Sunday, April 3, 2011

The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants

Brashares, A. (2001). The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants. New York, NY: Delacorte Press.

Plot Summary:
As summer approaches, best friends Tibby, Lena, Bridget, and Carmen are soon to be separated by their summer plans. As they sit around Carmen's room watching her pack they discover a pair of jeans Carmen bought at a thrift store. As each differently shaped girl tries on the jeans, they discover that they have some mystical power to look incredible on each of them. It is there that a plan forms to share the pants during the summer and create a sisterhood of the traveling pants. As each girl wears the pants she gains the confidence to act on her life and make changes. Each girl gains insight and wisdom from her summer adventure. Tibby stays behind working a summer job and befriending the wise beyond her years Bailey, who is battling leukemia. Carmen travels to spend the summer with her father, only to find out that he has a new family she was not aware of. Lena spends the summer in Greece with her sister and grandparents reluctantly falling in love with Costos. Bridget goes to soccer camp in Mexico, brazenly throwing herself at one of the coaches and crumbling once her desire has been met. Each girl encounters obstacles, tackles them and overcomes them with the help of their friendship and the traveling pants.

This is a great read, both fast and engaging. The book jumps back and forth between the summer of each girl, leaving off at exciting parts in each story, which makes it a difficult book to put down. Each character encounters new experiences during the summer which test the limits of their strength and makes them depend on themselves and their friendship with each other. The book explores some hefty subjects such as cancer, suicide, and losing one's virginity, but does so with a mix of emotions and perspectives. Despite the heavy subjects, there is also quite a bit of humor and romance that carry the book along. The range of character types among the girls will appeal to young girl readers, each identifying with a different character.


Reading Level:
Ages: 10 - 13

self-identity, friendship, cancer, suicide, sex, romance

Series Information:
This is the first book of the The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants series.

Character Names/Descriptions:
Tibby Rollins: 15 years-old; stays at home during the summer to work at Wallman's; befriends Bailey who helps Tibby to make a movie;
Lena Kaligaris: 15 years-old; goes to Greece for the summer with her sister to visit their grandparents; falls in love with Costos after an awkward encounter
Bridget Vreeland: 15 years-old; goes to a soccer camp in Baja Mexico for the summer; has a relationship with Eric a camp counselor; goes into a depression after losing her virginity to Eric; mother killed herself after suffering from manic depression
Carmen Lowell: 15 years-old; goes to South Carolina to visit her father for the summer only to find out that he is engaged and living with his fiance and her two teenage children
Bailey: 12 year-old girl who befriends Tibby; has leukemia
Costos: young Greek friend of Lena's grandparents; has a relationship with Lena
Eric: older counselor at Bridget's soccer camp; has sex with Bridget

Four best friends are separated for the summer, but kept in touch through the sharing of a pair of magical pants that give them each the confidence to overcome obstacles they each encounter.

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