,Johnson, Maureen. The Last Little Blue Envelope. 304 p. HarperTeen. 2011. Hardcover $16.99. ISBN 9780061976797.
When I heard that Maureen Johnson was writing a sequel to 13 Little Blue Envelopes, I was like: OOH! And then I was like: HUH? I mean, I thought the original book wrapped up pretty well in the end, with the idea that it's more about the journey than the destination, and that sort of thing. So... a sequel? Really?
I didn't doubt that it would be awesome. Maureen Johnson books generally are very awesome. But I was curious how she would pull it off.
And? She totally, totally pulled it off. I liked the sequel even more than I liked the first book. I LOVED it, in fact. Johnson deftly revisits the first book just enough to give the reader what they want: more charming European travel adventures, more wacky and endearing characters, and reappearances by some of the wacky and endearing characters we already know. Yay! But this sequel is by no means a simple retread of its predecessor. Brilliantly, one of the themes of this one is about revisiting a place or experience from a new perspective, and the idea that nothing is ever the same. There is definitely enough new content in the sequel to feel fresh and inspired.
I don't want to give away too much of the book's plot, especially since it seems like the publisher is being a bit hush-hush on the details for the moment. So I'll just say that the way in which the 13th envelope makes its way back into the story is very clever and actually plausible, and sets the story up for some fantastic conflict. There are laugh-out-loud funny moments, emotionally affecting moments, and satisfying moments of self-discovery. This book is an engaging and thoroughly enjoyable read. Once I started, I couldn't put it down.
Mark your calendars for The Last Little Blue Envelope's release date of April 26. ARC for review provided by the publisher via NetGalley.