First, there was DEVILISH. It was clever and witty and it really just made me sit up and say, "wow. This is an author worth watching."
And then there was THIRTEEN LITTLE BLUE ENVELOPES, and it was exactly the sort of book I wish I'd read when I was younger. It involved a girl who went off on an adventure through Europe, and she was a little scared, but she did it anyway, and she fell a little in love, but she kept going anyway, and by the end I found myself wishing with all my heart that I could send this book back in time and give it to myself when I was in high school.
And then I got to know Maureen a little better through Twitter. And she organized one-day Twitter explosions to donate money to ShelterBox and did a debate with the YA-hater Meghan Cox Gourdan, and I really wanted to nominate Maureen Johnson for the President of YA.
And then I read THE LAST LITTLE BLUE ENVELOPE.
I have to say, I had mixed feelings about it. I loved 13LBE so much that I was honestly a little worried about what a sequel would hold. Would Ginny's tentative relationship that was really just a fledging survive across the Atlantic? What would that last little blue envelope actually hold?
I knew Maureen Johnson was a genius. But I didn't know she was THIS much of a genius.
Here's the single best praise I can give to THE LAST LITTLE BLUE ENVELOPE:
It was a sequel that was better than the first book.
Do you know how rare that is (or at least, how rare that is in my own reading)? Off the top of my head, I can think of only one other book (DEMONGLASS by Rachel Hawkins) where I thought Book 2 was better than Book 1. It's not that I think all Book 2s suck, it's just that they're often not as good (imo) as their predecessor.
But THE LAST LITTLE BLUE ENVELOPE? Better than 13LBE. I loved the person Ginny had become as a result of her aunt's journey for her. I loved the realism to the relationships (I'm not going to ruin anything by giving too much away). I loved how I honestly didn't know how the book would end.
And--I love--loveloveLOVE--the last sentence of the last page of the last letter Ginny's aunt left for her.
Oh, and my fangirl love for Maureen Johnson? Just hit epic proportions. I recently finished THE NAME OF THE STAR, and it's official: MJ is on my must-buy list. If I see a book she's written, I will buy it, no matter what.
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