School Library Journal Gr 6 Up-In 13 Little Blue Envelopes (HarperCollins, 2005), Ginny Blackstone followed the instructions contained in the little blue envelopes written by her recently deceased aunt. But before she could read the 13th letter and finish her adventures that sent her all over Europe, her backpack was stolen, with the envelope in it. In this book, Ginny is contacted by a London teen who bought her backpack. She decides to return to England, collect the last letter, and finish what she started. Once she is there, though, things don't turn out quite the way she expected. Paul knows that she is selling her aunt's art and wants a cut for returning the letter. Thus begins a wild and tense journey through the British Isles as Ginny, her former boyfriend, his girlfriend, and Paul try to solve the clues and get along. Ginny, a practical and level-headed girl, is likable and easy to root for. With its blend of life lessons and a dash of romance, this sequel is sure to appeal to fans of the first book-Jessie Spalding, Tempe Public Library, AZ (c) Copyright 2011. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
(c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Publishers Weekly In 13 Little Envelopes (2006), 17-year-old Ginny was sent on an all-expenses-paid scavenger hunt of sorts through Europe, via a series of envelopes from her late aunt. Johnson efficiently recaps the events of that book in a prologue (Ginny plans to use her European tour as fodder for her college application essay), before moving onto the plot point on which this sequel turns: the fact that Ginny never opened the final envelope-it was stolen before she had the chance. After a mysterious e-mail shows up in Ginny's inbox with a scan of partial contents of envelope 13, Ginny returns to Europe to find out what was in the rest of the note and carry out her aunt's last assignment. Johnson's prose is as fluid and assured as ever, and extortion, heartbreak, and a host of entertaining British boys all play their parts as Ginny and friends venture from London to Paris, Amsterdam, and Dublin. Readers who, like Ginny, are on the edge of adulthood, will be drawn in by this winning mix of globe-trotting adventure and romance. Ages 12-up. (May) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
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Book list In 13 Little Blue Envelopes (2005), Ginny never finishes the European scavenger hunt, created by her late aunt Peg, which ends when her backpack is stolen in Greece. Now home in the U.S., Ginny gets an e-mail from Oliver in London, who claims to have the letter that will continue her hunt. Spontaneously, Ginny travels to England and connects with Oliver as well as her old flame, Keith, who surprises her with his new girlfriend. Once again, Johnson's legions of fans will happily follow Ginny's European adventures for the humor, realistic dialogue, and delicate journey through the grieving process.--Dobrez, Cind. Copyright 2010 Booklist
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Book list Looks like a bummer of a summer for 11-year-old Jack (with a same-name protagonist, it's tempting to assume that at least some of this novel comes from the author's life). After discharging his father's WWII-souvenir Japanese rifle and cutting down his mom's fledgling cornfield, he gets grounded for the rest of his life or the rest of the summer of 1962, whichever comes first. Jack gets brief reprieves to help an old neighbor write obituaries for the falling-like-flies original residents of Norvelt, a dwindling coal-mining town. Jack makes a tremendously entertaining tour guide and foil for the town's eccentric citizens, and his warmhearted but lightly antagonistic relationship with his folks makes for some memorable one-upmanship. Gantos, as always, deliver bushels of food for thought and plenty of outright guffaws, though the story gets stuck in neutral for much of the midsection. When things pick up again near the end of the summer, surprise twists and even a quick-dissolve murder mystery arrive to pay off patient readers. Those with a nose for history will be especially pleased.--Chipman, Ian Copyright 2010 Booklist
From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission.
Publishers Weekly A bit of autobiography works its way into all of Gantos's work, but he one-ups himself in this wildly entertaining meld of truth and fiction by naming the main character... Jackie Gantos. Like the author, Jackie lives for a time in Norvelt, a real Pennsylvania town created during the Great Depression and based on the socialist idea of community farming. Presumably (hopefully?) the truth mostly ends there, because Jackie's summer of 1962 begins badly: plagued by frequent and explosive nosebleeds, Jackie is assigned to take dictation for the arthritic obituary writer, Miss Volker, and kept alarmingly busy by elderly residents dying in rapid succession. Then the Hells Angels roll in. Gore is a Gantos hallmark but the squeamish are forewarned that Jackie spends much of the book with blood pouring down his face and has a run-in with home cauterization. Gradually, Jackie learns to face death and his fears straight on while absorbing Miss Volker's theories about the importance of knowing history. "The reason you remind yourself of the stupid stuff you've done in the past is so you don't do it again." Memorable in every way. Ages 10-14. (Sept.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
School Library Journal Gr 5-8-In 1962, Jack accidentally discharges his father's war relic, a Japanese rifle, and is grounded for the summer. When a neighbor's arthritic hands get the best of her, his mother lifts the restriction and volunteers the 12-year-old to be the woman's scribe, writing obituaries for the local newspaper. Business is brisk for Miss Volker, who doubles as town coroner, and Norvelt's elderly females seem to be dropping like flies. Prone to nosebleeds at the least bit of excitement (until Miss Volker cauterizes his nose with old veterinarian equipment), Jack is a hapless and endearing narrator. It is a madcap romp, with the boy at the wheel of Miss Volker's car as they try to figure out if a Hell's Angel motorcyclist has put a curse on the town, or who might have laced Mertie-Jo's Girl Scout cookies with rat poison. The gutsy Miss Volker and her relentless but rebuffed suitor, Mr. Spizz, are comedic characters central to the zany, episodic plot, which contains unsubtle descriptions of mortuary science. Each quirky obituary is infused with a bit of Norvelt's history, providing insightful postwar facts focusing on Eleanor Roosevelt's role in founding the town on principles of sustainable farming and land ownership for the poor. Jack's absorption with history of any kind makes for refreshing asides about John F. Kennedy's rescue of PT-109 during World War II, King Richard II, Francisco Pizarro's conquest of Peru, and more. A fast-paced and witty read.-Vicki Reutter, Cazenovia High School, NY (c) Copyright 2011. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
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Library Journal McCullough (John Adams; 1776) effectively blends impeccable writing with historical rigor and strong character definition in his biography of Wright brothers Wilbur, the abstract thinker and introvert; and Orville, the extrovert and hands-on doer. They had limited formal education, with the author instead attributing his subjects' success to industry, imagination, and persistence, as seen in their early enterprises as newspaper publishers, printers, and bicycle salesmen in Dayton, OH. Credit is also accorded to their widowed father, Bishop Milton Wright, as well as their sister Katharine for their support of "Ullam" (Wilbur) and "Bubs" (Orville). Highlights of McCullough's narrative include his discussions of the Wrights' innovative conception of wing-warping as a means of flight control; the brothers' first controlled, powered, and sustained heavier-than-air human flight at Kitty Hawk, NC, on December 17, 1903; the issuance of the Wright flying machine patent #821,393 on May 22, 1906; the Ohioans' ongoing search for markets abroad; and the elder Wright's perfect flying demonstrations at Le Mans, France, even as Orville was nearly killed in a similar performance before army brass at Fort Myer, VA. The author closes with the incorporation of the Wright Company, patent infringement suits filed against competitor Glenn Curtiss, and the deaths of Wilbur (1912), Milton (1917), Katharine (1929), and Orville (1948). VERDICT A signal contribution to Wright historiography. Highly recommended for academicians interested in the history of flight, transportation, or turn-of-the-century America; general readers; and all libraries.-John Carver Edwards, formerly with Univ. of Georgia Libs. © Copyright 2015. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
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