Depending on your relationship with your best friend, cowriting a novel is either living the dream or embarking on a potential nightmare. Thankfully for us readers, debut novelist Kat Helgeson and veteran-despite-basically-still-being-an-actual-YA Hannah Moskowitz took the plunge, and it paid off in a majorly fabulous way in the form of Gena/Finn, about two girls who […]
It’s the summer before the sisterhood departs for college . . . their last real summer together before they head off to start their grown-up lives. It’s the time when Lena, Tibby, Bridget, and Carmen need their Pants the most.
Pants = love. Love your pals. Love yourself.
“A fun and poignant coming-of-age story." —Entertainment Weekly
“Readers of the other books won’t be disappointed.” —Booklist, Starred
“A treat for anyone.” —Los Angeles Times
“These are friends worth having.” —Chicago Tribune
|Publisher:||Random House Children's Books|
|Series:||The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants , #3|
|Product dimensions:||5.50(w) x 8.25(h) x 0.80(d)|
|Lexile:||670L (what's this?)|
|Age Range:||12 - 17 Years|
About the Author
Visit Ann online at AnnBrashares.com and follow @AnnBrashares on Twitter.
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.
Reading Group Guide
1. The novel opens with a first-person narrative by Tibby. Why do you think the author selected this character to frame the story? Would you have selected another character, and if so, what would he or she say?
2. Epigraphs (short quotations) from a variety of sources–song lyrics, remarks by real-life personalities, fictitious sayings by the novel’s characters–are used to separate sections of the book. Which one is your favorite? Why?
3. Of the four girls, whom are you most like? Whose first year of college would you most like to follow?
4. "Our shared childhood is ending. Maybe we’ll never live at home again. Maybe we’ll never all live in the same place again. We’re headed off to start our real lives. To me that is awe-inspiring, but it is also the single scariest thought in the world" (p. 5). The girls realize that leaving for college is much bigger than leaving each other for just a summer. Do you think each of the girls is prepared to be away from her friends for an entire year? Whose first year do you most worry about? How would you prepare to leave your friends?
5. On page 3, Tibby compares each of the girls to a car. What kind of car would you be? Why?
6. "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" (p. 10). By the end of the book, how has Tibby changed in her response to the new or unexpected? How have the other girls changed? Who has grown the most? How?
7. In both The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants and Girls in Pants, Carmen feels she doesn’t belong in her family. How do her feelings differ from those of Bridget, Tibby, and Lena toward their families? Do the girls’ family relationships have an impact on their friendships? Are their perceptions of their situations valid, or do they sometimes overreact?
8. Do you think Lena and Kostos could have a future together? What would you suggest to Lena if she asked you for advice about Kostos and her feelings for him? What could Lena learn from Bridget and Eric’s relationship? What could Bridget learn from Lena?
9. Each of the girls has one person who pushes her toward self examination this summer. Carmen has Valia, Tibby has Katherine, Lena has Annik, and Bridget has Eric. What does each of the girls learn about herself through these influences? Do you have someone in your life who pushes you to learn new things about yourself?
10. "There was a funny thing about Carmen, and she knew it all too well: She could understand and analyze and predict the exact outcome of her crazy, self-destructive behavior and then go ahead and do it anyway" (p. 115). What do you think of Carmen’s "Good Carmen vs. Bad Carmen" descriptions? Do certain people draw out a "good" or "bad" version of you? Why?
11. The four girls have very different approaches to relationships and love. By the end of Girls in Pants, three of them have found boyfriends with whom they are happy. Are there similarities in the ways the girls approach the search for love? Differences? Do you think their romantic relationships will change anything, good or bad, about their friendships?
12. The Pants have always provided the girls with confidence and security. If you were a member of the Sisterhood, would you adjust the rules to allow use of the Pants year-round for this first year of college? Why or why not?