Some of you might remember that I read Thirteen Little Blue Envelopes last year and wasn't horribly impressed. I thought the MC, Ginny, was too whiny after having been given an all-expensive-paid trip around Europe, I didn't get some elements of the book's structure and didn't feel like Ginny had much going for her as a character other than the plot. But I love Maureen Johnson in general, so I bought the sequel last week.
And I'm so glad I did.
LLBE fixes all the issues I had with the first book. Ginny has grown a ton, she's struggling with filling out college applications and figuring out boys. Although the stakes of the novel aren't as high--she knows the most pressing of her late aunt's secrets--the desire for that last letter has a more emotional pull, in my opinion. The characters are so well-drawn in their interactions with each other---something I will definitely take away from this book is working on group dynamic.
Also, Johnson's quirkiness shone through in amazing little one liners. One character is described as being like a "deranged muppet" (A term that also appears in Libba Bray's Beauty Queens) and the hostel they stay at in Untrecht could only come from the mind, or perhaps the experience, of someone well traveled enough to know how much oddity is out there.
I love when you can see the growth an author has made over time, and I'm back on board with anything and everything Maureen Johnson now.