The Second Summer of the Sisterhood

by Ann Brashares

Delacorte Press, April, 2003.
Hardcover, 373 pages.
ISBN: 0385729340
Ages Young Adult

The Second Summer of the Sisterhood by Ann Brashares The Second Summer of the Sisterhood is a sequel to the bestselling The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants. However, there is no need to have read the first book in order to enjoy the second one. All the rules for wearing the pants are printed on a page before the title page, and the reader is immediately engaged in this fascinating tale that works out the problems that all teenage girls experience with wisdom and just a touch of magic. (Rule one: you must never wash the pants.) The author's prologue introduces the reader to the world of a group of girls whose mothers had all met in the same pregnancy aerobics class and all were due to deliver in September. Thus the girls grew up together with a special bond. As young people still in school tend to do, they all measured time by summers.

There is no item of clothing that has provoked more attention among the young than blue jeans, so it is not asking too much of the reader to believe that a special pair of blue jeans can have a powerful yet individual effect on a group of teen aged girls growing up in the suburbs of Washington , D. C. Blue jeans have united young people around the world, and selecting a pair is definitely a sartorial event fraught with powerful emotions.

The Sisterhood is diverse. Carmen is Hispanic. She lives with her mother in an apartment. Her mother has never married after her marriage fell apart, but Carmen's father married a woman who has a daughter close to Carmen's age. Lena is Greek, and remembers the sad ending to her romance last summer in Greece. Bridget wonders why her father never speaks to her grandmother, who lives in a small town in Alabama. Bridget has lost her interest in her talent for soccer, has stopped exercising and has dyed her blonde hair dark. Tibby is interested in enrolling in a film class at a local college so that she can make a movie about some things very important to her.

Each girl uses the summer to work out various problems. Carmen's mother begins a romance with a lawyer who works in the same firm she does, and Carmen feels uneasy. Lena is overwhelmed when her big romance, Kostos suddenly shows up and is staying with family friends who live close by. Bridget discovers letters and uncashed checks from her grandmother, and Greta and storms at her father for keeping them from her. In disguise, Bridget leaves for a small town in Alabama to get to know her mother's mother from a distance. Bridget assumes another identity so that she can assess what really happened to her mother. Tibby enrolls in the college course and begins to work on her documentary and finds out too late that the detached and unemotional eye of the photojournalist can truly wound loved ones. Throughout the summer the pants are traded back and forth, but they refuse to work exactly as each wearer would like. Nevertheless, as the summer unfolds, each girl in the sisterhood makes a life change.

Reading a book about a group of girls who share their growing up years will delight younger readers and will bring back poignant memories to older readers.

--Sarah Reaves White

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This review was published in the September-October, 2003 of The Internet Writing Journal.

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