3 Willows: The Sisterhood Grows

3 Willows: The Sisterhood Grows

by Ann Brashares

Hardcover(Library Binding)

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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 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.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780385906289
Publisher: Random House Children's Books
Publication date: 01/13/2009
Series: Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants Series , #5
Pages: 336
Product dimensions: 5.80(w) x 8.30(h) x 1.20(d)
Age Range: 12 - 15 Years

About 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.

Read an Excerpt

Meet Jo
So this is the last summer before high school. I'm spending it at my family's beach house. Except there isn't much family, there, really. Just my mom and me. My dad decided to stay in Bethesda and work this summer. He's a doctor. A top surgeon. After my older brother, Finn, died before I started fifth grade, he got a lot busier at the hospital. We don't talk about Finn much. Ever, really. Actually we don't talk much at all as a family. That's probably why my parents are going to get a divorce. My dad is probably going to date all the pretty young nurses at his hospital. All a trial separation will prove is that we're all separated already.

My friend Bryn helped me get a job as a bus girl at the Surfside, this big crab house in Rehoboth Beach, where our house is. There are some cool people from my school working here. It's one of the few places you can get a job when you're fourteen.

I kind of started hanging out with some new people in seventh grade. Bryn and Kylie and Marie. It's not that I don't like Ama and Polly, but...it's just that I want to be popular in high school, and I'm not so sure about them.

One of the girls from the Sisterhood, Bridget Vreeland, was a coach at my soccer camp after sixth grade. She was so cool. It made me think that being a teenager would be like that. You know, like having amazing friends and the Traveling Pants. But when I look at my old friends-Polly, with her skipping and weird doodles, and Ama, who can never do anything fun because she's too busy doing extra credit math problems-I know that is not going to happen.

I'd kind of like things to be different when I'm a freshman. I even did something crazy already -- I kissed this gorgeous boy and I don't even know his name. Ama would be horrified. But Bryn wouldn't. She would think it was exciting.

So maybe being a teenager will be cool after all. I guess I'll see what this summer brings.

Meet Ama
Everything is changing. Next year I'll be in high school. People change and places change. There's no time to look back, really. There's a lot to look ahead to.

My family moved to the United States from Ghana because my parents wanted my older sister, Esi, to go to the best possible college. And she did. She's at Princeton Pre-med.

Esi is extremely smart. She won a summer study grant from the Student Leader Foundation four years in a row. Only 200 people get them in the country. No one has received one since. Except me, now. Summer school at Andover (with my friend Grace) was my first choice. I didn't get it. Or my second. Or my third. I'm going on a program called Wild Adventures in Wyoming. It's so wrong for me. But I have to do it. It goes on my school record. My parents would never let me drop it.

Esi. School. My parents.

You could say I'm under a lot of pressure.

I also have a little brother named Bob. He's five. My parents gave him the most American name they could think of. It's kind of funny.

My friends, like Jo and Polly, aren't really as focused on school as I am. That's why I've been spending more time with people like Grace, kids on the honor roll crowd (the grade-grubbers, as Jo calls them). But there's nothing wrong with choosing to do academic projects with kids who want to succeed like I do, is there? Jo or Polly aren't serious enough about their work.

I'd heard about the Sisterhood when I was in 6th grade. It sounded amazing, to have these friends that were always there for you. A lot of people tried to be like them. Polly and Jo and I shared a pair of jeans, and then a denim skirt, and then a jean jacket, and then a scarf. That was kind of lame when I think about it.

I hope this summer works out okay.

But I'm not expecting much.

Chapter 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.

Customer Reviews

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3 Willows 3.9 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 110 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.
tjsjohanna on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This was an enjoyable book about three young girls discovering who they are. Each has a seperate adventure but in the end, they all return to their friendship as a way of validating the changes they have gone through. They all have different challenges - I liked that Ms. Brashares lets them come to healthy realizations about themselves before they become too embroiled in what could become tragic situations. Good model for young teens.
indygo88 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I had to keep in mind that this was written for a younger age group. I kept finding myself criticizing certain parts, but I think if I'd read it back as an early teenager, I would've rated it higher. For a younger audience, it's a good read. Obviously, the writing style is similar to that of the Traveling Pants series, although not as good, I didn't think. (But then again, that may have been due to the target audience.) All three of the characters in this annoyed me to some degree -- they weren't entirely likeable, but I also think lots of 14-year-olds probably fit that category. What I liked best about this book was the Willow theme in general, in addition to the way there were subtle references to the characters in the Traveling Pants series. I thought Brashares did quite a nice job in both those aspects.I also enjoyed the author interview at the end of the last disc. It sounds like "The Willows" will probably continue on into a series. Not yet sure if I'll pursue book #2 if/when it's released. We'll wait & see...!
kimbee on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I love her books especially her teen ones. In 3 Willows she writes about the struggling friendship of Jo, Polly and Ama. Like her Sisterhood books it takes place over summertime and you follow each character on their own adventure. Some characters are familiar from the sisterhood books which grabbed my attention but I didn't like what she did with the one known character. I didn't like how Jo's story ended. Didn't seem finished. But hopefully the series will continue.
bellalibrarian on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I was very excited to see "3 Willows" and knew that is was important not to go into it expecting it to be like the Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants. While I didn't have those expectations, I was pleased to see the references to the traveling pants. (I'm sure there are a lot of readers, including myself that will never forget the traveling pants experience and were so thankful for even the smallest of references.) The characters in this book are younger than what I'm used to reading about, so at times their issues seemed rather trivial, yet, I was still invested in what they went through. The willow tree analogy is nice and especially useful for young readers. I also think this book effectively addresses the way that young friendships change so quickly without any large catalysts.Overall, a good read. It is so hard not to compare it to the Traveling Pants.
sslibrary on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Set in the same town and school as Sisterhood of the Traveling pants and some of those characters appear in this story. This time three girls start out as estranged friends and end up relizing what they have given up. Definitely along the lines of Sisterhood, but I didn't feel it was as deep or developed.
hailey_1399 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Good, i think Ann Brashares is a little too attached to her 'Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants' girls, she mentions them a lot and it was really annoying at first, but it got better. Favourite character was either Jo or Ama. Found Polly irritating at some points. Pretty great book overall.
amaryann21 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Brashares' writing is poignant and touching. This book is aimed at young adults, particularly early teens, and I think it will strike a note with its target audience. This author knows how to tell a wonderful and empowering story.
mzonderm on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
It's impossible to evaluate this book without reference to Brashere's Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants series. Not only is the "Sisterhood" referenced in the title, but the Sisterhood itself figures in the story. In some ways, that's a good thing, serving to establish a setting with which readers are already familiar. In other ways, it's a bad thing, setting up expectations that aren't really fulfilled.The first book of the Sisterhood is the story of a group of girls who have been friends since babyhood, and must learn how to continue their friendship as they spend their first summer apart. In 3 Willows, by contrast, the friendship among the three girls has started to unravel. Knowing what we know about the Sisterhood, the theme and resolution of this book, that old friendships are important even as we grow up, is somewhat predictable. Still, it's a good book, with each of the three girls well-drawn, sympathetic, and realistically written.
dasuzuki on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Somehow I missed the blurb that this was by the same author who wrote The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants. Yes, I am probably one of the few remaining people who have not read that series so I cannot compare this book to those. I have to admit that while 3 Willows isn't bad it definitely is not one of my favorite books. I didn't really get what set Polly's mother's down her path and I felt like Polly's eating issues were sort of glossed over in the end. Jo's problems with Zach were pretty predictable. The one story that I sort of got into was Ama. She was so whiny that her story was funny. This book was an interesting read but not one that I would put high on my list.
YouthGPL on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Susan says: This book is about three friends - Polly, Ama, and Jo - who have grown apart at the end of their 8th grade year. Each girl longs for their friendship, but doesn't like things about the people in the friendship. They all do different things during the summer - Ama goes to wilderness camp against everything she likes, Jo goes to the beach with her mom, and Jo stays home and goes to modeling camp. Each girl finds her way back to the others through a difficult summer including first boyfriends, alcoholism, extreme dieting, and getting lost in the wilderness. Nothing happens that would make this a teen book, so I am going to move our copies to Youth. The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants girls are in this book as well, although it is really brief glimpses except for Lena's sister Effie. They all live in the same town, so it doesn't seem unconnected or forced. A sweet book about friendship and growing up.Ages 12-14
distractedmusician on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
A nice enough story for preteens, but I'm afraid it will never live up to the Traveling Pants legacy, at least in my books.The characters were strong, however unlike the Traveling Pants books, for the majority of the book the girls weren't good friends - it sort of felt like something was missing.
sb631 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I loved the Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants novels so much, so I decided to read this, thinking it would be just as good. I liked this book but it was not as good as I was hoping it would be. Love the title and meaning behind it though :)3 Willows is about 3 firends, Polly, Jo and Ama. Each set out to do different things for the summer. They each have their own personality and characteristics that set them apart. Ama in on a wilderness trip for the summer, but the only problem is she does not like outdoors. Will she overcome her fears and enjoy her trip? Jo goes to a family beach house working as a busgirl. Should be a fun summer, right? And Polly wants to change some things about her and live a glamours life. What is she willing to change?Overall, this was a good easy book to read. I think the reason why I only give it 3 stars is because after reading the Sisterhood book I had high hopes that this would be just like them. But it wasn't. I didnt love the characters as much as I did in the Sisterhood. But non-the less it was good.