Book info

The Last Little Blue Envelope (2011)

The Last Little Blue Envelope (2011)
Rating
3.88 of 5 Votes: 2
ISBN
0061976792 (ISBN13: 9780061976797)
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English
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publisher
HarperTeen
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The Last Little Blue Envelope (2011)
The Last Little Blue Envelope (2011)

About book: Oh, Maureen Johnson, what have you done? You couldn't have just stopped with the first book and let me believe that those two crazy kids somehow made things work despite the ocean between them.Before I go on, this review is going to be very, very spoilery. And very, very long. This is like a scholarly dissertation that I wrote here, but that's how strongly this grown woman feels about this little YA story. You have been warned.Perhaps I was a little too invested in Ginny and Keith, but it's because I once had a Keith of my own. He was charming and quirky and snarky and a handsome hooligan in his own right, and reading about Keith in the first book made me immediately think of my Keith, and why I was so drawn to him so many years ago. Had he and I ever somehow ended up in Paris together, I could have seen him trying to convince me to break into a graveyard with him, too. I also saw a bit of the me I had been at that age in Ginny, too. So I really shouldn't have been surprised that in book two, they don't last. I mean, my Keith pretty much pulled the same thing on me, too. We weren't actually boyfriend/girlfriend, just had a "kind of something" and then he started dating someone else and didn't bother to tell me. We just weren't thousands of miles apart, only about a hundred. But like Ginny, I still had hope.So let's talk about Keith. Oh Keith. The king of the mixed messages. As Oliver points out, Keith is willing to travel to Paris with Ginny even though he has a girlfriend, a girlfriend who he has obviously talked to a lot about Ginny, given the reaction Ellis gives Ginny when they meet. Although it would appear that he left out the part about how he and Ginny were a little more than just friends, given Ellis' oh-so warm reaction to Ginny. She admits to Ginny that at first she was a little jealous about how much Keith would talk about her, but says the jealousy was because of the adventures they had had together that summer, not because of any romantic inclinations between the two. (Although really, Keith wasn't *that* involved in that summer's journey.) Then during the trip Ellis seems totally oblivious to the fact that of course Keith still has some sort of feelings for Ginny. If Oliver could tell how obvious Keith was being about Ginny, how was Ellis not able to pick up on it too, or if she was, still be all sunshine and best friends about Ginny? Is anyone really that magnanimous when it comes to matters of the heart? Maybe all that whispering between her and Keith was Keith reassuring her that Ginny was just a very good friend. Speaking of jealousy, Keith is annoyed with Oliver for Oliver's devious blackmailing of Ginny, but to me he's also obviously jealous, too. The real mean tricks he pulls on Oliver don't start to take place until after Ellis mentions that she and Ginny had talked about how Oliver was kind of cute, and only a short time later he splashed Oliver's coat. Then the snow prank happened the morning after Ginny had spent the night out with Oliver. Keith claimed it was because of "What [Oliver] was doing," but it sure reeked of immature jealousy to me, even though he chose Ellis over Ginny. No wonder Ginny thought there was still a chance for the two of them. Things for Ginny might have been better on the trip, and a lot of this could have been avoided, if only Keith had mentioned Ellis to Ginny previously. So poor Ginny, who still has strong feelings for Keith, had no warning that Ellis existed, and now is supposed to be perfectly okay that the boy she loves is so into this girl who he's been dating for just over a month that Ellis already has a key to his apartment, and she's on the trip with them. The scene in Belgium, where Ginny and Keith were walking together to his car, broke my heart. I really wish that they had had the discussion about them and Ellis and what exactly Keith and Ginny now were to each other then, but I suppose it needed to be dragged out for the tension. Then there they are in Dublin, and he starts making out with his girlfriend at midnight, but then later on the train gets mad at Ginny for kissing Oliver while this was going on, and she was surrounded by a sea of kissing people and her heart is breaking because Keith doesn't want her after all, he chose Ellis. I mean, by bringing Ellis along on the trip, he practically pushed Ginny into Oliver's arms! And when Ginny finally throws it out there on the train back home from Dublin, Keith has the audacity to get even more upset with her? Was he really that stupid that he didn't realize how much he meant to Ginny and how much seeing him and Ellis together hurt her? I mean, I suppose I can see it from his point of view, even though he's with Ellis, he still cares about Ginny, and wanted to look out for her, and saw Oliver as the enemy and then after all he did for her, there she is not sleeping with but kissing the enemy, and what kind of thanks is that to him? But still. Keith, you dumbass, you broke her heart! You let her think that there was still a chance for the two of you. You didn't mean to, but you led her on. What you did for her, going on the trip with her to look out for her, was wonderful, but you never told her you had a girlfriend. You didn't give her any chance to get over you. You can't except her to be all hunky-dory and just friends and okay with it all when it was dropped on her the way it was. You had at least a month to move her to the friend box. She had two days before the trip began. She was totally right when she tells Oliver on the train that Keith should have told her. At least, during the talk later in the apartment, he seems to understand how he messed up by not telling her when he hangs his head after she tells him that she still had hope, and they come to an understanding about why each other was upset.Back on the train, while Ginny is sobbing after her and Keith's fight and Oliver replies so what if Keith does hate her after their confrontation, I understand exactly why it was too much for Ginny to contemplate. As was written earlier in the book, "It wasn't exactly like before—it would never be exactly like before—but it was something." And I understand how important that still is to have with someone like Keith. At least at the end of this book, I do have hope that they still remain friends. I eventually ended up friends with my Keith, too. Honestly, when I started this book, I had to skim through it first. I was that invested in Ginny and Keith that I HAD to know before I began reading if they would end up together in the end or not. And when I found out they weren't, I wanted to hate this story. Although Ginny and Keith did not end up together, I at least understand why they aren't. And if Maureen Johnson was able to make me feel this much emotion about these two characters, she evidently did something right, so I have to give her props for that. However, I really, really wish that Ginny had only kissed Oliver that one time, on new years eve, and that that second kiss on the train platform never took place. Don't end the story with another ambiguous maybe relationship. Just let the story focus on Ginny and Keith and their evolution from love interests to friends. The story tries to make it clear that her plan to attend college in the UK is not solely the result of these newfound romantic feelings for Oliver – in her list of people she'll miss, Keith is listed first and Oliver last – but she had just become okay with accepting that she and Keith would only be friends, and now I want her to have some time to just herself.So I came full circle, and can appreciate the brilliance of this story. With that said, there are still some serious contradictions between this book and the first one that must be addressed. First, let's talk about that back seat. The four of them are getting ready to take off in Keith's car, and Ginny's thinking about how she's never ridden in the backseat before. Which is a total lie. In book one, she was in the backseat for David's tragedy meal, which had one of my favorite moments in that book, where Keith says that David's going to throw up and he just cleaned his car, and Ginny looks around the back seat filled with trash, the backseat WHERE SHE IS SITTING, and says, "You did?" Really, forgetting about that moment when writing book two was a big faux pas.Then there's the thirteenth letter itself. In book one, Ginny holds the letter on the Greece ferry while Carrie reads the others, and observes that the letter doesn't seem any larger from the others, and felt about two pages thick. And yet, given the complex nature of the tasks letter thirteen lays out in book two, there is no way all that fit on a two page letter. There are even some comments about the multiple pages. I suppose this one isn't as egregious as the other contradictions, but still. Next is Aunt Peg's body. Book one specifically mentions "the drive up to the airport to claim the body." But now in book two, Aunt Peg was cremated and her ashes spread around a cemetery in Ireland? That's a big thing that can't just be brushed away.Lastly, let's talk about Keith's thieving history. Ginny acts shocked – shocked! – that he has a criminal record, but she knew about that already in book one. She may not have known that he got arrested after stealing the car, but she did know that he had gotten arrested after "grand theft chicken kebab." She even comments that she "couldn't have gotten arrested if she tried." I think that overall, Maureen Johnson is a fine writer, but did she even re-read 13 Little Blue Envelopes before she began this sequel? I would like to give this book 4 stars, because even though I'm not happy with the outcome, I can appreciate the story that was being told. However, these deviations from what was stated in the first novel are too big to ignore. I enjoyed this! More than I remember enjoying 13 Little Blue Envelopes, actually. But that was a long time ago...It certainly made me want to go to England! As if I didn't already want to do that enough. Or Europe in general, really. I wanted to go everywhere that they went. I want to have adventures like that!I mean it's perhaps not the most realistic story, what with Ginny's parents seemingly letting her gallivant of to Europe at the drop of a hat and Ginny seeming to think that GOING ON A TRIP ALONE WITH A STRANGE MAN IS OKAY. But it's just a story, so I'll let it slide.It's a very fun sequel, and even though the slightly ambiguous ending of the first book was nice, I enjoyed the closure here. Plus I totally called the ending. Just saying.Can't wait to see Maureen Johnson at LeakyCon!
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Reviews
Liz
Loved the adventure. It was sweet yet hear breaking at the same time. Adorable ending.
Phill
I fell in love with the new characters and how an unexpected turn the story took
Chassy101
That was utterly brilliant. I want another book.
Jeyin
Great series for pre teens and younger teens.
irene
It was fantastic! I want a sequel!
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