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 of the series the reader is introduced to four high school students: Lena Kaligaris, Tibby Rollins, Bridget Vreeland, and Carmen Lowell. They 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, the pants fit perfectly on each girl. They believe 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 she is on Santorini she meets a guy named kostos,her grandma tries to hook them up together. He becomes interested in Lena. Lena cares about how kostos feels about her because she ends up having feelings for him. She goes skinny-dipping and kostos accidentally saw her. Later in the summer, Lena explains to her grandparents 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 that fainted at Wallmans. At the end they become close friends and bailey starts helping Tibbs with her documentary. Bailey is not well during she is at the hospital and she 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 finds out her dad is engaged and she is very shocked and angry. 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 went to her dad's wedding because her friends told her it was better, and she wanted to surprise him.

Bridget attends a soccer camp in Baja California, Mexico. While there, she meets Eric Richman, one of the coaches, and immediately falls for him. Coach and camper relationships were not allowed, and Bridget actively pursues him anyway by running with him and going to his room at night, catching him in his underwear. She conspires to lose her virginity to him. Eric later visits her and he tells her that if they had met in a different way, 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.


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. This 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]


The Importance of Friendship
As the girls face challenges and different personal issues this summer, they form a stronger bond by realizing how much they need each other to overcome these obstacles. Friendship is something they rely on to build a bigger understanding of themselves.

The Search for Love
Love is one thing that this novel revolves around. Love for oneself, another, and for family and friends. Each girl finds love in many different forms, and they learn that love is something magical and something that you cannot force or take advantage of.

The Importance of Family
Family is something that we are born into and we have to understand that as we grow, relationships change. Family is one thing that will always be, and the girls learn that sometimes "family" doesn't truly have to be blood related.

Coming of Age
This summer happens to be a wake-up call for each character. They learn that they are becoming responsible adults who have to make decisions for themselves. Coming of age does not only mean growing up and getting older, but it also means learning new things and trying to take more risks by becoming more independent. Becoming 16 is a big part of a woman's life, and the girls teach the reader that we all have our own obstacles and stories.

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.