No, it's not a travel guide-- even better. 13 Little Blue Envelopes tells the story of 17-year-old Ginny, and how a letter from her favorite aunt (who died three months ago) sends her on a whirlwind quest for self-discovery across Europe. Here's my Goodreads review:
Such a fun read. Virginia's "runaway aunt"-- her mom's younger sister, a flighty, creative artist-- left for Europe several years ago without telling the rest of her family, and they learned a few months ago that she had died over there after a bout with a long illness. But now Virginia has received a letter from her aunt, charging her with setting off on an adventure that will follow in Aunt Peg's footsteps. Before her death, Aunt Peg arranged everything, and Ginny can't take money or a cell phone or anything outside of what will fit in one backpack. First stop-- a Chinese restaurant in New York City, where she picks up a package that consists of 13 numbered envelopes. After she has followed the instructions in one letter, she may open the next. Ginny's adventure leads her first to London, where she meets Aunt Peg's friend Richard, and then to Scotland, Rome, Paris, the Netherlands, Copenhagen, and the Greek islands. Along the way, she slowly becomes aware of how much she is capable of, even after her backpack (and the 13th unread letter) is stolen in the Greek isles. A touch of romance adds to the story but does not overwhelm it. Readers who dream of their own European adventure will love rooting for Ginny and watching her grow during her journey.