The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants by Ann Brashares

The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants by Ann Brashares

Reviewed by L.D.Y.

Trade, 294 pages, 2001

Rating: 9/10

Reason for Reading: It’s been a buzz book for teens (and a number of adults), so I

couldn’t skip it – what if (horrors!) I’d skipped the Harry Potter books thinking they were

only for kiddies?

Synopsis: It’s the first summer fifteen-year-old best friends Tibby, Lena, Carmen,

and Bridget will spend apart. Tibby is stuck at home working for the summer, Lena is

visiting her grandparents in Greece, Carmen will finally get to see her Dad’s new

place, and Bridget is off to soccer camp. So how will they keep from feeling alone? A

magical pair of jeans (they somehow look incredible on all four of them despite their

different shapes), which they vow to mail to each other every week so a little piece of them

can travel to their friends – and hopefully a whole lot of adventure, too.

Why you should read this book: The Sisterhood is a great book if you’re

looking for something with friendship, the challenges of being a teenager, and, of course,

boys. It’s got a nice balance, though, as all of the girls have their own personalities and

interests separate from each other, and a mix of frivolous and serious concerns. Good for a

few laughs and a good cry, in other words. The book constantly changes narrators and is

interspersed with brief handwritten letters – a nice format for the attention-challenged


Why you should avoid this book: Some things seem glossed over, such as Bridget’s

situation with a boy at her soccer camp – her silence leaves her in the unpleasant role of

victim, which doesn’t fit with her character at all. And what teenager will respond to a

lecture rather than help in actually dealing with a problem? The Sisterhood might be

a bit too full of teenage angst for some readers, especially those that have already lived

though the girls’ situations rather than the readers still ‘looking forward’ to them.

Opening paragraph:

Once upon a time there was a pair of pants. They were an essential kind of pants

– jeans, naturally, blue but not that stiff, new blue that you see so often on the first day

of school. They were a soft, changeable blue with a little extra fading at the knees and the

seat and white wavelets at the cuffs.

Fabulous quotes:

He didn’t say anything as they drove along small wooded suburban streets with

big Victorian houses rising on either side. Raindrops burst on the windshield. The sky grew

so dark it felt almost like nighttime. He slowed down and stopped in front of a

cream-colored Victorian with green-gray shutters and a wraparound porch.
‘Where’s this?’

Carmen asked.
Her dad cut the engine and turned to her. ‘This is home.’ His eyes were

distant and a little mysterious. He didn’t seem to want to take on the open surprise in

‘That house? Up there? I thought you lived in an apartment downtown.’
‘I moved.

Just last month.’
‘You did? Why didn’t you tell me on the phone?’
‘Because…there’s a

lot of big stuff, bun. Stuff I wanted to say in person,’ he answered.

I’m writing from the post office and this express mail costs more than

what I make in two hours at Wallman’s, so it better get to you tomorrow.
I can’t figure

out what the Pants meant to me yet. It was either profound or not. I’ll tell you when I

You’ll do better because you are the one and only Carma Carmeena.
I better sign

off, ’cause the lady in the window is about to go postal (heh


Also recommended: Summer Sisters by Judy Blume; Are You There God? It’s

Me, Margaret by Judy Blume; Confessions of a Shopaholic by Sophie Kinsella.

Also by this author: The Second Summer of the Sisterhood; Girls in Pants: The

Third Summer of the Sisterhood; Steve Jobs.

Fun tidbit: Brashares got the idea for the book from a former colleague and good

friend, Jodi Anderson, who passed around a pair of pants with her friends when she was

younger – they ended up lost.

Would I read more by this author? If I was looking for something light I’d think

about it, but I won’t be in a big rush to get to the second in the series.

© Lisa Yanaky 2003-2005

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