17 outubro 2011

Review: 13 Little Blue Envelopes (Maureen Johnson)

Publisher: Harper Teen (2006)
Format: Paperback | 321 pages
Genre(s): Young Adult
Description (GR): "When Ginny receives thirteen little blue envelopes and instructions to buy a plane ticket to London, she knows something exciting is going to happen. What Ginny doesn't know is that she will have the adventure of her life and it will change her in more ways than one. Life and love are waiting for her across the Atlantic, and the thirteen little blue envelopes are the key to finding them in this funny, romantic, heartbreaking novel."
WARNING: contains minor SPOILERS! 
Let's see if I can piece together some sort of review for this book. But I must warn you now: it's not going to be objective and I suspect it is more of a rant then a review.

Imagine that you're a 17-year-old, completely average and normal American girl who just happens to have a fun but somewhat crazy [favourite] aunt. Said aunt decides suddenly to leave her New York flat and the next thing you (the teenager) and your family know she is dead.

Then an envelope comes for you (annoyingly little and blue) and it's from your aunt and she wants you to grab the 1000 dollars in the envelope and buy a ticket to London. And you just... go. Why? I don't know. A letter comes for you, out-of-the-blue asking you, a teenager, to go from America to Europe with only a backpack and a set of written instructions.

I'm sure everyone must have realized what the problem with this entire story line is. Yep. I doubt there are many parents out there who would let their teenage daughter just catch a plane to Europe with no money, barely any clothes and no cell phone. What? I mean, what? I just didn't buy it. And the fact thar there was no conversation between the main character (Ginny) and her parents at all didn't make it any better, obviously.

Still this is fiction. This is teen fiction. I was willing to suspend my disbelief at this completely wacky plot line. Maybe something interesting would happen.

But it didn't. The entire book is just about Ginny (Virginia) who is possibly one of the most dull protagonists ever (just like Finley, remember her?) running around all over Europe with a backpack, very little cash and no maps. I could suspend my disbelief no longer; 13 Little Blue Envelopes just didn't work. It was implausible, random and in spite of all the descriptions of European cities, boring.

Any self-respecting person, teenager or not would be annoyed that their aunt was apparently making them travel all over for no discernible or logical reason, but not Ginny. Since she is dull, as I mentioned above and just devoid of any personality whatsoever she meekly followed all the crazy instructions in the various envelopes and I was honestly surprised she didn't get lost and/or wasn't repeatedly robbed or beaten up for the contents of her backpack.
Johnson's descriptions of Europe are flawed, as if it is some sort of magical land where nothing wrong ever happens. Oh, sure, Ginny has some problems but somehow they get solved in the most fantastic and unrealistic ways: like, when she didn't have a place to stay, an American family just happened to find her and invite her to stay with them.

Of course, no teen novel is complete without a romantic interest. Ginny falls for Keith, an English wannabe-actor (at first sight, of course). They keep running into each other (either because they're going the same way or because he decides to show up where she is, at random, as if traveling through Europe costs no money at all) but don't ever know each other very well. But they are still in luurve.

In the end there was no point to the whole exercise. Ginny traveled, met a few people and went back home. She didn't change much (or if she did, we're never told).

Overall: this book was... not very good. It was pointless, dull and random. The main character was not interesting at all, her quest was annoyingly vapid and unrealistic and in the end nothing changed. The whole setting was too implausible for words. When I compare this book to the recent YA paranormal fiction I read and find the fantasy books more believable than this one then something is definitely wrong. I wouldn't recommend this to anyone, teenagers or adults. There is just too much in this book that doesn't work.

3 comentários:

jen7waters disse...


Yep, é um rant. xD

Ok, depois do The Name of The Star eu até pensei em dar à Maureen mais uma oportunidade e ler mais qualquer coisa dela, mas sendo assim acho que vou esquecer o assunto. Já estou a ver que ela tem sempre o mesmo tipo de protagonista: adolescente Americana vai para outro país, e coisas acontecem à sua volta. (O nosso dinheiro de volta, sff!)

slayra disse...

Yah, definitivamente um rant. Mas o livro irritou-me mesmo... só pensava "isto é mauuu... e surreal" enquanto o estava a ler. Bah. :P Ainda bem que me contive e não comprei a sequela. :P

Não sei quando é que vou conseguir ler o Name of the Star. Se for tão aborrecido como este, estou tramada. :P

p7 disse...

Esta autora não acerta uma. xD Depois da opinião da jen7waters sobre o The Name of the Star, pensei que este livro pudesse ser melhor, mas pelos vistos não. :/ É que todos soam mesmo a uma grande... treta. :P

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