A lover of summer, pants and travel, Ann Brashares lives in New York City with her husband and their three children. She is the author of the SISTERHOOD OF THE TRAVELLING PANTS novels, a series that reached #1 on the New York Times bestseller list and inspired tw movies. Visit her at www.annbrashares.net
Brashares returns to the beloved characters she brought to life in her first novel, The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants, for a new installment that's equally authentic and engaging. The story again rotates through the perspectives of lifelong friends Carmen, Lena, Tibby and Bridget, who stay connected during their summer adventures with help from a shared pair of jeans that look fantastic on each of them, despite their "different sizes and shapes." This time they struggle with their relationships with their mothers. Carmen sabotages her mother's new romance, slowly realizing that she's really afraid of someone coming between them. Meanwhile, depressed Bridget visits her estranged grandmother in Alabama, masquerading as a stranger; she faces her mother's past (she committed suicide years ago), and also learns, to her relief, that she is not exactly like her. Though initially hard to swallow, Bridget's story line is ultimately deeply moving. A few plot strands seem unnecessary (e.g., Lena's instant love connection with Carmen's step-brother after a devastating heartbreak) and readers unfamiliar with the first book may have a little trouble catching up. But these quibbles are easily overlooked in light of the full-bodied characters and their loving, often humorous interactions. Throughout the summer, the girls send each other emails and packages, and lend support ("You will never never never ever ever ever run out of chances. Don't you know that?" Bee writes to Carmen). The pants, meanwhile, don't start out magical, but end up being a symbol of strength to all. Ages 12-up. (Apr.) Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
Gr 8 Up-Carmen, Lena, Tibby, and Bee are back in this long, engaging sequel to The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants (Delacorte, 2001). The four best friends are beginning their 16th summer with new expectations for personal growth, romance, and deepening friendship, all enhanced by the magic of a shared pair of thrift-store jeans. Brashares has deftly interwoven the story's strands to convey the relaxed intimacy of the girls' friendships as well as the many parallels in their individual experiences. The dialogue is natural and helps build nuances of character; the use of metaphor and insightful language renders a narrative that is highly readable and marked by emotional truth. Bee, whose mother died when she was 11, heads to Alabama under an assumed name to visit her estranged maternal grandmother. Carmen and Lena both become entangled in emotional spats with their mothers, and Tibby makes an edgy documentary film about her mother for a screenwriting course. This is a summer for coming-of-age, and for people materializing out of the blue, but making an impact-Tibby's old friend Brian appears unbidden at her dorm; Lena's Greek boyfriend, Kostos, arrives suddenly; and Carmen's stepsister comes seeking sanctuary. Meanwhile, the traveling pants are circulated among the friends. It may just be the power of wonder, but the jeans undoubtedly play a role in the happy resolution of this big-hearted, complex tale of living, learning, and caring. Brashares's novel can be enjoyed by readers who have not yet discovered the previous book. It is certain to delight those readers who have.-Susan W. Hunter, Riverside Middle School, Springfield, VT Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.