From looking at the cover, one assumes that this book will be 1) mostly for girls, 2) probably have at least a bit of romance in it and 3) will be nothing but fluff.
And one would be partially right.
It’s about Virginia — Ginny — Blackstone, who lives a very comfortable life in New Jersey. Then one day, she receives a letter with $1000 and 13 blue envelopes in it from her “Runaway Aunt” Peg, who has recently died of cancer. Before you get all “oh, man, this is another cancer book”: yes, it does deal with loss and death, but it’s not about loss and death. It’s mostly story about a girl who is living a comfortable life and manages to find the confidence to… well… be a bit uncomfortable.
The deal is that Ginny has to open the envelopes, one at a time, and follow the instructions in them. Her travels will take her across Europe — where Johnson pushes the envelope of reality (really? a 17-year-old at large, in Europe, on her own?) and makes it more than believable. She makes it fun. The biggest part of this story is not so much the story, but the way Johnson handles everything from romance to adventure to just a little bit of craziness. It’s a funny, clever, sweet — but not overly so — book with just a bit of randomness and unpredictability thrown in.
Which makes it a delight to read.
Rated: Mild. Ginny finds herself in many less-than-ideal situations, and then there’s the whole idea of letting a 17-year-old go on an insane adventure in Europe by herself.