The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants (novel)

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The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants
Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants book cover.gif
Author Ann Brashares
Cover artist Melon B
Country United States
Language English
Series The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants
Genre Young adult novel
Published 2001, Delacorte Press
Media type Print (Hardback & Paperback)
Pages 320 pp
ISBN 0-385-72933-2
OCLC 47923895
LC Class PZ7.B73759 Si 2001
Followed by The Second Summer of the Sisterhood

The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants is a bestselling young adult novel by Ann Brashares published in 2001. It follows the adventures of four best friends — Lena Kaligaris, Tibby Rollins, Bridget Vreeland, and Carmen Lowell, who will be spending their first summer apart when a magical pair of jeans comes into their lives, turning their summer upside down. The book was adapted into a film of the same name in 2005. Four sequels to the book have been published, The Second Summer of the Sisterhood; Girls in Pants: The Third Summer of the Sisterhood; Forever in Blue: The Fourth Summer of the Sisterhood; and Sisterhood Everlasting.

Plot summary[edit]

In the first novel in the series we are introduced to four high school students, Lena Kaligaris, Tibby Rollins, Bridget Vreeland, and Carmen Lowell, who have been best friends "since birth" (their mothers attended prenatal exercise classes together). The summer before their junior year of high school, Carmen finds a pair of old jeans that fits each of them perfectly, despite their different sizes, convincing the girls that the pants are magical. They share the "traveling pants" among themselves over the summer while they are separated.

Lena spends the summer with her grandparents on Santorini. While there, she meets Kostos, the grandson of some of Lena's grandparents friends, and he becomes interested in Lena. Though she does reciprocate his feelings, she is shy and is unable to express them. Lena goes skinny-dipping and is accidentally seen by Kostos, and her grandparents assume she has been assaulted by him when she is unable to explain what happened. Later in the summer, Lena explains what happened in order to repair the rift between her and Kostos' grandparents, and confesses to Kostos that she loves him.

Tibby spends the summer working at a Wallman's, planning to make a documentary of her experiences there. She meets a 12-year-old girl named Bailey, with whom she is initially annoyed, but becomes close with by the end of summer as they work on Tibby's documentary. Bailey is hospitalized and dies at the end of the novel from leukemia, which results in Tibby refocusing her documentary to be about the summer they spent together.

Carmen goes to South Carolina to spend the summer with her father, from whom she has grown apart since he and Carmen's mother divorced several years before. Carmen is surprised to learn that her father is engaged and lives with a woman with two grown children of her own. After being frustrated at feeling left out of her father's new family, she breaks a window in their house by throwing a rock through it and returns home to her mother. She eventually reconciles with her father and attends his wedding at the urging of her friends.

Bridget attends a soccer camp in Baja California, Mexico. While there, she meets Eric Richman, one of the coaches, and immediately falls for him. Despite coach-camper relationships being off limits, Bridget actively pursues him anyway by running with him and going to his room at night, catching him in his underwear. She eventually manages to seduce him, but he tells her that he can't have sex with her. Crushed by this, she walks off the field during the championship game, and she takes to her bed for days. Eric later visits her and asks her to take a walk with him, where he tells her that if they had met under different circumstances, he would worship her the way she deserved to be worshiped. Lena comes to comfort her and bring her the pants and ends up taking her home.

Background[edit]

Ann Brashares got the idea for the novel while working as an editor when colleague Jodi Anderson, proposed the concept of a group of girlfriends who share a pair of jeans, which was based on some of Anderson's own college experiences. Brashares decided to write the book herself; Anderson was compensated with a small bonus and a promotion.[1] Brashares later said, "I loved the idea. A shirt can more easily fit different people, but jeans are more judgmental. It totally captured my fancy."[2]

Critical reception[edit]

Sisterhood was well-reviewed at the time of its release. USA Today's Deidre Donahue said Sisterhood "has resonated far more deeply than any of the grown-up novels I've read this year."[3] Linda Bindner of the School Library Journal called it "a complex book about a solid group of friends, with each one a strong and courageous individual in her own right." Publisher's Weekly described it as "an outstanding and vivid book that will stay with readers for a long time."[4]

Sisterhood became a New York Times bestseller, was named an ALA Best Books for Young Adults, won a Book Sense Book of the Year, and was named a Publishers Weekly Flying Start.

References[edit]