The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants by Ann Brashares
Delacorte Press, 2001, 294 pages
Trigger Warnings: Divorce, death of a loved one, sexual references, moderately strong language, terminal illness
About the Author: “Ann Brashares is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants series, The Here and Now, 3 Willows, The Last Summer (of You and Me), and My Name Is Memory. She lives in New York City with her family.” (Bio taken from the author’s website.)
For best friends Carmen, Lena, Tibby, and Bridget, this will be the first summer that they’ve ever spent apart. Lena’s heading to Greece, Carmen to South Caroline, Bridget to Mexico, and Tibby to her new job at the drugstore down the street. In an effort to stay connected despite the distance, the girls decide to mail a (mostly) ordinary pair of pants to each other throughout the summer so they can all share their experiences in the pants when they return home. The catch? The pants have the magical ability to make whoever is wearing them look super good…and somehow to inspire the girls to have adventures both good and bad while wearing them. Four different girls, four different places, four different plotlines…and one extremely memorable summer.
This is my first read of this popular book, and I can honestly say that I enjoyed it. Each girl’s character and plotline was so distinct that it was fun to jump between them and check in on the adventures they were having. Friendship is the shining element of this book, both the strong, long-time friendships between the four girls and the new friendships they make. However, times have changed since it was first published in 2001, and this book made me realize exactly how much. All of the relationships were automatically assumed to be heterosexual, and there was a noticeable lack of racial and class diversity. The switch between first-person for the prologue and epilogue then third-person for the main part of the book created confusion and disrupted the cohesion of the rest of the novel, but despite these flaws, I did enjoy the story. With a fast pace and strong characters, it was a quick and fun read. Those looking for a heart-warming coming-of-age summer novel will enjoy this well-loved book.
PRR Writer, Wendy Waltrip