So. First post took longer than planned because I went YA wild with THE SISTERHOOD OF THE TRAVELING PANTS series. Honestly, I saw both movies in theaters and loved them, so I'm a little confused by my decision to wait so long to read the books. Whoops.
First Book: The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants
I'll just start off by saying my girl, Ann Brashares, really set the tone for the rest of the series with this book.
Shenanigans that I loved:
- Lena & Kostos & their looove (obviously.)
- The character dichotomy between Tibby & Bailey and how they play off each other
- Carmen's SASS! She's a lot sassier in the books than she was in the movies, which was fab. Two enthusiastic thumbs up.
- Bridget & Eric's relationship is a lot deeper and more detailed in the book
- Quotes at the beginning of every chapter
- Larger understanding of each character that you can only get from a book
Each character undergoes a mini-coming-of-age story that betters her individually and paves the way for the future books. Overall, the book's plot is different (in a great way) and you get a new understanding of each character. If you haven't read it, DROP WHAT YOU'RE DOING AND GO READ!
Second Book: The Second Summer of the Sisterhood
Whoa, baby. The second book of the Traveling Pants series doesn't do as much surface treading as the first book does. In fact, the girls begin experiencing all the awesome (sarcasm) and confusing emotions that most teenagers experience and usually do a bad job of handling.
Por Ejemplo (that's Spanish for "for example"):
- Lena has absolutely no idea what to do with her relationship with Kostos
- Bridget's fling with Eric affects almost everything in her life, so she runs away to Alabama
- Carmen and her mom don't see eye-to-eye on, like, anything
- Tibby, the rebel without a cause, realizes she actually doesn't have a cause
Shenanigans I loved:
- Bridget overcoming herself and the awesome comeback she makes
- Bridget's entire experience in Alabama (WAY DIFFERENT FROM THE MOVIE)
- Carmen's reality check
- Tibby's reality check
- Quotes at the beginnings of chapters again
One thing I didn't like & liked at the same time:
I am such a Lostos fan, and all I wanted was for Lena and Kostos to just be like "wait, I love you". But of course, conflict propels plots and makes you root for characters, so all the Lostos drama was necessary. Touché, Ann.
Third Book: Girl In Pants
Gonna reiterate this again: if you loved the movies and haven't read the books, GO READ THEM ASAP. The third book = lots of boys, lots of drama, and lots of awesomeness.
Shenanigans I loved:
- BOYS, BOYS, & MORE BOYS (including the return of one particular boy that made me so happy I can't even stand it)
- Each character has her own goals and dreams that she is working for, whether she knows it or not
- Sibling & parent drama (we've all been there)
- Of course, quotes.
At first, there were several components to this book that I really did not like, but by the end of the book, I dubbed Girl In Pants my favorite of the series so far. Excellent.
Fourth Book: Forever In Blue
BAM! Explosive ending. Best part? After I was done reading it, I got that bummed-that-it's-over feeling, only to realize my girl, Ann, PUT OUT A FIFTH BOOK HOLLAAAA. But we'll get to that. The fourth book was an excellent installment to the series. Was it my favorite of the four? Negative. But it still reinforced my love for all the characters and my appreciation for The Pants.
Shenanigans I loved:
- Carmen makes one hell of a comeback
- Bridget's boy drama, per usual
- The weaving together of all four books
- The realization that The Pants were not the superglue in their friendship
- Quotes. Duh.
Great books. Great people. Hats off to you, Ann.
Last Book: Sisterhood Everlasting
Welp, you can imagine my excitement when I realized there was a fifth book to this pants-tastic series.
Disclaimer: This book is pretty heavy. And by heavy, I don't mean metric units.
The emotional rawness of the novel is what, in my opinion, made it a great way to end the series. It's set when the girls are a lot older and in extremely different places in their lives. As the book progresses, the reader learns how each character became the adults they're portrayed as in this novel (SPOILER ALERT: they're all pretty different, yet traces of their teenage selves shine through on occasion). It's fascinating and frustrating all at once.
I will say this: Sisterhood Everlasting sent me on an emotional roller coaster that I didn't necessarily enjoy that much when I was reading it; HOWEVER, by the time I was done, I was very glad I read it. And frankly, if you read the first four books in a week like I did, you'll find it physically impossible to not pick up this book the second you finish Forever In Blue.
Books vs. Movies
Granted, I'm usually a huge snob about movies deviating from the books (the book is always better than the movie, y'all), but all the books and the movies could stand on their own, and I think it was because Ann Brashares did such a great job with individual character development. The whole time I was reading, it felt more like the movies and the books combined to make one gigantic, fabulous story with lots of awesome bonus material. Two enthusiastic thumbs up, Ann.
Highly, highly, highly recommend reading these. You'll experience the entire spectrum of human emotion (and then some, probably), and you'll fall in love with the characters and the magic of the pants. I don't care if that sounds lame; I've got the fever, people. If you're looking for a few great summer reads, The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants series is the way to go.
(AUTHOR'S NOTE: I HEARD A RUMOR THAT THEY'RE MAKING SISTERHOOD EVERLASTING INTO A MOVIE WITH THE SAME ORIGINAL CAST AND I'M KINDA FREAKIN' OUT.)