Sonderbooks Book Reviews by Sondra Eklund

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I don't review books I don't like!

*****= An all-time favorite
****  = Outstanding
***    = Above average
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*        = Good, with reservations


****The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants

by Ann Brashares

Reviewed March 9, 2002.
A Sonderbooks' Best Book of 2002 (#2, Young Adult Contemporary Novels)
Delacorte Press, 2001.  294 pages.  Available at Sembach Library (JF BRA).

Wow.  This is an excellent book.  Thanks to Erin MacClellan, my writing buddy, for recommending it to me.

Carmen and her three almost-sixteen-year-old friends find some magical pants at the start of the summer.  This is the first summer that the four of them will spend apart.  They’ve been friends since their mothers were in a pregnancy aerobics class together.  They know the pants are magical, because they not only fit but look great on every one of them.  Before they separate for the summer, they form the Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants.  The Pants belong to all of them, so they promise to share them, with no one keeping them for more than a week.

Carmen is spending the summer with her Dad in South Carolina.  Lena is visiting her grandparents in Greece.  Bridget is going to soccer camp in Baja.  And Tibby’s stuck at home, working at Wallman’s.  This book tells about an amazing summer in which each girl must face a major issue.  The point of view doesn’t stay with the girl who has the Pants.  We see all of them as they face their own challenges.  Then the Pants come to them.  The Pants help because of Rule #10:  “Remember:  Pants = love.  Love your pals.  Love yourself.”

Bottom line, this book works because it’s a book about love, the strong and true love of friends.  Not everyone knows this kind of friendship, and not many books succeed in portraying it, but this book does, and the result is beautiful.

I think one reason I loved the book is that I have true, long-time friends like these girls do.  However, most of my life, I’ve had to live apart from them, just as these girls are facing big things while apart from their friends.  Somehow, having those friends out there who know you and love you makes all the difference in the world.  I think that’s a big part of why this book deeply touched me.

A warning to parents is that one of the major issues that one of the girls confronts is sex.  The issue is sensitively addressed.  Without being even slightly preachy, the reader is not given the impression that sex is a good idea for fifteen-year-olds.  However, you should be aware that this comes up before you decide if this is a book for your own child to read.

None of the girls really comes through her “major issue” with flying colors.  But the Pants--and the love they represent--help them so that they do get through.

This is a fantastic book, beautifully written.  Even more impressive is that it’s the author’s first novel.  I strongly expect to see it on this year’s award lists.

Reviews of other books by Ann Brashares:
The Second Summer of the Sisterhood 
Girls in Pants:  The Third Summer of the Sisterhood

Copyright © 2005 Sondra Eklund.  All rights reserved.

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