place and just 'clicks' for lack of better terminology. This time, I really wanted it to be all Ginny. I wanted her to kind of take a deep breath and have an epiphany that was mostly influenced by her Aunt and her own discoveries. Arguably, Ginny didn't have someone throw it in her face, but there was a drastic HINT WINK WINK NUDGE NUDGE GEEZ WHY WON'T YOU GET THE POINT moment after the art sold. Granted it was one of her Aunt Peg's more exotic friends, that did buy the last art, but at the same time, COME ON GINNY.
But I guess that can also be a humanity commentary; sometimes we do need just a little push in the right direction. Sometimes we need that external voice to give a bit of encouragement so that we can push through all the hesitation and fear and do something truly wonderful and courageous.
Again, I highly recommend this book. That is all.