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3 Willows: The Sisterhood Grows

3 Willows: The Sisterhood Grows

3.9 86
by Ann Brashares

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summer is a time to grow

Polly has an idea that she can't stop thinking about, one that involves changing a few things about herself. She's setting her sights on a more glamorous life, but it's going to take all of her focus. At least that way she won't have to watch her friends moving so far ahead.

Jo is spending


summer is a time to grow

Polly has an idea that she can't stop thinking about, one that involves changing a few things about herself. She's setting her sights on a more glamorous life, but it's going to take all of her focus. At least that way she won't have to watch her friends moving so far ahead.

Jo is spending the summer at her family's beach house, working as a busgirl and bonding with the older, cooler girls she'll see at high school come September. She didn't count on a brief fling with a cute boy changing her entire summer. Or feeling embarrassed by her middle school friends. And she didn't count on her family at all. . .

Ama is not an outdoorsy girl. She wanted to be at an academic camp, doing research in an air-conditioned library, earning A's. Instead her summer scholarship lands her on a wilderness trip full of flirting teenagers, blisters, impossible hiking trails, and a sad lack of hair products.
It is a new summer. And a new sisterhood. Come grow with them.

From the Hardcover edition.

Editorial Reviews

Author Ann Brashares has created a snug-fitting yet comfortable follow-up to her Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants ensemble. 3 Willows introduces us to Polly, Jo, and Ama, a trio of young ladies juggling summer jobs, friendships, adventures, and even a touch of romance and flirtation.
Publishers Weekly

With the Traveling Pants series all wrapped up, Brashares introduces a new group of BFFs and addresses a slightly younger crowd. Living in the same town as the semilegendary Sisterhood girls, Ama, Polly and Jo have tried to share a pair of jeans and settled on a joint-property scarf (plus an induction ceremony), but their rituals are "lame," and so, they suspect, is their trio. Only socially backward Polly thinks she'll miss the others when all three disperse the summer before high school. In typical Brashares fashion, each girl faces unexpected tribulations: intellectually ambitious Ama, who is afraid of heights, has won a spot in a prestigious scholarship program-which sends her mountain climbing. Jo, newly told that her parents are divorcing, submerges her feelings in the excitement of being friends with a popular girl and having an older boyfriend-or so she thinks. Polly, sold out by Jo in the pursuit of cool, learns that her single mom is alcoholic. Fans will like the tidiness in the controlling metaphor, willow tree cuttings planted after a third-grade project, and for all the fidelity to formula, Brashares gets her characters' emotions and interactions just right. Ages 12-up. (Jan.)

Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Children's Literature - Naomi Milliner
Marylanders Ama, Jo and Polly have been best friends since 3rd grade, but as they enter the summer before 9th grade, their paths, and relationships, grow shaky. Ama, a smart, indoorsy girl from Ghana, receives a study grant for "Wild Adventures" in Wyoming; flirtatious Jo, whose parents are beginning a trial separation, gets a waitress gig and a boyfriend; and Polly, the shy, quiet one with an eccentric, alcoholic mom, hopes to transform herself into a model. As the girls venture forth on their own, we learn of past events, like Jo's brother's death, and the planting of 3 willow trees—which serve as a lovely and apt metaphor throughout the story. Despite strange and confusing lapses into first person early on, Brasheres retains her stature as master storyteller. Once again she has created a cast of 3-dimensional, complex and (mostly) likable heroines. Fans of her "Traveling Pants" series will enjoy the occasional cameos of their older counterparts. Readers will identify with Ama's fears, Polly's desperation, and Jo's loneliness and despair. Most of all, they will cheer when Jo finally realizes her friends' worth in her life: "(They) knew the shape of who she was, and helped keep her in it. Without them she felt like she drifted and lost her outlines." Tweens and teens alike will eagerly await the next installment. Reviewer: Naomi Milliner
Jacqueline Bach
After four summers with the sisterhood of the traveling pants, Brashares introduces us to the next generation of best friends whose lives are linked not by pants, but by willow trees. Polly, Ama, and Jo have just finished eighth grade when they find themselves dealing with a new job, an unexpected adventure, and complicated family circumstances. Separated for most of the summer, the three become distant only to be pulled back together by tragedy. Younger readers who enjoyed Brashares's previous novels will enjoy this one as well. Their story is told from three different points of view, and Brashares includes observations about willow trees as a device for setting up each section. Although 3 Willows seems to have been marketed as part of the original series (and the previous characters make cameos in the story), this novel can stand on its own and is undoubtedly destined to have a sequel. Reviewer: Jacqueline Bach
VOYA - Stacey Hayman
Polly, Jo, and Ama became best friends on their first day of third grade. Forgotten by their parents, the girls left school together with plants they were to care for and help grow into willow trees. As the plants grew, so did their friendship. For the next six years, the girls were inseparable, caring for Jo after her brother died, giving Polly a place to go when her Mom disappeared into her art studio, and encouraging Ama while her sister achieved academic heights. Now they have drifted apart without knowing exactly how it happened. Jo wants to be popular at any cost, even if the boy she likes is a player. Ama wants to rely on her brains and not her body, even though she's won a prized scholarship to a wilderness adventure. Polly wants to find herself, even if it means trying to reshape her body in an unhealthy way. These friends are incoming freshman at the same high school setting as The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants series, so fans will get a few glimpses of familiar characters. But that should not be the reason to read this new series. Instead be ready to enjoy the individual stories of three lapsed friends who find their way back to each other and who benefit from a stronger bond as a result of the journey back. The only disappointment comes from the lack of discussion or acknowledgment of Polly's brush with an eating disorder. Readers can only hope that it will be addressed in one of the next two proposed series books. Reviewer: Stacey Hayman
School Library Journal

Gr 7-10

Incoming freshmen at the same high school that the original sisterhood attended, Ama, Jo, and Polly are learning that falling out of friendship is an unfortunate part of growing up. They're spending the summer apart-uprooted-dealing with divorce, unmet expectations, and, of course, boys. Fans of Brashares will likely be thrilled to get their hands on Willows , yet the story falls short of offering the chick-lit genre anything new. Undoubtedly, though, readers will become involved with the girls as they grow their separate ways, ultimately realizing that the roots of their friendship have never really come undone. The sweet (near sappy) novel will find a place on the to-read list of many tweens and teens.-Emily Chornomaz, Brooklyn Public Library, NY

Kirkus Reviews
The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants has entered college. Now, three younger girls are about to take its place. Jo, Polly and Ama have been friends since childhood, but as high school approaches the three find themselves growing in separate directions. As in the first Traveling Pants book, the girls are spending their first summer apart. Academic Ama is hiking her way to school credit. Sensitive, quirky Polly is at home, saving her money so she can attend modeling school. Jo, newly popular, travels to her family's beach home and works her first summer job. The girls find that their physical distance brings them closer emotionally. A sweetly sentimental narrative combined with story lines of romance and parent drama ensures that like the previous Pants books, this one will travel from girl to girl. At times the characters are difficult to distinguish from one another, and the parallels between the girls' friendship and the willow trees they planted as children go over the top, but that will not detract from the book's popularity. (Fiction. YA)
From the Publisher
Starred Review, Publishers Weekly, November 10, 2008:
“Brashares gets her characters’ emotions and interactions just right.”

Product Details

Random House Children's Books
Publication date:
Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants Series , #5
Sold by:
Random House
Sales rank:
700L (what's this?)
File size:
5 MB
Age Range:
12 - 15 Years

Read an Excerpt


The last day of school was a half day. Tomorrow the entire eighth grade would pile back into the gym for the graduation ceremony, but that was just for an hour and their families would be there. The next time Ama went to school, it would be high school.

Everything is changing, Ama thought.

Usually she took the bus home, but today she felt like walking, she wasn't sure why. She wasn't sentimental. She was purposeful and forward-looking, like her older sister. But it was an aimless time of day, and she wasn't hauling her usual twenty pounds of textbooks, binders, and notebooks. Today she felt like treading the familiar steps she'd walked so many times when she was younger, when she was never in a hurry.

She couldn't help thinking about Polly and Jo as she walked, so when she saw them up ahead, waiting at the light to cross East-West Highway, it almost felt like they appeared out of her memory.

Ama was surprised to see Polly and Jo together. From this long view, she was struck by the naturalness of the way they stood together and at the same time, the strain. She doubted they had started off from school together. These days Jo usually left school with her noisy and flirting group of friends to go to the Tastee Diner or to the bagel place around the corner. Polly went her own way--taking forever to pack up her stuff and often spending time at the library before heading home. Ama sometimes saw Polly at the library and they sat together out of habit. But unlike Ama, Polly wasn't there to do her homework. Polly read everything in the library except what was assigned.

As Ama got closer, she considered how little Jo looked like she used to in elementary school. Her braces were off, her glasses were gone, and she devotedly wore whatever the current marker for popularity was--at the moment, pastel plaid shorts and her hair in two braids. Ama considered how much Polly, in her long frayed shorts and her dark newsboy cap, looked the same as she always had.

"Ama! Hey!" Polly saw her first. She was waving excitedly. The walk sign illuminated and Ama hurried to catch up to them so they could cross the highway together.

"I can't believe you're here," Polly said, looking from Ama to Jo. "This is historic."

"It's on her way home," Jo pointed out, not seeming to want to acknowledge the significance of the three of them walking home together on this day.

Ama understood how Jo felt. The history of their friendship was like a brimming and moody pond under a smooth surface of ice, and she didn't want to crack it.

As they walked they talked about final exams and graduation plans. Nobody said anything as they passed the 7-Eleven or even as they approached the old turn.

What if we turned? Ama suddenly wondered. What if they ran down the old hill, past the playground, and stepped into the woods to see the little trees they had planted so long ago? What if they held hands and ran as fast as they could?

But the three of them passed the old turn, heads and eyes forward. Only Polly seemed to glance back for a moment.

Anyway, even if they did turn, Ama knew it wouldn't be the same. The creaky metal merry-go-round would be rusted, the swing set abandoned. The trees might not even be there anymore. It had been so long since they'd tended to them.

Ama pictured her younger self, running down the hill with her two best friends, out of control and exhilarated.

It was different now. People changed and places changed. They were going into high school. This was no time for looking back. Ama couldn't even picture the trees. She couldn't remember the name of the hill anymore.

When I think of the first day of our friendship, I think of the three of us running across East-West Highway with our backpacks on our backs and our potted plants in our hands. I think of Jo dropping her plant in the middle of the street and all of us stopping short, and the sight of the little stalk turned on its side and the roots showing and the soil spilling onto the asphalt. I remember the three of us stooping down to put the plant back into its pot, hurriedly tucking its roots back under the dirt as the walk signal turned from white walk to blinking orange don't walk. And I remember Ama shouting that we had to hurry, and seeing, over my shoulder, the cars pouring over the hill toward us. I remember the rough feeling of the asphalt scraping under my fingers as I swept up the last of the dirt, the stinging feeling of my knuckles as I tried to gather it in my fist. I think it was Jo who grabbed my arm and pulled me to the sidewalk. And I remember the long, flat swell of the horns in my ears.

We met on the first day of third grade, because of all the 132 kids in our grade, we were the three who didn't get picked up. I was spooked, because my mom had never failed to pick me up from school. She'd never even been late before.

We didn't talk to each other at first. I was embarrassed and scared and I didn't want to show it. They put us in the math help room with the see-through walls. We stared out like a zoo exhibit waiting for our parents to come.

That was the day they gave out the little willow tree cuttings in plastic pots in our science class. We were supposed to take care of them and study them all year. I remember each of us sitting at a desk with our plant in front of us. Polly kept poking at hers to see if the soil was too dry. She hummed.

Jo put her sneakers up on the desk and leaned back. She said her plant probably wouldn't last through the week.

I couldn't believe how casual the two of them were about being left at school. I was freaked out, but later on I learned that my mother had a really good excuse for not showing up that day.

From the Hardcover edition.

Meet the Author

Ann Brashares lives in New York City with her husband and their three children. She is the author of The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants novels, a series that reached #1 on the New York Times bestseller list and inspired two major motion pictures. Visit her at www.annbrashares.net.

From the Hardcover edition.

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3 Willows 3.9 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 86 reviews.
TeensReadToo More than 1 year ago
The Sisterhood may be grown up, but their legend lives on.

Meet Polly, Jo, and Ama, three girls who are now entering the very same high school the legendary Sisterhood attended. The three have been friends since third grade, but now with high school approaching, they find themselves being drawn in separate ways and spending the summer apart.

Ama is all about academics, extra credit, and schoolwork. She's signed up to spend the summer at a camp that will give her school credit. She's hoping to be in the library all day, but instead finds herself signed up for the outdoor wilderness hike. Ama is not an outdoorsy girl and can't imagine herself spending the summer hiking and sleeping in a tent.

Jo is spending the summer at her family beach house and working as a bus girl at a local restaurant. She's hoping to make friends with the older girls from the "in" crowd so she can start high school in the right group. But a fling with a mysterious boy threatens to change all of Jo's plans.

Polly is stuck at home babysitting until she gets the idea that she could be a model. She throws herself into the world of modeling camp and starts to lose herself - and only her friends can help bring her back.

One of Ann Brashares strengths is that she puts so much into her characters that readers can always find someone like them. The experiences the girls have never seem over the top or unrealistic, and their friendship will resonate with readers making the transition from middle school to high school.

Although reminiscent of THE SISTERHOOD OF THE TRAVELING PANTS series, Polly, Ama, and Jo each bring something new to the story - and their stories are original. Fans will enjoy the appearances made by characters from the previous series, as well.

3 WILLOWS is a great pick for readers looking for a wonderful, charming book about the challenges of friendship and growing up.
mjbond More than 1 year ago
I do not think that this book was as good as the Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants, however, it was a fun read. It is about 3 friends who grow up in the same town. As they grow up, they change as people, which causes their friendship to also change. I think that it's a great story about true friends, and I enjoyed the reference to the original sisterhood. I thought that the book was a litte slow starting out, but it got better and I found myself not wanting to put it down.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
You should so read it. It is very intereting. Ann Brashards is very talented.
Myam_Lusia More than 1 year ago
Ok, I will admit it. I have never read the Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants. I've seen the movie, and I guess I thought that if I read the book then I wouldn't enjoy it as much. So, when my friend lent me 3 Willows, the first question to come out of my mouth was "Do I have to read The Sisterhood to understand this?" And the answer is nope. You don't need to read the original Sisterhood to fall in love with Ann Brashares novel. 3 Willows takes you into a slightly younger world, to three girls who are - no secrets - growing apart. However, they don't exactly want to face the facts. They still, somehow, want to stay close forever. Heartwarming novel, fast read, nice read. Hope you enjoy as much as I did.
mothman More than 1 year ago
3 Willows by Ann Brashres is a book that tells us about the lives of three girls; Polly, Jo, and Ama. They used to be best friends but as time went on they grew apart. The summer before high school will change this all. Polly wants to be a model. She is changing her self for the bad, even though she thinks it's for the good. Jo is spending her summer at the beach working as a bus girl. She begins to fit in and then an incident ruins it all. Ama is at her summer scholarship program, trying to find out how to survive the stupid camp. She finds out who she is along the way. The girls also find that they will be friends no matter what happens. I enjoyed how Brashres made the Sisterhood a legend in this book. It is kind of like it will never die. 3 Willows is a book that most teenage girls would probably read. Brashres will not disappoint any readers with this new book. Those who loved the Sisterhood will love this. I thought this book was very good. I hope she writes a follow up but she shouldn't make it exactly like the Sisterhood. The characters in this book are nothing like the ones in the Sisterhood. Read this book! You will love it. You will not want to put it down.
BookWerm21 More than 1 year ago
Ann Brashares has done it again! I absolutely loved this book! The story follows the format of the Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants, switching from each girl's point of view. I thought the scenarios she created were something refreshing and new. I also liked how she incorporated the Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants into her story because I'm a huge fan of the series! Great book, five stars hands down! =)
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The Three Willows by Ann Brashares is a very interesting book. It's written in three different perspectives, each for the three main characters, like Ann Brashares's other books were, The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants. The characters were very original and their stories made me not want to put the book down. I like how all the characters changed in some way and you got to see everything they thought while the story was going on. I also like how you got to read a little about the characters in The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants. It was really neat finding out what all the characters thought about the Sisters. This book was a good book and really interesting and original and even a bit funny. It's well paced so the reader won't get bored. I give it probably a nine out of ten and if there is a sequel, I can't wait to read it!
JL_Garner More than 1 year ago
I'll be up front about two things: 1 - despite being a guy, I really enjoyed Ann Brashares "Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants" series. She created a quartet of well-rounded characters, and told their stories with a good blend of wit and emotion. 2 - "3 Willows," the first book in a new trilogy about a new group of girls, nearly failed my Page 50 test: if I'm not totally engrossed in the book by page 50, I put it back on the shelf, usually never to read it again. Unlike "Sisterhood," "3 Willows" takes a while to get going. It's also hobbled by the fact that the three girls come from the same town as the Sisterhood (Bethesda, MD), go to the same school, and spend a fair part of the book wishing they could be like the Sisterhood. Various characters from the Sisterhood make cameo appearances, and Lena's sister Effie plays a pivotal part in one character's storyline. On the one hand, the connections were sort of neat. On the other hand, I felt like Brashares was painting herself into a corner by interconnecting her new series with the old one. Once you get past that hurdle, though, "3 Willows" is an enjoyable read on its own, and the characters start to grow on you. Hopefully now that the ball is rolling, the remaining two parts of the trilogy won't be as awkward.
cole3699 More than 1 year ago
As an adult reader of this series, I fully enjoyed this book. The references to the Sisterhood were nicely placed, without being on the shirttails of the original series. I can't wait for my daughter to be old enough to read this series.
Cougar_H More than 1 year ago
Polly, Ama, and Jo were best friends. But since they started drifting apart they have gone off to new adventures and this summer they realized how much they should have stayed close. The summer that all three of them finally fall apart, that's when they need each other the most. They learned that three trees can stay connected even after years and years and that your true friends will never forget who you are. Polly watched everyone move on while she stayed home during the summer. Nothing sounds better to her than changing her life, so she makes some external changes to herself. Even though she was not ready for what she was facing, she took it on gladly, not realizing that she did not need to change her look to be different from everyone. Polly decided that because everyone else around her was going on she should too. When the story alters from character to character, reading Polly's story makes you think about all the things girls think will make them look better or feel better. Ama is all brains, and for this summer she was accepted into the Student Leader Foundation and was hoping for an academic place to be. But guess where she lands? She is going on a wilderness trip in a state far across the country. Even though it's a special honor to be in the program, Ama would rather be anywhere else. Ama's story is finding out what your limits are, and trying all the things you have never wanted to do. You read her story and hope against hope that she embraces her courage and stands up for what she believes in and even when she's surrounded by people so different than her way of life she stands strong. Lastly is Jo. She was the only one who didn't have such a hard time moving on when she drifted away. And come the summer when she went to her parent's beach house and started working as a bus girl you would not have expected so much drama. She meets a cute boy who takes an interest in her and just as everything is perfect some very big changes break through her life. Her story is about finding who your real friends are through serious actions and being glad you can always make up for your mistakes. So all in all, the book is about finding yourself and finding your friends through good and bad times. As Hans Christian Anderson said, "Just living is not enough. One must have sunshine, freedom, and a little flower."
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
3 Willows is a novel that consists of love and friendship. The three main characters are easy to relate to, and they deal with problems that many are familiar with. Ama is in a camping program, even though she hates the outdoors and tries her best to get out of it. Polly struggles to lose weight so that she can become a model. And Jo falls in love with an older guy, who happens to be the "boyfriend" of Effie, a jealous girl who will do anything to break them apart. I definitely recommend 3 Willows to anyone who is a fan of The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants series.
TeenReads More than 1 year ago
3 best friends Ama, Jo, and Polly are exited to be going to high school at the end of the summer, but little do they know that this summer will change them forever.

Ama feels most comfortable in a library doing homework. So naturally she is ecstatic that she will be spending the summer at a camp that counts toward school credit. But instead of books and classrooms she finds herself in the great outdoors. Ama is not an outdoorsy girl. She has no idea how to set up a tent much less scale a cliff!

Jo is staying at her families beach house for the summer. She is trying to become friends with the older, more popular girls so that highschool will start off right. But when Jo takes a chance on an older boy everything might be ruined.

Polly stays at home missing her friends and babysitting. Nothing seems to be happening until she dicides she wants to be a model and packs her bags for modeling camp. Polly ,determind to make this work, gets sucked in way over her head.

This story proves that the sisterhood still lives on and that no matter how far away you go you will eventually come back to your roots.
mrdarcy3 More than 1 year ago
Polly, Jo, and Ama just graduated eight grade. Now with summer looming before them, they're not sure how far high school will separate them. They used to be best friends, before they each started going in different directions. But this summer, they are still tied to each other. Their bonds haven't been broken yet. Polly starts a modeling class with her babysitting money. She wants to become someone, someone that people notice. But is modeling for her, or is she walking down a dangerous path? Jo's spending the summer with her mother at the beach. Her parents are trying a separation and she's not sure what to think. It's not like her dad's been around much these past few years. She's got herself a job at a restaurant and soon she's hanging out with high school girls. Could they be her ticket to the in crowd next year? Ama's spending the summer in a scholarship program. She was hoping for an academic track, but instead, she's spending her days hiking through the wilderness. She's not an adventurous sort of girl and this summer is killing her. In their times of troubles, each girl reverts back to her old friendships and wonder how weak their bond has become. If one of them reaches out, will the other two catch her?

This new book by Ann Brashares takes place in the same town as the Sisterhood. These three girls don't know the Sisterhood, but they worship the girls just the same. The book has similar connections with the Sisterhood books, but it's completely different at the same time. They both center on friendship, but there's a different tone to the new book. The Sisterhood books took their friendship and made it stronger during the time apart. The 3 Willows found their way back to friendship after spending time apart. The new book is also younger and perfect for middle schoolers. I breezed through this book and am eager for the next one...there is going to be one I hope.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
3 willows is a delightful story about three girls and each of them has a connection to the girls in the sisterhood of the traveling pants series. I highly recommend
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Yay this is great
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book wasnt my favorite. I had no interest an its a mixed up story. Its a story of 3 different girls, so when a story switches its in the same chapter. I would not recommend thus book.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
It is a good bopk, maybe not as good as the sistorhood, but pretty good. I still love this book, but the sisterhood became apart of me, where as, the girls in willows dont seem as real.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Really good book
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Sup heeeeeeeee :) turn the nook
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book is really good
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This was an excellent book about a true friendship. It is a great summer read.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I think this book inspire young readers to be the best they can be I beleve Ann has done it again
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago