I laughed when I found out this book had a sequel. Seems Maureen Johnson couldn’t help getting a bit more out of her book with that last letter. I’m surprised it actually got as much attention as it did that she was able to sell a sequel.
This book was, unfortunately, quite terrible.
I’m of a firm belief that if you don’t like, love, or at least love hating the main character of a novel, the author has done something wrong. I felt no love for the main character, Ginny, as she set out on her journey to follow the directions of her now deceased Aunt Peg. In fact, at times I found her quite annoying.
Her thoughts, most of all, were the most irritating. Not only were they rather vapid and way too bad (squeely, annoying, ect) teenage girl for me, but we didn’t even get the chance to see her thoughts often at all. The book progressed in a “Mary Sue did this. Mary Sue walked that way. Mary Sue waited somewhere. Mary Sue stopped at an ATM.” manner. Ginny had little depth and did not change much at all from her experience. She was dull, pointless, and irritating.
In fact, many of the characters were irritating and dull.
The most interesting character throughout the entire novel was Ginny’s Aunt Peg, who we only knew through the twelve letters she had sent her niece and the brief moments in which other characters talked about her. I find it horribly ironic that Ginny mentions that her Aunt “made her interesting” because frankly, I can’t help but agree–though that certainly wasn’t the message the book was trying to get across.
Richard, a rather important character you’ll come to find, is barely around and when he is he exists as an incredibly boring background character readers don’t even get the chance to know. I ironically just finished this book and cannot even recall the name of the love interest other than the fact that his name starts with a K, that is how uninterested in the thieving, no respect playwright I am. I disliked this character immensely.
Other notable annoyances exist in the form of the random characters Aunt Peg knows, the ridiculously frustrating and annoying David and Fiona, and Ginny’s friend from home who exists as nothing more than a blip and a way for Ginny to let out her ugh teenage girl comments about boys.
The journey itself and the motivation of her Aunt was boring at best and genuinely quite dumb in how it was presented. I’ve seen others do a much better job of this plotline. The ending was predictable and pointless to me. The only good moment in this book came with the theft of the final letter, and even that was monumentally irritating. But hey! If you really wanna know what it said, you can go read the 282 page sequel that I’m sure is just as equally irritating.
I understand the author was trying to portray a message and an idea, but the writing and the characters were not good enough to get that across. This book simply wasn’t doing it for me. I genuinely wish I could get the time I spent reading it back so I could read something better.