The Last Little Blue Envelope by Maureen Johnson (Book Review) 

 February 9, 2023

By  Raindropreflections

 Book Summary (goodreads):

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.

Cover: It’s just… all right. It’s not awesome, but it isn’t bad, either. It probably won’t stop people from picking it up at the bookstore/library, at least.

Before Reading: See, I have this wanderlust issue. Every time any of my friends go to some awesome place like Australia or England or Hawaii, I’m all ZOMG you’d better tell me all the details NOW. That’s why I liked Thirteen Little Blue Envelopes: because it was a virtual trip through Europe. I was hoping for the same thing from The Last Little Blue Envelope.

My Thoughts

I’m not much of a fan of the third person in YA. I mean, it’s perfectly all right in middle grade lit because it’s hard to nail an adolescent kid’s voice. But teen voices are just a little bit easier (although I’m a teen, so maybe it’s easier for me).

ANYWAYS, what I meant to say was that although The Last Little Blue Envelope was in third person, I didn’t mind it much. And although at times it felt like Ginny didn’t react to ANYTHING (understandable, since we couldn’t hear her every thought) the story and the characters more than made up for it.

The story! Darn it, Maureen Johnson did it again. This YA book had a plot that WASN’T romance-centered! I can’t tell you how happy this made me, even though I actually like romance. And there sure was some swoon-worthy romance in this book, even if it wasn’t the focal point of the book.

Remember Keith from the first book? The shaggy-haired, crazy British boy? I didn’t fall for him last time. But then in the beginning of The Last Little Blue Envelope he had to say, “Merry Christmas, yeah?”

And this is totally stupid, but then I got this HUGE crush on him. I’m already in love with British accents, and when a British guy ends a sentence with “yeah?” it’s fatal. FATAL. Plus, he got rid of that shaggy hair. Anyways, this intense crush lasted about two seconds, because then we’re introduced to the mysterious Oliver, who is TOTALLY British. And Keith is a major douche to this poor dude who I couldn’t bring myself to hate.

And when anybody messes with my British crush, I start hating on them.

But seriously. Keith was downright cruel to Oliver, and it was pretty obvious it wasn’t just because Oliver, um, made Ginny sign to give him half the proceeds from the piece of art they go around Europe to collect. He blackmailed her.

But that does NOT give Keith the right to cover Oliver with snow when he’s sleeping in bed. UGH. It made me hate Keith so much. That bully.

I just realized that I’m talking about these characters like they’re real people. Actually, since Artemis Fowl, I haven’t felt so strongly for some allegedly bad guy. Come on, Artemis Fowl isn’t BAD. HE ISN’T. I only stopped liking him because now he’s younger than I am. *sobs* OHWAIT there’s a new AF book out. He’s GOT to be sixteen in that one.

Anyways, I digress. The point is, Maureen Johnson has an amazing gift: she makes characters come to life. They’re real, they’re believable, and if they’re handsome, they’re not so handsome that we have to listen to multiple monologues about the love interest’s jade green eyes or fatally sharp cheekbones or whatever.

It was a lovely change. It’s why I love contemporary so much. It gives fictional teenagers a chance to be real.

That probably made no sense. But that’s one paradox that’s completely true of Maureen Johnson’s books.

My one major complaint is that all the emotions were toned down. Or more accurately, all of Ginny’s emotions were only a hundredth of what I’m used to experiencing through fictional protagonists. I’m still trying to figure out if that was a good thing or a bad thing.

Parting Thoughts: I ended up loving The Last Little Blue Envelope. That may or may not have to do with the awesome ending OR Oliver OR England OR my temporary satiation of wanderlust. I totally soaked up British (!) and of course European culture and I LOVED it. Whatever it was, it worked. Better than the first book.

Rating: 4/5.