My rating: 4 of 5 stars
13 Little Blue Envelopes already made me want to book a flight to Europe…the sequel made it worse – they go to IRELAND.* If you haven’t read the first book, start there – Johnson catches you up pretty well, but there’s a lot of context from the first book, especially about Aunt Peg, that makes the story more meaningful.
Maureen Johnson’s books always (at least the ones I’ve read) have a great sense of fun – there’s some substance to ground things, and her characters are nuanced, but you come away feeling like you’ve just spent time with someone with a great sense of humor. The car scenes (and any mention of the tabletop) had me howling, plus there’s something inherently funny about throwing together a girl, her sort-of-ex-boyfriend, his new girlfriend, and a mysterious extortionist. And then having them go on a whirlwind, bizarro tour of Europe. Plus, the pace is great and it’s the kind of story you zip through because you’re having so much fun.
*I once spent two months in Ireland with a friend, living in a rented room, living on a meager budget, and having the time of our lives. This time may or may not have featured prominently in the toast she gave at my wedding. If Ginny’s trips to Europe were her prime college essay material, this would have been mine (except I was already in college).