The Last Little Blue Envelope

The Last Little Blue Envelope - Maureen Johnson 4 stars: liked itFull review can be found here!When I was thirteen and in my first year of high school, there was this book. This book I adored. This book I must have read it as many times as I read The Sisterhood of the Travelling Pants series by Ann Brashares - and I've read those many times! It even inspired my friend and me to make a totally-lame-but-still-fun birthday present for another friend who also loved this book: 13 Little Blue Envelopes. (And yes, we made that for her. The backpack and 13 envelopes. It was terrible. And pretty awesome.)Being a big fan of the first book in such a different part of my life made it difficult for me to adapt to this story. In 13 Little Blue Envelopes we have Ginny and Keith, aunt Peg and Richard, some other weird characters, a fun and absurd adventure, mysterious letters and an ending that was... well, not too pleasing. A story I'd grown to love and that gave me itchy feet and a travel bug that still hasn't gone away.But though I've never been a fan of the end, I was fine with it. I'd gotten over the fact that there wouldn't be an ending that would really satisfy me - and then BOOM. There was the sequel. (Well, not boom. It took a few years.) And I had no idea what to expect.After some research (reading the summary and the first few chapters) I'd learned that the last envelope was back and Ginny had to go do the roadtrip thing again. Also, Keith wouldn't be back for real (I did not like Keith in the first book, but I liked him with Ginny just fine). And that guy who suddenly had Ginny's backpack and was now blackmailing her? It seemed a little far-fetched and I was absolutely certain that I wasn't going to like this story, but then...I suddenly realised how interesting it was. Ginny's new adventure takes her on the same road that her aunt had sent her, and to some more places we haven't seen before. There are characters we know, but also characters that are new and very interesting (hi Oliver). And though the first-time-adventure-in-Europe-spark was gone, the new and improved character development certainly made up for it!This book is better than the first in many ways: the story is more fast-paced; the characters are better developed; Maureen's quirky writing is even better. I like the way Ginny has changed between the books and overall, she was just a lot more likeable than in the first book. And the romance! Sorry Keith, sorry sweet stolen kisses in a Paris graveyard, but I prefer the romance in this book. Where I'd always felt Keith was a bit cocky and, admittedly, had sort of taken him for granted, my affection for Oliver was real.Overall, I was pleasantly surprised. The Last Little Blue Envelope is an entirely new chapter for Ginny and I've learned to treat this book as such. (Having read the series over a big time span certainly takes away from the "series feel".) And though the only thing that truly holds me off from loving this story is the fact that 13 Little Blue Envelopes still has a special meaning to me, I really did like it. I'm certain that, had I read these books at the same time, I would've loved this one even more.I would definitely say the period of time between these books made the sequel more developed and an overall better read. And YES, the ending left me smiling and completely satisfied. Finally.