Author: Maureen Johnson
Publisher: HarperCollins, 2005
Pages: 317 p
Source: Local library
I have no idea why I didn't read this book back in 2005. None. I only had one child. I was not yet pregnant with my second. I was still a YA librarian. But, as it turns out, I'm glad I didn't read it back then. Why? Because I didn't have to wait 6 years for the sequel!
17 year old Ginny receives a mysterious letter from her aunt instructing her to pack a backpack, leave her home and prepare to go overseas. The first letter leads her to her aunt's apartment in NYC and a bundle of little blue envelopes--all containing letters to be opened at specific points throughout her journey. It's a little like a scavenger hunt. Ginny has no idea where she's heading or what her ultimate goal is because she follows the rules faithfully and doesn't open the envelopes until she is directed to. The biggest mystery though is how her aunt was able to pull all of this off when she's dead.
Ginny starts off as a quiet shy reserved character forced to step out of her comfort zone and ends up strong and confident. She finds unexpected romance and friendship during her travels and leaves her foreign vacation a much deeper and richer person. By the end of her journey there are still some questions about her aunt's life and death and the direction that Ginny's life will take, but don't worry. The sequel will be released on April 26, 2011.
Johnson has written an emotional and meaningful book about identity, grief, and growing up. She's done all this while maintaining the humor we've come to expect from her.
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