I have many favorite authors and hope to share them with you throughout the lifetime of this blog. Today I want to feature Maureen Johnson. She is the author of nine YA novels and a contributor/co-author of two more YA novels. Prolific, yes? I’ve never met her, alas, but I have been a fan of hers for many, many years.
I first discovered her when I read Bermudez Triangle, which I remember enjoying, enough to search out other books by her. That’s when i came across The Key to the Golden Firebird.
This book remains one of my favorites of all time and I reread it every other year or so. What It’s About: May always felt like an outsider to her baseball-loving family – particularly her dad, and her two sisters, Brooks and Palmer. When her father suddenly dies of a heart attack, she feels even more adrift. Her mother works night shift, Brooks quits baseball and starts drinking, and Palmer retreats into herself. And suddenly her nemsis and long-time family friend Pete Camp offers to give her driving lessons and they actually get along. May is confused by her feelings for him and further confused by her jealousy when he starts dating her co-worker. Slowly things heat up, Brooks and Palmer and May all heading for self-destruction in their unique ways.
Then, I read another book by Maureen Johnson and loved it equally – 13 Little Blue Envelopes.
I’ve recommended this book to many friends, including my sister, but just recently reread it again earlier this year. Wow! Still love it! What It’s About: When Ginny receives a package from her deceased beloved aunt with 13 little blue envelopes, she embarks on a mysterious scavenger type trip that takes her from her home in New Jersey, to New York, London, Scotland, and many more places. Ginny always believed that exciting things only happened when she was with her aunt, but exciting things were definitely happening to her as she travels alone. During her travels, Ginny makes discoveries about her aunt and about herself.
So I was thrilled earlier this year to learn that she had written a sequel! (So many years later!) I read The Last Little Blue Envelope the day it came out!
What It’s About: Ginny is back home in New Jersey, post-European summer adventure following the directions from her beloved, deceased aunt in 13 blue envelopes. Except that last blue envelope was stolen in Greece. Even so, Ginny had a grand adventure traveling alone and meeting Keith, and discovering she has an uncle in London. She’s preparing for college – struggling to write her essay – when out of the blue, she receives a mysterious email from an Oliver who claims to have her backpack, and the letters. Except there’s a catch – he wants a finder’s fee in the form of half the sale from the proceeds from the very last piece of art Gin’s aunt left – in three pieces, scattered throughout Europe. And Ginny is off again, on another grand adventure.
I’ve read and enjoyed most of this author’s books, but most recently I read The Name of the Star.
Woo Boy! This story was unlike any I’ve read by her, but still contained the things I love most about Maureen Johnson’s stories – great characters I fall in love with immediately, gripping story with strong emotions, and a good romance. I don’t want to say too much about this book (available in stores now) because I don’t want to ruin any elements of surprise. What It’s About: When Rory’s parents take a sabbatical to teach in England, Rory leaves behind her small bayou town in Louisiana and attends a boarding school in London. Just as she starts her first day, Jack the Ripper copycat murders start taking place right near her school. Rory makes quick friends with her roommate Jaz and her group of friends, including the cute but shy Jerome, who is rather obsessed with the murders. And that’s all I’m going to say! Oh, and that I wasn’t able to read this book at night alone. I’m hooked though and am already impatient for what I hope will be book two in this series!