Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Sisterhood Everlasting by Ann Brashares [Review]

4.5 out of 5 Robots!
Sisterhood Everlasting by Ann Brashares
Series: Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants, #5
Genre: Contemporary Young Adult
Release: June 14, 2011
Hardcover: 368 pages
Publisher: Random House
My Copy: Publisher
Reviewer: Shannon
Buy the Book: Amazon

Book Summary From Goodreads:
From #1 New York Times bestselling author Ann Brashares comes the welcome return of the characters whose friendship became a touchstone for a generation. Now Tibby, Lena, Carmen, and Bridget have grown up, starting their lives on their own. And though the jeans they shared are long gone, the sisterhood is everlasting.

Despite having jobs and men that they love, each knows that something is missing: the closeness that once sustained them. Carmen is a successful actress in New York, engaged to be married, but misses her friends. Lena finds solace in her art, teaching in Rhode Island, but still thinks of Kostos and the road she didn’t take. Bridget lives with her longtime boyfriend, Eric, in San Francisco, and though a part of her wants to settle down, a bigger part can’t seem to shed her old restlessness.

Then Tibby reaches out to bridge the distance, sending the others plane tickets for a reunion that they all breathlessly await. And indeed, it will change their lives forever—but in ways that none of them could ever have expected.

As moving and life-changing as an encounter with long-lost best friends, Sisterhood Everlasting is a powerful story about growing up, losing your way, and finding the courage to create a new one.

My Take:
I have been a fan of the Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants series since the very first book.  These books are about growing up, finding yourself, and the friends that help you along the way.  Carmen, Lena, Bridget and Tibby have that kind of best friendship we all wish we had.  They are completely devoted to each other.  They know everything about each other.  In fact they know the others better than they know themselves.  And this is what makes this last book a bit of a departure.  While the first 4 books took place over 4 consecutive summers, this book takes place 10 years after the fourth book.  The girls are scattered all over the world and have varying degrees of contact with each other.  Each girl is living their life, but not quite realizing something is missing.  Each is just a little lost.  But on the eve of their reunion, a tragedy strikes that completely changes their lives forever.  Now they have to figure out how to pick up the pieces.  For the first time in their lives, they don't know how to be there for each other anymore.  And in figuring how to move on they learn what it means to live. 

There is a lot of resolution in this book from story threads in the previous books.  In fact most of the story threads go back to the first book.  Ann Brasheres has a great writing style...she always manages to leave me wanting to read the next page.  She fleshes out the girls very well.  You can feel their happiness, their sadness, their angst, their celebrations.  This book deals with some heavy subject matter, but it never feels depressing.  It always gives a sense of hope in the pages even at the darkest hour.  Admittedly, the ending is a little contrived and plays out like a Hallmark Channel movie, but I'll forgive it because it is so well written and I felt satisfied at the end.  I only rolled my eyes a little.  But I am very happy to see some of the resolutions that take place. 

I really recommend this book and for readers to check out the series in general.  I will warn that you should at least read the first book before reading this last one.  Otherwise I don't think the impact of the story would be too great.  Brasheres goes into some background, but basically assumes the reader understands WHY some of the plot and characters are so important.  While I hope you'd want to read the whole series, I think you could get away with only reading the 1st and last book. 
Books in this series in the order that they should be read:
1. The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants - Goodreads
2. The Second Summer of the Sisterhood - Goodreads
3. Girls in Pants - Goodreads
4. Forever in Blue - Goodreads
5. Sisterhood Everlasting - Goodreads

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