The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants
Title: The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants
Author: Ann Brashares
Publisher: Delacorte Books for Young Readers
Number of Pages: 336
Advertised Age Level: Young Adult
Age and Grade of Main Character(s): 16 yrs/post-Sophomore summer
Language: minimal use of profanity, no use of the f-word
Sex: kissing, loss of virginity, mild descriptions of a seduction
Drug/Alcohol Use: none
Social Issues: teen sex, loss of virginity, cancer in a young person, death of a young person, death of a pet, parent’s remarriage, suicide of a parent
Suggested Movie Grade: PG-13
Premise: Best friends Tibby, Carmen, Bridget and Lena are about to spend their first summer apart. In order to keep in touch with each other – both figuratively and literally – they decide to share a pair of blue jeans that somehow fit all four of their different body shapes. The book follows each girls’ individual story.
Lena is off to visit her grandparents in Greece. While there, she meets Kostas. While she tries to fight her feelings, she can’t manage to keep from falling in love with him, even when her grandparents forbid her from spending time with him after they come to believe the couple is engaging in an inappropriate relationship.
Carmen has been invited to spend the summer with her divorced father. What he neglected to tell her is that he is getting remarried and she must adjust to having a new step mother as well as a step brother and step sister. But she can’t manage to fit in, and her feelings are crushed as it seems her father has forsaken her for a new and better family.
Bridget doesn’t know the meaning of the word caution, her daring and recklessness her way of dealing with her mother’s tragic suicide. While attending soccer camp in Baja, Mexico, she sets her sights on older camp counselor, Eric, determined that seducing him is a challenge right up her alley. But when their relationship becomes physical, she realizes she’s not ready to handle the emotional consequences.
Libby has to stay behind while her friends leave for the summer. Cynical and bitter that her parents view her as a live in babysitter for her baby twin brother and sister, she is not very happy when Bailey, a 12 year old kid, starts following her around and trying to be Tibby’s friend. However, when Libby learns that Bailey has cancer, she comes to realize that her life is not so bad after all.
Comments: The movie version of this book removed or changed aspects of the story in order to make it more acceptable for younger audiences. The book is more explicit making it more suited to an older audience.
Bridget’s seduction of Eric is frankly described, although not explicit. Her loss of virginity is handle somewhat vaguely but is understood by anyone who followed the course of action. Her reaction afterward is handled with great attention to her fragile emotional state.
Bridget’s mother had committed suicide, and the effects of this tragedy are frequently referenced.
Tibby’s young friend Bailey has cancer that becomes untreatable. At the end of the book, she dies. Tibby’s pet guinea pig also dies. These scenes are very intense emotionally.
Lena goes skinny dipping and catches Kostas watching her. She defies her grandparents by seeing Kostas after they forbid her from doing so. Her grandparents mistakenly believe that Kostas and Lena have had sex.
Carmen has several heated arguments with her father and an outburst when she feels pressured by her soon to be stepmother. She throws a rock through a window.
Age Appropriateness: 13 and older