What makes Cinderella such a universal story? Many might discuss the popularity of the stepmother as a villain, but I believe the key to Cinderella is the Fairy Godmother! No matter your domestic circumstances, everyone dreams of a unknown relative or benefactor that suddenly appears and fixes everything, be it a magical fairy godmother or a suddenly discovered (dead) rich uncle.
13 Little Blue Envelopes by Maureen Johnson is a charming story of a suddenly dead aunt who sends Ginny Blackstone on the adventure of her teenage life, from her uneventful suburban home to wander throughout Europe. Each step of the adventure begins with a letter that must be completed before the next can be opened.
In a story with generous helpings of travelogue (London, Paris, Amsterdam, Corfu, ...) and coming of age (yes, there is a "boyfriend"), Ginny learns about her artist aunt and herself and life. I can recommend this to anyone planning student travel (hostels, rails) or growing up. However, as someone who is past staying in hostels and growing up - I've done both - I still found the adventures enjoyable and entertaining.
A delightful read.
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