I was fourteen when Ann Brashares wrote The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants. I remember checking the book out from the teen area at central library and laughing to myself about the name. “How corny!” I thought to myself. But, I read the book anyways…and I loved it! I was the perfect demographic for this series. The girls in the sisterhood were exactly the same age as me and I related to both their joys and their tribulations. My sisters and I gobbled up all the books in the series like they were candy, even purchasing some of the later books because we just couldn’t wait until our name came up on the hold list. We wanted to read the books so badly!
What was it about these books that made them so enjoyable to read if you were a teenage girl? I realize now why they were so relatable. No matter what your personality was, you could relate to at least one of the girls in the book. The story is about four girls whose mothers met in a prenatal aerobics class. The mothers became friends and gave birth to four babies girls within weeks of each other. They brought the girls up together and they became almost inseparable. You realize in reading the book, though, that even with this long standing friendship the girls are very different in appearance, interests, and personalities. Carmen is more sensitive and still coping with the divorce of her parents. She is a writer and an actress. Tibby is spunky and rebellious and seems to analyze every situation somewhat pessimistically. Bridget is the star athlete who is flighty and unpredictable. She suffered a great loss losing her mother at a young age and is deeply scarred from this. Last is Lena, the character I always related to best. She is quiet and shy, her introverted nature debilitating at many times. Her family is Greek and she travels back to Greece for the summer in the first book. She begins to better understand her background as well as meets someone who will have an impact on the rest of her life. The girls have their positive attributes and weaknesses, their scars and successes. As a reader, you can always relate to one or more of the characters and the experiences they have had.
You can imagine I was pretty excited when I recently discovered Ann Brashares had just come out with a sisterhood book, Sisterhood Everlasting. The setting is ten years after the final book of the series, meaning the girls are now twenty-nine. Carmen is an actress living in New York City engaged to be married to a prestigious producer. Bridget lives in San Francisco and is constantly moving in search of the sunniest apartment for her house plants to flourish. Lena has her masters and is an artist and a teacher. Tibby has moved to Australia with her long-time boyfriend Brian and has fallen out of touch with the other girls. Tibby plans a reunion for the four girls and they excitedly wait in anticipation for the moment they will all finally be back together. It is not meant to be, though, and tragedy strikes the sisterhood. Even twenty pages after reading what had happened, I still refused to believe it was true! The rest of the book outlines the way the girls cope (or fail to cope) with their loss.
There are new characters in this book as well as many familiar characters. Just as I connected with the characters in the earlier books of the series as teenagers, I found I could relate to the experiences and emotions of the characters now as adults. I felt joy and sadness reading the book and often found myself laughing out loud. It turned out to be the perfect type of read for the summer and brought me back to remember the old books I so enjoyed. If you read the sisterhood books of the past, you’ll find this book very enjoyable. (If you are in this category, I have a teaser for you…Kostas is back!) If you haven’t read them, give them a try. Especially if you are a teenager, I highly recommend this series as it is very enjoyable!