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13 Little Blue Envelopes maureen johnson For Kate Schafer, the greatest traveling companion in the world, and a woman. Aunt Peg, the New York artist and the person Ginny Blackstone depended on to make her life interesting, took off to Europe without a word three years ago. New York Times bestselling author Maureen Johnson's funny, heartbreaking, and utterly romantic tale gets a great new cover!Ginny Blackstone never thought .

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Read “13 Little Blue Envelopes - Maureen Johnson”, by Maureen Johnson online on Bookmate – New York Times bestselling author Maureen Johnson's funny. New York Times bestselling author Maureen Johnson's funny, heartbreaking, and utterly romantic tale gets a great new cover!Ginny Blackstone never thought s. 13 Little Blue Envelopes. Maureen Johnson. YA FIC Johnson. A Brief Chapter in My. Impossible Life. Dana Reinhardt. YA FIC Reinhardt. Gingerbread.

Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read. Want to Read saving…. Want to Read Currently Reading Read. Other editions. Enlarge cover. Error rating book. Refresh and try again. Open Preview See a Problem? Details if other: Thanks for telling us about the problem. Return to Book Page. In envelope 2 are directions to a specific London flat. The note in envelope 3 tells Ginny: Find a starving artist. But will she ever see him again?

Well, anywhere, really. And a chunk of her hair was caught under the strap on her right shoulder, so her head was also being pulled down a little. That didn't help.

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It had been over two years since Ginny had last been to the 4th Noodle Penthouse. Or "that place above the grease factory," as Ginny's parents preferred to refer to it. It wasn't entirely unfair. But it was the good kind of greasy, and they had the best dumplings in the world.

Her mental map had faded a bit in the last two years, but 4th Noodle's name also contained its address. It was on 4th Street and Avenue A. The alphabet avenues were east of the numbers, deeper into the super-trendy East Village--where people smoked and wore latex and never shuffled down the street with bags the size ofmailboxes strapped to their backs.

She could just see it now. There was a tiny tinkle of a chime and a sharp blast of air-conditioning as Ginny opened the door. Standing behind the counter was a pixie of a woman manning three phones at once. This was Alice, the owner, and Aunt Peg's favorite neighbor. She smiled broadly when she saw Ginny and held up a finger, indicating that she should wait.

Alice was Chinese, but she spoke perfect English Aunt Peg had told her so. But because she always had to get right to the point 4th Noodle did a brisk business , she spoke in halting single words. YA books must be held to a higher standard because of their ability to influence young minds that are just figuring out this world for the first time.

And to add insult to injury in the same chapter that this offensive word appears, there is an attempted robbery by what are described as gypsy children and I'm like no. Can we not endorse all this negative cultural stereotyping??? Just call them delinquents but don't try to single them out due to their ethnicity or otherwise.

It further enforces long-standing intolerance of minority groups and breeds an air of distrust around those who are not white and privileged AF. So no. This book is not for me and nor do I recommend it for anyone else. And it's rare that I ever say such things as I usually can see the potential in a book for a certain type of reader But this time No no no. I liked the premise. It was sort of interesting and cute. Dead Aunt sends niece on this unpredictable and slightly loony journey.

One very similar to the one that her aunt took when she felt a little lost and was dealing with a bit of a reality check.

She jets to her first destination, London. From there on it's one big ride. She goes through many experiences, and although it's a decent read, I just was not in love with the boo I liked the premise.

She goes through many experiences, and although it's a decent read, I just was not in love with the book. I mean, I finished it fairly quickly. It never lagged, and I might even say that it was slightly engrossing. But it didn't feel all that memorable.

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The love interest? A bit of a jerk, not to mention a major bore. I could not for the life of me figure out what she saw in the guy. I also found her confession - regarding her falling for him, rather random, too. I actually recall getting into the book, but by the time I had finished it, I was kind of underwhelmed.

Also, I didn't really connect with any characters. I felt lack of depth might have had something to to with it. I liked it, I just didn't love it. Oh, and the holiday is going rather well so far.

A little homesick, but nothing I can't handle ; I listened to this book as an audio book during my drive to New Orleans which made me dislike the book even more I didn't enjoy the reader's voice. I enjoyed the book in the beginning but soon felt like the story was dragging and every country visited after Paris was unnecessary.

I also didn't really like any character in this book, they had no depth and weren't interesting or likable. The concept of this book was so intriguing but I was disappointed. Jan 27, Kayley Hyde rated it it was amazing Recommends it for: If you've ever been to Europe, thought about going to Europe, wanted to go about Europe or even heard of Europe It's a quick, fun summer read.

Very clever and warm-hearted. I love the characters, the plot and just everything about it. It always keeps you guessing. One of my favourites. Maureen never lets me down. Jul 17, Olivia-Savannah Roach rated it liked it. I was glad to finally be able to read it after I discovered Anissa TheBookworm Central wanted to reread it. We read it together and it was so nice to discuss this read with someone! What I loved the most about the story would have to be the traveling side of things.

I liked reading these envelopes for ourselves, and discovering a little bit more about her Aunt in each one. And she hurt people because of that. But you have to admire her really independent and artistic nature at the same time. She was extremely quiet and shy — even more so than me.

I can be pretty shy sometimes but Ginny took it to a new level. I liked her weirdness and quirkiness. Although sometimes, I have to admit that I found that Ginny was the kind of person who let things happen to her, rather than took advantage of them herself.

She was kind of innocent and oblivious to some things around her which bothered me at times. But not too much. I think this novel showed the benefits and the cons to traveling solo as well. I was really getting invested, when all of a sudden the ending came.

This review and others can be found on Olivia's Catastrophe: View all 4 comments. Ongecompliceerde YA roman Apr 29, Jennifer Wardrip rated it really liked it Shelves: The instructions are specific; no cell phones, no maps, and Ginny can only open one envelope at a time, after she's completed each task in the previous letter.

Through the letters, Ginny learns more about what drove her Aunt to flee to Europe in pursuit of her art, and about her Aunt's last year of life, since Aunt Peg has passed away from a brain tumor by the time the first envelope arrives--and Ginny never got to say good-bye. Through her adventures, Ginny learns a lot about herself. Her own strength and ingenuity, her ability to forgive, and that she, too, can be an interesting person. Others are easier, at least on the surface; find a starving artist and be his mysterious benefactor.

Readers will both laugh at some of Ginny's mishaps and cringe at some of her mistakes as the envelopes lead her around Europe. Peopled with a strong cast of supporting characters--the cute playwright she meets in London, the annoying family of Americans with a "schedule" in Amsterdam, the crazy artist friends of her Aunt--the novel unfolds at a fast pace, while never losing its poignancy as Ginny retraces the steps of the Aunt she loved. Johnson has written an excellent and entertaining novel that I highly recommend.

Feb 23, Melanie rated it it was ok Shelves: See more reviews at YA Midnight Reads Mini mini review 13 Little Blue Envelopes is a quick, light read that will intrigue young readers from the first page. This 'road trip novel' is filled with adventure and a cute romance. Maureen Johnson manages to pull off an entertaining story in pages that may not fulfil older readers' expectations. There were so many holes in the plot and the main character was so oblivious and annoying. While I thought the plot line was excellent, the way it was executed was horridly poor.

All in all, I am not a big fan of Maureen's novel, it was my first one by her, and probably the last. Everything seemed to childish and just not for me. MG people can try this but MG readers may dispute this as it had nothing too remarkable or anything that screamed depth. Nov 21, Flannery rated it it was ok Shelves: The most common emotion it drew out of me was annoyance. No parents, that's who. Ginny wasn't properly equipped to travel the way she did.

She talks to strangers, goes back to apartments with random people, just walks around some places at night, and leaves her crap unattended like it is her job. I'm surprised she didn't end up in a child sex trafficking ring. No, seriously, I am. Her "romance" with Keith who is named Keith these days? I think all Keiths should just be born into middle-age is weak and pretty unbelievable.

We find out basically nothing about the main character, she shows no growth, and the ending is lame. The best part about the entire book is the backstory of Richard and Peg.

Richard was likable and seemed realistic. I just don't get it, though: The parents of this child allowed her to go "all over the world" with no cell phone, camera, traveler's checks, no money until she gets some in London, but they would never know that because she can't make any phone calls home , and NO CONTACTS. And we are supposed to believe this? I can't get my eyebrows to come back down even while I write this review. The reason it gets 2 stars instead of 1 is because I love European adventures and it was mildly entertaining.

But I wouldn't recommend it to anyone. View all 5 comments. Apr 01, Yoda rated it it was amazing Shelves: It's a such amazing story! Well written, interesting and unexpected. Maureen Johnsons discriptions were so vivid I could've swore I was traveling through Europe with her. It's an easy read, and a really feel good kind of novel. All about finding yourself in the midts of unkown cities and countries.

Thank you Maureen Johnson for taking me on this incredible journey. Jun 24, Angel Gelique rated it liked it. Ginger "Ginny" Blackstone, a seventeen-year-old college-bound girl, receives a letter from her deceased aunt instructing her to pick up a package from her former apartment.

The package contains twelve additional envelopes, numbered two through thirteen. As per her aunt's insistence, Ginny must open an envelope only after completing the task from the previous envelope.

The first envelope sends her to London with no money, cell phone, computer or guidebook.

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Ginny begins her adventure. I honestly w Ginger "Ginny" Blackstone, a seventeen-year-old college-bound girl, receives a letter from her deceased aunt instructing her to pick up a package from her former apartment.

I honestly wanted to enjoy this book much more than I did. But I hated the fact that a young girl imprudently travels to unfamiliar regions and places herself in some precarious situations. Though I understand the aunt's desire for Ginny to follow in her footsteps by traveling throughout Europe on a journey of self-discovery, I think it was improper for the aunt to posthumously impose her will in attempt to pave Ginny's destiny.

But aside from that personal gripe, I didn't really care for any of the characters, especially Keith. I can't understand why Ginny cared so much for him in such a short period. The only character I liked is Richard, who was sweet, sensible and helpful. Nor did I find the story particularly enthralling, either, until the ending. I will read the second book to see if it can drastically change my mind about this story I really wanted to read this book while I was in China because it has to do with travel.

I was traveling, Ginny was traveling - it seemed the thing to do. I read it in two days, as well, which is saying something. But still, there was something lacking for me in this novel. First, I'll admit that this is definitely a fast-paced read. I was never bored with the story. The constant change of setting kept the book clipping along at a pretty breakneck speed. Ginny visits a crazy amount of countries i I really wanted to read this book while I was in China because it has to do with travel.

Ginny visits a crazy amount of countries in this page novel, including England, Scotland, Greece, France, Denmark, and Italy, to name a few. But with this constant change of scenery, I never truly felt connected with any of the characters, not even Ginny herself. There's little said about our protagonist before we're thrown into this grand adventure that her insane aunt sends her on. Even at the end of the book, I didn't feel like I really knew much about Ginny or her character motivation.

And what kind of crazy parents would allow their teenage daughter to gallivant around Europe unchaperoned and with no contact?

I had a really hard time swallowing that. Really, the only character we learn much about is Ginny's aunt, and only through her letters and what Ginny says about her. Honestly, I felt like there was more narration devoted to the aunt than Ginny herself. But this wasn't supposed to be a book about Ginny's aunt; it was supposed to be about Ginny. Then there's the "romance. There was pretty much zero chemistry, and the love interest isn't really that essential to the story. He pops up in England, then again in Paris, and we never really see him again until the very end.

It was weird. And Ginny's one-minute stand with an Italian at his house? Even weirder. I wasn't on board with the lackluster romance. But all that being said, it was an interesting book. I love travel and creative nonfiction travel journal-esque things, so I was interested and kept reading simply because of that aspect. I've never been to Europe, so I enjoyed the descriptions and experiencing everything for the first time, right along with Ginny.

I just wish that I had gotten to know the characters better. But it's certainly not at the top of my list. I just want to know what the stupid final letter says! Apr 12, Merythapy rated it liked it.

Yeah, it's unrealistic: It's a fairy tale. I think it would be a great book to read before traveling, or while traveling. Excellent travel feel, with Yeah, it's unrealistic: Excellent travel feel, with just enough romance and mystery to keep you interested.

Jul 14, Shay rated it really liked it Shelves: Aunt Peg is dead and the thing she left Ginny? So begins the adventure! This is a lovely tale of a girl following the trail of her aunt's life and discovering herself along the way. Aug 27, jv poore rated it really liked it Shelves: I've no doubt that I'd thoroughly enjoy reading the side of a cereal box if Maureen Johnson wrote it. Jun 17, Chelsea rated it liked it Shelves: She had to have been here for months.

She got up and retrieved the package. After brushing a spot clean, she laid the envelopes out on the table. She looked over each of the eleven unopened ones. Most had been decorated with some kind of picture as well as a number.

The front of the next one had been painted in watercolors in the style of a Monopoly Community Chest card.

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Aunt Peg had created her own version of the little man in the top hat with the monocle, with a very fat and round plane going by the background. They read: That required her to find out what Richard had sold the queen and getting to an ATM.

She needed money anyway. All she had left was a handful of strangely shaped coins, which she hoped would be enough to get her back to Harrods. Ginny snatched up the directions that Richard had written for her minutes before, dumped the offending juice down the sink, and headed for the door. The sign on the front listed several famous-sounding destinations, including Knightsbridge, and the number matched one of the bus numbers Richard had given her.

There was a small bus shelter a few feet away, and it looked like the bus planned on stopping there. Two black poles with illuminated yellow globes on top of them marked the opening of the pedestrian crossing.

Ginny ran to these, glanced to make sure the coast was clear, and started to run across the road. Sudden honking. A big black cab whizzed past her. As Ginny jumped back, she saw something written on the road. She managed to get across the road and tried to ignore the fact that everyone on one side of the bus had just witnessed her 43 near-death experience.

She had no idea what to pay the driver. Ginny helplessly held out her little bit of remaining money and he took one of the fat coins. She went up the narrow spiral staircase in the middle of the bus. There were many seats available, and Ginny took one at the very front. The bus started to move. It felt like she was floating. From her perspective, it looked like the bus was running over countless pedestrians and bicyclists, squashing them into oblivion.

She pushed herself farther back into the seat and tried not to pay any attention to this. Except they had to have just killed that guy on the cell phone.

Ginny waited to feel the bump as the bus rolled over his body, but it never came. She looked around at the imposing facades of the stately buildings around her. The sky went from cloudy to gray in the space of a moment, and rain started hammering the wide windows in front of her. Now it looked like they were mowing down huge crowds of umbrella carriers.

She looked down at her smattering of remaining coins. Her parents somehow made this fact apparent without ever coming out and saying it. Still, it never seemed like Aunt Peg was wanting for anything. She always seemed to have enough money to take Ginny for frozen hot chocolates at Serendipity, or to download her piles of art supplies, or to make her elaborate Halloween 44 costumes, or to get that jar of really good caviar she bought once just because she thought Ginny should taste it.

It was still gross. Pounds seemed possible. Pounds sounded like they should come in the form of tiny burlap bags tied in rough string, filled with little bits of metal or shiny objects. Aunt Peg could have that kind of money. Richard had gotten there first and was waiting in a booth. He smiled and dabbed some ketchup onto his steak. Ginny tried not to wince. I make arrangements to get it to them. And occasionally, occasionally, I get to set up royal visits.

One day, we got a call from the palace that the queen wanted to come 45 over that evening, in just a few hours. She never does that.

But this night she wanted to come in, and there was no one else available. So I had to take care of her. Big ones. Very nice ones as well, but big ones. I mailed the package. I suppose you know that? Someone had to send it.

We were good mates. About your family. I felt like I knew you before you ever got here. His sudden directness. They both stopped to watch her pick them up. Richard showed Ginny to the ATM and returned to work, with the promise of seeing her in the evening. She approached one and stuck in the card. The machine politely asked for a code. The machine purred and showed her a few advertisements about how she could save for a home, and then it asked her what she wanted.

She had no idea what she wanted, but she had to pick something. Some number. There were lots of numbers to choose from. Twenty pounds, please. That seemed like a good, basic kind of number. She was on her own. She would need to download things and get around, so.

One hundred pounds, please. The machine asked for a moment. Ginny felt her stomach drop. Then a stack of crisp purple and blue notes different sizes: Now she got it. Aunt Peg had come through. Why Mysterious Benefactor Day? Well, Gin, let me give you a because: You need a little serendipity, a little luck, a little boost.

Make someone think that wonderful things are happening to them for no reason they can see. Step one: Withdraw pounds from the account. Step two: Find an artist in London whose work you like, someone you think deserves a break. This is going to require some looking around on your part. Any kind of artist—a painter, a musician, a writer, an actor. Step three: You are so wrong, Gin. Those are your orders. Love, Your Runaway Aunt The Benefactor The next morning, after reading her letter and splashing around in the tub, Ginny joined Richard at the kitchen table.

He was loosely dressed—unbuttoned shirt, undone tie—and was roughly flipping through the sports section of the paper and shoving pieces of toast into his mouth. Sounds like a Peg task. For someone who lived pretty randomly, she was a bit of a neat freak.

Shelia Studies, paintings by Romily Mezogarden. Harry Smalls, demolition artist. She managed to make it to the front door just a second before he did, and they walked out into the drizzly morning together. No one was there, but the girl behind the counter was making a whole pitcher of beet juice anyway.

She waved a purple-stained hand at them as they came in. Shelia had a large, flat head with a square chunk of yellow hair sticking up out of it. Shelia usually just stood around 4: Shelia Standing; 7: Shelia Standing in 54 Bedroom; Shelia Standing in Road. Sometimes, she would stand around and hold things Shelia with Eggbeater or look at things Shelia Looking at Pencil , and then she would get tired and sit 9: Shelia Sitting on Box.

That seemed like a lot, considering that they were really ugly and the whole thing seemed uncomfortably stalker-like. These could be the greatest pictures in the world. There were people who could tell these things. She was not one of them. Still, it seemed like she should have a slight air of competence. She got the strange feeling that somehow Richard was expecting her to know something.

All kinds of things. Half a briefcase. Half a sofa. Half a mattress. Half a tube of toothpaste. Half an old car. Ginny thought this one over, then asked herself if she really wanted to give almost a thousand dollars to a guy who had a chain saw problem. Once they were back outside, Ginny struggled to come up with another idea.

Street musicians, people like that? Lots of performers. All sorts of things going on, people selling things. It has its own tube stop. Come on, then. There was nothing garden-like about Covent Garden. It was a large cobblestoned plaza, jammed with tourists and stalls of knickknacks.

There was also no shortage of performers. She gave it her best, spending over an hour sitting on the curb, watching. Some guys juggled knives.

Several guitarists of varying quality played either acoustically or through banged-up amps. A magician pulled a duck from his coat. She could picture the scene—the astonished knifethrowers looking at the flutter of twenty-pound notes. She gripped the money in her pocket, balled it tight, then got up and started walking. The sun was making more of an effort today, and the Londoners seemed to appreciate it. Ginny wandered around the stalls, wondering if she should download Miriam a T-shirt.

Then she was walking down a street full of bookstores. Her chances of succeeding seemed to be rapidly dwindling. Plus, the advertisement gave directions. It seemed worth a try. She found herself on a city street, with a few fairly modern academic buildings scattered around.

Of course, she realized, it was also summer, and evening, which meant no school and no students. She wandered around, glancing at a few flyers stuck to notice boards and walls. A few protests. Yoga classes. A few album releases. She was about to turn and give up when a flapping piece of paper caught her eye.

There was a cartoon of a man diving into a coffee cup. The bottom of the flyer said that the show was written, produced, directed, and designed by someone named Keith Dobson. Something about this just sounded promising. And it was still going on—even now, in the summer. Tickets, the flyer promised, were on sale in something called the uni. She asked a girl passing by what it was. There was a flyer for the show stuck to the door and a pale redheaded guy visible through the nine inches of plastic window that made this a box office and not a closet.

He looked up from a copy of War and Peace. He held up his hands and indicated eight. She dug around in her pocket and found one of the tiny five-pound notes and three of the pound coins and carefully pressed these through the slot in the plastic, and he pulled a photocopied ticket from a cigar box and passed it over to her. Then he jerked his finger, pointing her toward two red double doors at the end of the hall. It was a little damp. A few fake palm trees had been pushed off to the side.

The seats were mostly empty and a few people sat on the floor or on steps in the back of the room. All in all, there were only maybe ten people in the audience. Most of them were smoking and talking to one another. It felt like a private party in a basement. She was thinking about getting up and leaving just as a girl appeared in the doorway near where she had come in and flipped off the light switches.

Punk music started to blast from a few scattered speakers on one side of the room. A moment later, it stopped abruptly, and a light came on in the middle of the stage. Standing there was a guy, maybe her age or just a little older, dressed in a green kilt, a Starbucks shirt, heavy black boots, and a top hat.

A fringe of light reddish hair stuck out from under the 59 hat, brushing along the top of his shoulders. He had a wide, slightly evil grin. More insults.

He seemed to like that. It ended tragically when she stopped drinking coffee, and he threw himself offstage into what was supposed to be the Main Bean Supply. All of this was somehow arranged by Jittery, who remained onstage the entire time, talking to the audience, telling Joe what to do, and holding up signs that gave statistics on how the global economy was wrecking the environment. There were a lot of random things going on, like a guy who sometimes rode through the scene on a bike for no reason that Ginny could figure.

Despite all of that, Ginny found herself quickly and totally engrossed—and she knew why. She had a thing for performers. It probably had something to do with all of the performances Aunt Peg had taken her to as a kid.

Or singing, dancing, telling jokes. Flaunting themselves with no embarrassment. He jumped around the stage. He prowled through the audience. He owned the place. When it was all over, she picked up a program someone had left on the seat next to her and read it. Keith Dobson—director, writer, producer—also happened to play Jittery Grande. Keith Dobson was her artist.

And she had little burlap sacks to give to him. The next morning, as she made her way down the long linoleum hallway to the little ticket closet, Ginny realized that her shoes were squeaky.

Really squeaky. She stopped and looked down at her sneakers. There they were, white with pink stripes, poking out below the heavy olive drab of her cargo shorts. She remembered the exact sentence from the travel guide that had caused her to choose these shoes out of all possible shoes: Sneakers are universally acceptable, and white ones will keep you cool in the summer.

Hated it, and the person who wrote it. These shoes made her stand out—and not just because of the noise. White sneakers were the Official Shoe of Tourists. This was London, and the real Londoners wore skinny heels or Euroshoes in weird colors or coffee-colored leather boots. No one wore shorts either. Anyway squeak, squeak , what was she supposed to do? Well, she could, but then there was no way of making sure it would get to him. She would just download the tickets quickly and anonymously.

It was the best way. Tickets were eight pounds. Ginny quickly did the math in her head, then strode up to the window. The guy looked up from his copy of War and Peace.

He had come pretty far in one day, Ginny noticed. The Simpsons shirt was the same, though. Then he shut it decisively. It seemed to suddenly get very loud. In New Jersey? Five pounds each. Lots more. He was really pale.

She guessed that was what happened if you spent the summer in a basement, sitting in a closet next to a bucket. You can have the other twenty-two. Ginny thanked him and stepped over the bucket and counted out her tickets and remaining money. Seventy tickets. One hundred forty-two more pounds to benefact. Behind her, she heard a noise. The liberated ticket seller stepped out of his closet, nodded to her, and carried the cigar box of money down the hall, upstairs, and into the light of day.

She noticed that a hastily scrawled sign had appeared in the window. But now no one would see him perform, starting immediately.

She went into such a panic that she forgot where the tube stop was and circled the same block three times, and when she finally did find it, there was only one place she could think to go. Back to Harrods. Back to Richard. Back to the same chocolate counter in the food hall because at least she knew they had a phone and the guide there.

Richard dutifully came down and escorted her to the Krispy Kreme. Yes, Harrods had a Krispy Kreme. This store really did have it all. The Musical? It lacked the three-story-high billboards that sparkled and revolved and had gold fringe.

There were no massive, illuminated cups of ramen noodles, no skyscrapers. It was much more subdued, with only a few posters and signs marking out the territory. The theaters were stark, serious-looking places.

She immediately knew this was not going to work. For a start, she was American, and she looked like a tourist, and it kept starting to rain and then stopping. How was she supposed to show people what the show was, where it was, what it was about? And who was going to want to know about Starbucks: She stationed herself near a massive brick theater off Leister Square, right by a kiosk filled with theater information.

For the next hour or so, she just stood there, biting at her lower lip, clutching the tickets. She dragged herself back across town to Goldsmiths. He was black, with short dreadlocks and sleek rimless glasses. I have free tickets. A free one. Busy tonight. That was as close as she got to success. She sank down onto the bench at the bus stop and pulled out her notebook.

June 25 7: Dear Miriam, I have always been kind of proud that I have never lost it over a guy. I have never been one of those people who freaked out in the bathroom or did something lame like 1.

You were obsessed with Paul all last summer. I mean, I love you dearly, but you do. I am kind of sort of interested in someone who could never, ever like me. His name is Keith. He does not know me. Because he is 1. Den Waters. Made out with him exactly three times, all three of which he did the scary lizard-tongue thing and thanked me afterward.

Mike Riskus, who I obsessed over for two years and never even spoke to until right before Christmas last year. So, as you can see, my chances are incredibly good, given my wide appeal and experience. But you know that. Since two people had already downloadd tickets before Ginny got there and she had used one herself, this meant that absolutely no one she had given tickets to had come.

Her Japanese girls had let her down. The result of this was that the cast of Starbucks: The Musical outnumbered the audience, and Jittery seemed very aware of the fact. That might have been the reason he decided to skip intermission and keep right on going, eliminating any chance of letting his audience escape. He took the opportunity to dive into the seats and even to climb one of the fake palm trees that sat on the side of the room. At the end, as Ginny leapt up to make her escape, Jittery suddenly jumped down off the stage as she was reaching down to get her bag.

He dropped into the empty seat next to her. She never thought that was literal. Well, she was wrong. You could lose the ability to speak. She felt it right at the top of her throat—a little tug, like the closing of a drawstring bag.

Again, nothing. He folded his arms over his chest, looking like he was prepared to wait forever for an explanation. Speak, dammit! He shook his head and ran his hand over his hair until it stuck up in high, staticky strands. Her name. She could handle that. Why had she given two? A nod. She was named after her grandmother.

But now that she thought of it, it was technically true. She was named after a state. She had the most ridiculously American name ever. He pulled a tattered canvas bag from behind it. Well, then. This is England. We go to pubs. The kilt he left on. You want to go, yes? The night had become misty. The glowing yellow orbs of the crossing lights and the car headlights cut strange patterns through the fog. Keith walked briskly, his hands buried in his pockets.

He occasionally glanced over his shoulder to make sure Ginny was still with him. She was just a pace or two behind. Girls can walk beside men, go to school, everything.

There were so many pubs. They were everywhere. Pretty pubs painted in bright colors with carefully made wooden signs. Keith walked past all these to a shabbier-looking place where people stood out on the sidewalk with big pints of beer. Discounts for students. Just act like you belong and no one will say a word. Come on. There was a solid wall of people guarding it and a haze of smoke hanging over it, as if it had its very own weather.

You try to find somewhere to stand. Ginny squeezed in between a clump of guys in brightly colored soccer 74 shirts who were standing along a little ledge. They kept punching one another. Ginny backed as far into the wall as she could go, but she was sure they would still manage to hit her. There was nowhere else to stand, though.

She pressed herself in close and examined the sticky rings on the wood shelf and the ashy remnants in the ashtrays. An old Spice Girls song started playing, and the hitting guys began to do a hit dance that brought them even closer to Ginny. Keith found her there a few minutes later. He carried a pint glass full of a very dark liquid that was coughing up tiny brasscolored bubbles. There was a thin layer of cloudy foam on top. He passed her the glass. It was heavy. She had a brief flash of the thick, warm Ribena and shuddered.

For himself, Keith had gotten a Coke. He glanced behind him and placed himself between the dancing guys and Ginny. The government issued me a special card. His eyes were very green, with a kind of gold starburst at the center that was just a little off-putting and intense. The Tower? Ginny had never tasted tree bark, but this was what she imagined it would be like if you ran it through a juicer.

His career began with crawling over the fence to the garden of the local pub and begging for drinks or telling jokes for them. Then he figured out how to lock himself into his local at night by hiding in an under-used cupboard and get enough alcohol for himself and his friends. The owners got so sick of being robbed that they gave up and hired him under the table. There followed a few years of breaking things for no reason and setting the occasional small fire.

He decided to try stealing. At first, he stole little 76 things—candy bars, newspapers. He moved up to small appliances and electronics.