Forever in Blue: The Fourth Summer of the Sisterhoodby Ann Brashares
“Genuinely moving," declared Entertainment Weekly of the fourth and final novel in the #1 New York Times bestselling Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants series by Ann Brashares, author of The Here and Now.
With unraveled embroidery and fraying hems, the Traveling Pants are back for one last, glorious summer. It’s a summer/i>/i>/i>
“Genuinely moving," declared Entertainment Weekly of the fourth and final novel in the #1 New York Times bestselling Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants series by Ann Brashares, author of The Here and Now.
With unraveled embroidery and fraying hems, the Traveling Pants are back for one last, glorious summer. It’s a summer that will forever change the lives of Lena, Bridget, Tibby, and Carmen, here and now, past and future, together and apart.
“A strong, satisfying conclusion.” —Booklist
“An ode to love and friendship.” —Kirkus Reviews
“A great read.” —Daily News (New York)
Pants = love. Love your pals. Love yourself.
In their latest episode, Bridget goes to Turkey on an archaeological excavation and Lena takes a painting class in Providence. Tibby stays in New York to take classes, and Carmen attends a theater festival in Vermont to work as backstage crew. There are new love interests, loss of virginity, and breakups and makeups. The themes are familiar, but fans who already identify with the characters will want to read more about their latest exploits. The pants pay a more prominent role than they did in the third book and a significant event takes place as each teen receives them. The possibilities and impossibilities of love are explored as Bridget is attracted to the married leader of the excavation team and Tibby fears she is pregnant. When Carmen auditions and lands a major role in the theater production, she worries that she cannot handle the part. Although squeamish at first, Lena becomes attracted to a fellow art student when they agree to pose in the nude for each other on weekends. Although the ending is a bit unrealistic, fans will surely suspend judgment as they delight in the story. The quotes from famous people that open each chapter are the most profound words in the book, but young romance readers and those wanting light fare will not be disappointed.
Linda L. PlevakCopyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Read an Excerpt
Once upon a time there were four girls. Young women, you might even say. And though their lives traveled in different directions, they loved each other very much.
Once upon a time before that, these same girls found a pair of pants, wise and magical, and named them the Traveling Pants.
The Pants had the magic of teaching these girls how to be apart. They taught them how to be four people instead of one person. How to be together no matter where they were. How to love themselves as much as they loved each other. And on a practical level, the Pants had the magic of fitting all four of them, which is hard to believe but true, especially considering only one of them (the blonde) was built like a supermodel.
Okay. Full disclosure. I am one of these girls. I wear these Pants. I have these friends. I know this magic.
I am in fact the blonde, though I was kidding about the supermodel part.
But anyway, as it happens with most kinds of magic, these Pants did their job a little too well. And the girls, being extraordinary girls (if you don’t mind my saying so), learned their lesson a little too well.
And so when the girls’ lives changed that final summer, the Pants, being wise, had to change too.
And that is how this tale of sisterhood began, but did not end.
Gilda’s was the same. It always was. And what a relief too, Lena found herself thinking. Good thing you could count on human vanity and the onward march of fitness crazes requiring mats and mirrors.
Not much else was the same. Things were different, things were missing.
Carmen, for instance, was missing.
“I can’t really see how we can do this without Carmen,” Tibby said. As was the custom, she’d brought her video camera for posterity, but she hadn’t turned it on. Nobody was quite sure about when posterity started, or if maybe it already had.
“So maybe we shouldn’t try,” Bee said. “Maybe we should wait until we can do it together.”
Lena had brought the candles, but she hadn’t lit them. Tibby had brought the ceremonial bad eighties aerobics music, but she hadn’t put it on. Bee had gamely set out the bowls of Gummi Worms and Cheetos, but nobody was eating them.
“When’s that going to be?” Tibby asked. “Seriously, I think we’ve been trying to get together since last September and I don’t think it has happened once.”
“What about Thanksgiving?” Lena asked.
“Remember I had to go to Cincinnati for Great-grandma Felicia’s hundredth birthday?” Tibby said.
“Oh, yeah. And she had a stroke,” Bee said.
“That was after the party.”
“And Carmen went to Florida over Christmas,” Lena said. “And you two were in New York over New Year’s.”
“All right, so how about two weekends from now? Carmen will be back by then, won’t she?”
“Yeah, but my classes start on June twentieth.” Lena clasped her hands around her knees, her large feet bare on the sticky pine floor. “I can’t miss the first day of the pose or I’ll end up stuck in a corner or staring at the model’s kneecap for a month.”
“Okay, so July fourth,” Tibby said reasonably. “Nobody has school or anything that Friday. We could meet back here for a long weekend?”
Bee untied her shoe. “I fly to Istanbul on June twenty-fourth.”
“That soon? Can you go later?” Tibby asked.
Bridget’s face dimmed with regret. “The program put us all on this charter flight. Otherwise it’s an extra thousand bucks and you have to find your own way to the site.”
“How could Carmen miss this?” Tibby asked.
Lena knew what she meant. It wasn’t okay for any of them to miss this ritual, but especially not Carmen, to whom it had mattered so much.
Bee looked around. “Miss what, though?” she asked, not so much challenging as conciliating. “This isn’t really the launch, right?” She gestured to the Pants, folded obediently in the middle of their triangle. “I mean, not officially. We’ve been wearing them all school year. It’s not like the other summers, when this was the huge kickoff and everything.”
Lena wasn’t sure whether she felt comforted or antagonized by this statement.
“Maybe that’s true,” Tibby said. “Maybe we don’t need a launch this summer.”
“We should at least figure out the rotation tonight,” Lena said. “Carmen will just have to live with it.”
“Why don’t we keep up the same rotation we’ve had going till now?” Bridget suggested, straightening her legs in front of her. “No reason to change it just because it’s summer.”
Lena bit the skin around her thumbnail and considered the practical truth of this.
Summer used to be different. It was the time they left home, split up, lived separate lives for ten long weeks, and counted on the Pants to hold them together until they were reunited. Now summer was more of the same. Being apart wasn’t the exception, Lena recognized, it was the rule.
When will we all be home again? That was what she wanted to know.
But when she thought about it logically, she knew: It wasn’t just the answer that had changed, it was the question. What was home anymore? What counted as the status quo? Home was a time and it had passed.
Nobody was eating the Gummi Worms. Lena felt like she should eat one or cry. “So we’ll just keep up the rotation,” she echoed wanly. “I think I get them next.”
“I have it written down,” Tibby said.
Lena looked at her watch. “Should we just go?”
“I guess,” Tibby said.
“Do you want to stop at Tastee Diner on the way home?” Bridget asked.
“Yeah,” Tibby said, gathering the effects of a ritual that hadn’t quite happened. “Maybe we can see a late movie after. I can’t handle my parents tonight.”
“What time are you guys taking off tomorrow?” Bee asked.
“I think our train’s at ten,” Tibby said. Lena and Tibby were taking the train together: Tibby was getting off in New York to start film classes and her Movieworld job, and Lena was heading up to Providence to change dorm rooms for the summer. Bee was spending a few days at home before she left for Turkey.
Lena realized she didn’t want to go home just yet either. She picked up the Pants and cradled them briefly. She had a feeling she could not name exactly, but one she knew she had not had in relation to the Pants before. She had felt gratitude, admiration, trust. What she felt now still contained allthat , but tonight it was mixed in with a faint taste of desperation.
If we didn’t have them, I don’t know what we would do, she found herself thinking as Bee pulled the door of Gilda’s shut behind them and they walked slowly down the dark stairs.
“Carmen, it is beautiful. I can’t wait for you to see it.”
Carmen nodded into the receiver. Her mother sounded so happy that Carmen had to be happy. How could she not be happy?
“When do you think you’ll move in?” she asked, trying to keep her voice light.
“Well, we will need to do some work. Some plastering, painting, refinishing the floors. There’s some plumbing and electrical to do. Hopefully we can get most of it out of the way before we move in. I hope it will be by the end of August.”
“Wow. That soon.”
“Nena, it has five bedrooms. Is that unbelievable? It has a beautiful backyard for Ryan to run around in.”
Carmen thought of her tiny brother. He could barely walk yet, let alone run. He was going to grow up with such a different life than the one Carmen had.
“So no more apartment, huh?”
“No. It was a good place for the two of us, but didn’t we always want a house? Isn’t that what you always said you wanted?”
She’d also wanted a sibling and for her mother not to be alone. It wasn’t always easy getting what you wanted.
“I’ll have to pack up my room,” Carmen said.
“You’ll have a bigger room in the new house,” her mother rushed to say.
Yes, she would. But wasn’t it a bit late for that? For having a house with a yard and a bigger room? It was too late to redo her childhood. She had the one she had, and it had taken place in her small room in their apartment. It was sad and strange to lose it and too late to replace it.
Where did that leave her? Without her old life and not quite coming up with a new one. In between, floating, nowhere. That seemed all too fitting, in a way.
“Lena dropped by yesterday to say hi and see Ryan. She brought him a Frisbee,” her mother mentioned a little wistfully. “I wish you were home.”
“Yeah. But I’ve got all this stuff going on here.”
“I know, nena.”
After she hung up with her mother, the phone rang again.
“Carmen, where are you?”
Julia Wyman sounded annoyed. Carmen glanced behind her at her clock.
“We’re supposed to be doing a run-through on set in . . . now!”
“I’m coming,” Carmen said, pulling on her socks as she held the phone with her shoulder. “I’ll be right there.”
She hustled out of her dorm and to the theater. She remembered along the way that her hair was dirty and she’d meant to change her pants, because the ones she was wearing made her feel particularly fat. But did it matter? Nobody was looking at her.
Julia was waiting for her backstage. “Can you help me with this?” For her role in the production, Julia wore a long tweed skirt, and the waist was too big for her.
Carmen bent down to work on the safety pin. “How’s that?” she asked, pinning the waistband in the back.
“Better. Thanks. How does it look?”
Julia looked good in it. Julia looked good in most things, and she didn’t need Carmen to tell her so. But Carmen did anyway. In a strange way, it was Julia’s job to look good for both of them. It was Carmen’s job to appreciate her for it.
“I think Roland is waiting for you onstage.”
Carmen stepped onto the stage, but Roland didn’t appear to be waiting for her. He didn’t react in any way when he saw her. These days she felt her presence had the same effect as a ghost—nobody noticed her, but the air suddenly got cold. Carmen squinted and tried to make herself small. She did not like being onstage when the lights were on. “Did you need something?” she asked Roland.
“Oh, yeah.” He was trying to remember. “Can you fix the curtain in the parlor? It’s falling off.”
“Sure,” she said quickly, wondering if she should feel guilty. Was she the one who put it up last?
She positioned the ladder, climbed up three rungs, and aimed a staple gun at the plywood wall. Set building was strange in that it was always about the impression, made to be seen from particular angles and not made to last. It existed in space and time not as a thing, but as a trick.
She liked the chunk sound of the staple clawing into the wall. It was one of the things she’d learned at college: how to operate a staple gun. Her dad was paying a lot of money for that.
She’d learned other stuff too. How to gain seventeen pounds eating cafeteria food and chocolate at night when you felt lonely. How to be invisible to guys. How not to wake up for your nine o’clock psychology class. How to wear sweatshirts almost every day because you felt self-conscious about your body. How to elude the people you loved most in the world. How to be invisible to pretty much everyone, including yourself.
It was lucky she’d gotten to know Julia. Carmen was very fortunate, she knew. Because Julia was one of the most visible people on campus. They balanced each other out. Without Julia on the campus of Williams College, Carmen privately suspected she might disappear altogether.
For more of this excerpt go to www.SisterhoodCentral.com!
From the Hardcover edition.
Meet the Author
Ann Brashares is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Here and Now, the Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants series, 3 Willows, The Last Summer (of You & Me), and My Name Is Memory. She lives in New York City with her husband and their four children.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
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I have to say this book was amazing. The character's really seem to find themselves in this book. It is true the ending leaves something to be desired but overall it was a great read. My favorite story would have to be Bridget's. After losing her mother, and as a teenager reconnecting with her grandmother to find herself again in the previous books, in this book she learns it's okay to miss someone. Something that she's had to lock up for quite some time. She steps back and look at her family a relizes she has to do something about her brother who spends to much time in his room and her distracted father. Lena's tragic love story with her Greek ex-boyfriend, Kustos, alway's leaves me wondering what's going to happen next. The things the author comes up with are always surprising. It's a true romantic drama, full of twists, lies, promises, and the hard truth of love that is so strong but just not meant to be. Tibby has to find the love she feels for her once a nerd now a hunk boyfriend again. I was frustrated with her for breaking his heart and breaking up with him, but still dosn't feel happy. I got angry at her for telling Effie she was okay with her and Brian going out and then taking him back just because he wasn't available any more, but angry at her as I was I couldn't help but relate to her. Sometimes you have to lose something to realize how much you actually love it. And Carmen. Missing her friends she starts to lose the very essence of who she is. I think it's something a lot of people can relate to. Being in an unfamiliar place with unfamiliar faces, having your so called friend turn out to be a witch who's only happy when you fail. Well okay maybe that last part is to specific :) But the ending in my opinion is a little vague, but maybe that was the authors point. To leave it open for the reader to decide what next. If that were the case the possibilities are endless. It still amazes me that the base of the story is just four freinds with a pair of pants.
Loved it!!! Its one of those books that you can't help but feel like you are the people in the book. It was so good! "Forever In Blue" is the 4th book to the "Sisterhood" of the 4 sisters: Carmen, Lena, Tibby, and Bridget or "Bee" :). In this fourth book these sisters go through all the normal young adult ways. With the help of the Pants though of course. The sisters are confronted with problems and loneliness that with the help of the Pants (and some guys) they grow up together into the world of their magic. Read the first book "Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants" now!!!
I was sad and bittersweet to see the end of my friends. These books brought me entertainment, joy, and friendship. I really enjoy them and the movies as well.
The worst part of Forever Blue was the fact that it is the last book in the Sisterhood of The Traveling Pants series. Luckily, I discovered this series a couple of years after the series was published, so I was able to read all 4 books within a two month time period in quick succession. I can't imagine reading one and waiting several months to a year for the next one to be released! Forever Blue put some completion on the series, but left the readers hanging in some ways. Not too happy about the uncertainty of the pants in the ending, but I also believe it was appropriate in order to wrap up the series. This book changed my feelings about some of the characters. Carmen's growth from the third book was still being highlighted, and I liked her much more than I did in the first book. Bridget's journey into adulthood included playing with fire, but moving on with lessons learned. Tibby reverted back into a cranky child at times in the beginning, but evolved through a gratitude lesson by the end. It was fun to watch Lena follow her dreams. This book did enter the realm of sexuality in a way that the other books didn't. I figure that it is the natural evolution of things, as they were high school students in the other books, and this one is a college journey. I definately wouldn't let my 10 year old daughter read this one.
Good book i loved it . If you haven't already heard of it I recomend Sisterhood Everlasting.
i looooooooooooooooooooove the series of the Traveling Pants. I wish it didn't have to end. i like it alot. i reread it all the time.
In this beautifully written book, the author tells the begining to the end, and every other question is answered. The 4 girls grow from teens to be beautiful women. The sisterhood shared in reality, between all women, is related into the amazing book. The 4 girls stories intertwine beautifully and seem as though they are 1 person, each girl a different part of that person.
This book is THE perfect book for teens. It consists of an amazing fictional yet realistic story. Unlike most books, this one consists of the point of views of four people (Tibby, Bridget, Lena, and Carmen). I think that that is what makes the story so special and unique since you see the lives of four different people unfold and connect in the end. However, the switching of point of views confused me a bit in some chapters. Another unique item was the item that was used as a connection between the four best friends; unlike cliché necklaces where parts of “Best friends” is broken into pieces and distributed among the group of best friends, Ann Brashares uses pants as the connection instead. In a way, I think that the idea of using the “Traveling Pants” as the connection is brilliant since it holds traces of all the places the four have been to. However, also in a way, it’s kind of unaesthetic since these pants have been worn by all four girls for years with traces of all the places they have been to without being washed once. Beside my minor concerns, all four had to face difficult problems and had to learn how to grow up. The story takes you along with it so that it feels like you’re in the story. Tibby’s love to Brian faltered suddenly and she had to find that love again. I was kind of frustrated at Tibby for treating Brian so rudely. Bridget lived in a family where her brother and father have been secluded emotionally ever since her mother died. She learns that it is okay to miss someone and takes on a huge role by stepping up in the family to bring them back to the happy way they were before. I think that the situation that Bridget was in was very relatable and Bridget can be looked up to by the way she dealt with the problem. Lena has a typical relationship drama where she has to learn how to let go of an ex-boyfriend. My favorite point-of-view was Carmen’s. She had a problem of losing the essence of who she was since she missed her other 3 best friends. This is a problem where, again, many people can relate to. She learns how to step out of the walls she has built around herself and to become independent. There were also a few messages in the book; the four best friends, Tibby, Bridget, Lena, and Carmen, had to each grow up and step out of their shells to face the problems that they had. Also, near the end of the book, they lose the Traveling Pants. However, they learn that a pair of pants isn’t what their friendship depends on so they don’t let it affect their friendship. All in all, I highly recommend this book; it teaches the reader (especially teens) about relatable first world problems and how to cope and grow from these problems in a fun, teenage-like storytelling way. This book is a must read from me.
Very good no really fantastic i feel bad for Tibby though
So confused. What happened to carmen and win i lovvvveeddd them they were my favorite!!!!!"!:0
Anne said on the today show a couple of days ago that she is going to write more books! Remeber pants=love ~ Elizabeth B.
What happened withh Kostos...... I haven't read the book yet...
At this point, i know Kostos is trying to prove his love to Lena. It has gone far enough that we know he is sorry. We get it. I loved these books so much and i felt like I could connect with all of the girls (Tibby Bridget Lena Carmen) and especially Tibby. I think we have heard enough out of Kostos that he is sorry! He is just making Lena feel worse! Overall, this series is wonderful, and anyone 12+ should read it. Highly reccomended. <3 ya Anne!
I love all the books. They all show how life can really be for some people. Best books ever!
I LOVE THIS BOOK !
Who doesnt like the series, it is AMAZING!!!!