February 2005

A return trip with the traveling pants

By Ann Brashares
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Ann Brashares does it again. In her third book chronicling four adolescent girls and one pair of lucky pants they all share, Brashares taps into the teenage girl psyche with remarkable insight.

Brashares launched the Sisterhood phenomenon in 2001 with The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants, a coming-of-age story that featured four girls and a favorite pair of thrift-store jeans. The book became a bestseller that spawned a sequel (The Second Summer of the Sisterhood) and a movie to be released this summer by Warner Bros.

In her newest title, Girls in Pants: The Third Summer of the Sisterhood, Brashares again takes us into the hearts and minds of four teenage girlfriends, Tibby, Carmen, Lena and Bridget, whose mothers met at a prenatal aerobics class. This year, we find the girls facing what might be their last summer together as they prepare to head off to college. With love, sex and the fear of change on their minds, the four best friends share laughter, tears and life-changing moments as they help each other deal with the issues at hand. Whereas in Brashares’ two previous books, a pair of “traveling pants” played a major role in the stories, here Brashares focuses on the role of the sisterhood in helping the girls overcome their challenges.

Brashares’ easy writing style helps the reader understand the familiar problems each girl encounters. From experiencing true love for the first time, to accepting things beyond one’s control, to creating a new role in one’s own family, the girls deal with obstacles beyond their initial comprehension. And although they are fearful during the process, each of the “sisters” teaches us that as long as we are true to ourselves, whatever we decide will somehow work out perhaps not the way we have planned it, but it will work out nonetheless. With such candid treatment of important coming-of-age issues, it’s no wonder that Brashares’ books are so popular among the teen and pre-teen crowds. Where else can a girl find not one, but four best friends who truly understand her point of view? Heidi Henneman writes from New York City.

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Girls in Pants

Girls in Pants

By Ann Brashares
ISBN 9780385729352

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