Nothing quite says summer to me like The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants. Except 100 degree temperatures, I guess.
I read this book for the first time the summer before high school, I think. A friend of mine and her mom were reading it together and they loved it, so I went to the bookstore and bought it. I suppose that in high school I probably re-read this series every summer. Each year the number of books to read got a little larger.
The funny thing about this book is that even though I really like it, and even though it’s really good, I can never seem to remember what happens! So every re-read was like reading it for the first time. Maybe that’s why it makes me feel so nostalgic.
Even though this series is a little old and a little out of date (no cell phones!) I would highly recommend it for a 15- or 16-year-old’s summer reading list.
What You Need to Know
Told from the POV of four best friends.
Somehow, yes, they are four best friends. Not like, Tibby and Carmen are bfs and Lena and Bee are bfs and they all hang out together. No. They are ALL best friends.
It is their first summer to be going different places. Lena is going to Greece to see her family, Bee is going to soccer camp, Carmen is visiting her dad, and Tibby is stuck at home. So the POVs switch between the four girls as we learn about their summers. Connecting them all is a magical pair of pants that fits everyone, and they fed-ex the pants to each other every two weeks or something.
Sometimes POV switches can be aggravating, but for me this really worked. Since they were all in different places doing completely different things, it didn’t seem redundant or obnoxious. But you definitely look forward to reading about your favorite characters the most. I wouldn’t blame anyone for skimming/skipping Carmen’s chapters…
Four book series with some companions
As with many series, I like the first book the best and feel that the others kind of get worse as they go. But I read them all anyway. It’s really interesting to find out what happens to the characters and how they grow, even if I find their growth kind of unrealistic.
A few years ago the author, Ann Brashares, released a fifth book about the girls now that they’re grown up. Sisterhood Everlasting. They miss each other and have a reunion. Haven’t read it, can’t say how it is.
The first book is very PG.
There are some mentions of sex and alcohol, but all very vaguely. However, as the books go on and the girls get more mature, so does the content.
It touches on real issues teens might have.
Carmen is dealing with a new step-family and feeling that her dad has replaced her a little. In addition, she struggles with being Hispanic and feeling that, even though she is proud of her heritage, others may be ashamed of it.
Bee struggles with high-functioning depression, triggered by her mother’s death a few years back. However, as the book goes on (and in subsequent books) it crashes into true, deep depression, and all functionality leaves her.
Tibby meets and makes friends with a little girl with leukemia. She struggles to learn how to accept and deal with her grief.
These are issues that real girls deal with. In my opinion they are (mostly) well handled, and have been helpful for me to understand other people and how they might be feeling. I imagine they would also be helpful if you were dealing with those things.
The movie was … okay.
A just adore Blake Lively and everything she does, and she and the director/writers handled Bee and her story so well. But the rest of the movie just kind of falls flat for me. The girls lack any emotional depth, and they change the story a lot, etc. Fun for a girls night, maybe.