The Barnes & Noble Review
Since publication of The Second Summer of the Sisterhood in 2003, readers have waited with bated breath for the third uplifting installment of Ann Brashares' blockbuster series. At last, the Traveling Pants are back! Filled with changes, surprises, and -- of course -- friendship, this appealing page-turner follows the four friends through the last eventful summer before they head off to college. Beginning with the ceremonial unfolding-of-the-Pants, Brashares dives headfirst into the complicated lives of the four girls: Carmen, who is now taking care of Lena's grandmother and dealing with a new development at home; Lena, whose plans for art school might be thwarted by her father; Bridget, who finds an unexpected surprise at the soccer camp where she is working; and insecure Tibby, who discovers in herself untapped reserves of strength. In this touching and heartfelt story, Brashares sends her likable characters off in several directions; but, as always, she ultimately brings them together in an affirmation of friendship. And, while it remains to be seen what further adventures await the girls as they leave for their different schools, one thing is sure: Fans of the Traveling Pants will continue to savor every twist and turn in this inspiring series. Shana Taylor
The four lifelong friends are back as they face their last summer together before college. "The girls' genuine love and tenderness will win readers over and make them envious of the friends' strong bond," said PW. Ages 12-up. (July) Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Billed as the YA Ya-Ya sisters this series has many devoted fans who will have to have the third installment to find out what is going on with their favorite heroines as the four faithful friends get ready for college. Bridget's off at soccer camp co-coaching with her past love, Brian, and she is thinking more about him than college. Artistic Lena's father has caught her drawing a nude model and has decided an art education is not the thing for her . . . so she has to figure out how to get herself funded at the Rhode Island School of Design. Carmen is concerned about going all the way to Williams College when her mother and new husband are having a baby . . . does she really want to leave a hole that's so easily filled, or maybe she'd go to a local school? Tibby begins her summer by finally accepting Brian's physical attentions . . . but now what? This is the last summer before they will take off in different directions. As usual this is fast-paced, addictive reading. 2005, Delacorte, Ages 11 up.
Lena, Carmen, Tibby, and Bridget spend the summer before college tackling their greatest challenge to date: moving forward and apart while maintaining the friendship that has been central to their identities. Carmen seethes with prenatal sibling rivalry and even considers abandoning Williams College for the University of Maryland to shore up her position at home. Lena searches for a way to attend Rhode Island School of Design after her increasingly conservative father declares that he will not pay for such a frivolous education. Bridget, now a soccer camp counselor, forces herself to face her past with Eric before she heads off to Brown, while NYU-bound Tibby struggles with her deep fear of change-in her family relationships and in her fledgling romance with Brian. As with the previous two Sisterhood books, this story is primarily about relationships, and Brashares's laser-like focus yields a satisfying emotional payoff. The girls have matured enough to work through the realistic, heady mixture of discomfort, joy, and anticipation that defines the in-between state of their lives. Between schools, between homes, and between romances, they are primed to tackle the likely problem of the series' next title: Will the power of the Sisterhood sustain them through a year of new friendships and independent experiences? Brashares cannot quite balance four narratives and juggle a host of secondary characters-love interests Eric and Win emerge as three-dimensional characters, Kostos appears only in Lena's daydreams, and Brian is largely a wordless cipher-but this minor flaw is unlikely to deter series fans. VOYA CODES: 3Q 4P J S (Readable without serious defects; Broad general YA appeal; JuniorHigh, defined as grades 7 to 9; Senior High, defined as grades 10 to 12). 2005, Random House, 352p., and PLB Ages 12 to 18.
Fans of this delightful series of books will eagerly grab this third part. (It has been announced that a movie will be made of this series and released in the summer of 2005, which will only encourage more readership.) To recap: it concerns four friends, four families, linked by a lifetime of memories and also by a magical pair of pants that brings out the best in the girl wearing them. This third summer of the sisterhood is the summer after graduation, before the friendsTibby, Bee, Lena and Carmenseparate and go to college, so there is a bittersweet quality to the story. Each girl is a thoughtful, articulate, attractive person with her own set of talents and interests; connecting them all is the friendship they treasure. They may get their feelings hurt, they may stagger around in despair, they may be confused, they may be celebrating and happythey are absolutely believable characters. As they pursue their activities this third summer, they frequently are in touch with one another, which is how the reader finds out what's going on in each life. It's best to start with the first book, but each book is equally enjoyable. KLIATT Codes: JS*Exceptional book, recommended for junior and senior high school students. 2005, Random House, Delacorte, 338p., Ages 12 to 18.
KLIATT - Claire Rosser
To quote the review of the hardcover in KLIATT, January 2005: Fans of this delightful series of books will eagerly grab this third part. To recap: it concerns four friends, four families, linked by a lifetime of memories and also by a magical pair of pants that brings out the best in the girl wearing them. This third summer of the sisterhood is the summer after graduation, before the friendsTibby, Bee, Lena and Carmenseparate and go to college, so there is a bittersweet quality to the story. Each girl is a thoughtful, articulate, attractive person with her own set of talents and interests; connecting them all is the friendship they treasure. They may get their feelings hurt, they may stagger around in despair, they may be confused, they may be celebrating and happythey are absolutely believable characters. As they pursue their activities this third summer, they frequently are in touch with one another, which is how the reader finds out what's going on in each life. It's best to start with the first book, but each book is equally enjoyable.
Tilly, Carmen, Lena and Bee are graduating from high school and heading to college-Brown, RISD, NYU, and Williams. In the summer before college, before getting on with "their real lives," the girls have the Pants to keep them connected as they go their separate ways. Brashares provides a prologue for those new to the saga, explaining the sisterhood and the magical powers of the Pants they share-one at a time, of course-during the summer. The Pants offer a kind of spiritual link between the girls, providing love, security and connectedness as they face various dramas with boys, parents, new siblings and uncertain futures. The theme of this volume is change, as the girls understand they are leaving one life behind, but in one way or another, each realizes that leaving home doesn't mean giving up home or friends. Four intersecting story lines, snappy dialogue, empathy for characters and humor make this installment as enjoyable as the others. Legions of fans will enjoy spending another summer with the girls. (Fiction. 12+)
From the Publisher
"Readers of the other books won't be disappointed." - Booklist, Starred
"Filled with conversations, action, & life." - Kliatt, Starred
"The girls are once again wonderfully drawn, with all their realistic faults." - Publishers Weekly
"The Pants set will bruise their fingertips on this page-turner." - The Bulletin, Recommended
Read an Excerpt
Granted, Tibby was in a mood. All she could see was change. All anybody talked about was change. She didn’t like Bee’s wearing heels for the second day in a row. She felt peevish about Lena’s getting three inches trimmed off her hair. Couldn’t everybody just leave everything alone for a few minutes?
Tibby was a slow adjuster. In preschool, her teachers had said she had trouble with transitions. Tibby preferred looking backward for information rather than forward. As far as she was concerned, she’d take a nursery school report card over a fortune-teller any day of the week. It was the cheapest and best self-analysis around.
Tibby saw Gilda’s through these same eyes. It was changing. Its glory days of the late nineteen eighties were far behind it. It was showing its age. The once-shiny wood floor was scratched and dull. One of the mirror panels was cracked. The mats looked as old as Tibby, and they’d been cleaned much less. Gilda’s was trying to get with the times, offering kickboxing and yoga, according to the big chalkboard, but it didn’t look to Tibby like that was helping much. What if it went out of business? What a horrible thought. Maybe Tibby should buy a subscription of classes here? No, that would be weird, wouldn’t it?
“Tibby, you ready?” Lena was looking at her with concerned eyebrows.
“What if Gilda’s closes?” Tibby opened her mouth, and that was what came out.
Carmen, holding the Traveling Pants, Lena, lighting the candles, Bee, fussing with the dimmer switches near the door, all turned to her.
“Look at this place.” Tibby gestured around. “I mean, who comes here?”
Lena was puzzled. “I don’t know. Somebody. Women. Yoga people.”
“Yoga people?” Carmen asked.
“I don’t know,” Lena said again, laughing.
Tibby was the one most capable of emotional detachment, but tonight it all lay right on the surface. Her irrational thoughts about Gilda’s made her feel desperate, like its demise could swallow up their whole existence—like a change in the present could wipe out the past. The past felt fragile to her. But the past was set, right? It couldn’t be changed. Why did she feel such a need to protect it?
“I think it’s Pants time,” Carmen said. The snacks were out. The candles were lit. The egregiously bad dance music played.
Tibby wasn’t sure she wanted it to be Pants time yet. She was having enough trouble maintaining control. She was scared of them noticing what all this meant.
Too late. Out of Carmen’s arms came the artifacts of their ritual. The Pants, slowly unfolding from their winter compression, seeming to gain strength as they mixed with the special air of Gilda’s. Carmen laid them on the ground, and on top of them the manifesto, written on that first night two years before, describing the rules of wearing them. Silently they formed their circle, studying the inscriptions and embroidery that chronicled their summer lives.
“Tonight we say good-bye to high school, and bye to Bee for a while,” Carmen said in her ceremonial voice. “We say hello to summer, and hello to the Traveling Pants.”
Her voice grew less ceremonial. “Tonight we are not worrying about good-bye to each other. We’re saving that for the beach at the end of the summer. That’s the deal, right?”
Tibby felt like kissing Carmen. Brave as she was, even Carmen was daunted by the implications of looking ahead.
“That’s the deal,” Tibby agreed heartily.
The last weekend of the summer had already become sacred in their minds. Sacred and feared. The Morgans owned a house right on the beach in Rehoboth. They had offered it to Carmen for that final weekend, in part, Carmen suspected, because they had gotten an au pair from Denmark and felt guilty about not hiring Carmen to babysit this summer as she had done the summer before.
The four of them had promised each other in the spring that it would be their weekend. The four of them and nobody else. They all depended upon it. The future was unfurling fast, but whatever happened this summer, that weekend stood between them and the great unknown.
They all looked ahead to college in different ways, Tibby knew. They all had different amounts to lose. Bee, in her lonely house, had nothing. Carmen did; she dreaded saying good-bye to her mother. Tibby feared leaving the familiarity of her chaos. Lena flipped and flopped—one day she was afraid to cut ties, and the next she was dying to get away.
The thing they feared equally and powerfully was saying good-bye to one another.
After drawing for the Pants (Tibby won), reviewing the rules (unnecessary, but still part of tradition), and taking a brief hiatus to chew down some Gummi Worms, it was at last time for the vow. Like they had the summer before, they said it together.
“To honor the Pants and the Sisterhood
And this moment and this summer and the rest of our lives
Together and apart.”
Only this time, Tibby felt the tears fall when they said “the rest of our lives.” Because in the past that had always seemed like a distant road, and tonight, she knew in her heart, they were already on it.