Reviews provided by Syndetics
Publishers Weekly Review
First novelist Brashares successfully creates four distinct characters, each with her own story line, and ties them together with a creative device: a pair of pants purchased in a thrift shop. As four lifelong friends prepare to split up for the summer, they discover that the second-hand jeans look good on all of them, despite their different physiques. They promise to rotate the jeans among them and, upon their reunion at summer's end, record their favorite adventures on the pant legs. These magical pants serve as a substitute friend for each girl as she is tested that summer, from Carmen, who goes to visit her father only to find out he's engaged to a woman with two teenage kids, to Tibby, who befriends a precocious 12-year-old cancer victim. Even though they are separated for most of the summer, the friends communicate their love and understanding for one another (Tibby writes to Lena, "Don't torture yourself, Len. We love you too much," to console her friend for mistakenly accusing a cute neighbor boy of spying on her while she skinny dips in Greece). Their bonds, combined with a realistic portrayal of teen emotions (Tibby is embarrassed by the smock she has to wear to work at Wallman's, while Carmen boils with rage when the seamstress fitting her bridesmaid dress disparages her curvy figure), make for an outstanding and vivid book that will stay with readers for a long time. Readers will hope that Brashares chronicles the sisterhood for volumes to come. Ages 12-up. (Sept). (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
School Library Journal Review
Gr 9 Up-During their 15th summer, four girls who have been lifelong friends spend the season apart. In a summer's launch ceremony, they decide to pass along among themselves a pair of thrift shop jeans which oddly seems to fit each of them, although Carmen, Tibby, Bridget, and Lena have very different physiques. Ann Bashares' novel (Delacorte 2001) uses this conceit to travel among the friends' four very different geographic locations, experiences, and self-realizations, making for a complex story in which each girl's voice is distinct both in text and in actress Angela Gothals' reading. Lena spends the summer in Greece, visiting her grandparents and gaining the courage to act instead of always observing quietly; Bridget attends soccer camp in Mexico and makes a dangerous game of flirting with a college-age counselor; Carmen has planned to spend the summer with her father but discovers, upon arriving in South Carolina, that he is about to remarry a woman who has two teens of her own; Tibby stays home in Washington, DC, working at a drugstore, and unexpectedly becomes friends with a 12-year-old girl who has leukemia. Each girl pushes the emotional limits of both herself and those around her. While the traveling pants themselves seem rather artificial, these emotions and the developments they inspire in the individuals and in their relationships ring absolutely true. The recorded version of this book makes it flow more easily than its print counterpart, due to Gothals' care in individuating every character's pitch and rhythm while remaining faithful to Brashares' words and the important pauses between passages.-Francisca Goldsmith, Berkeley Public Library, CA (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Gr. 6-9. The pants were magic--worn, thrift-shop jeans that made each of the four best friends look absolutely fabulous. Obviously they were life-changing pants. Thus the plan: route them to each of the four at their various summer destinations, with appropriate rules attached, of course, and watch wonderful things happen. Only they don't. Carmen's dad still remarries; Lena's trip to Greece to visit her grandparents is still marred by a terrible misunderstanding with a gorgeous Greek teen; Bridget still does dumb things at a Baja California soccer camp; and Tibby must work at Wallman's. The pants are just pants, and life is just life, full of joys, sorrows, living, and dying. This is the charm of The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants. Carmen, Lena, Bridget, and Tibby are growing to adulthood, and Brashares accurately portrays one glorious, painful summer in their evolution. Young teens will identify with one, or even all four, of these interesting, funny young women, and they'll be on the lookout for their own pair of traveling pants. --Frances Bradburn
Horn Book Review
(Middle School, High School) Four teenagersÑbest friends since babyhoodÑhave different destinations for the summer and are distressed about disbanding. When they find a pair of Òmagic pantsÓÑsecondhand jeans that fit each girl perfectly, despite their different body typesÑthey take a solemn vow that the Pants Òwill travel to all the places weÕre going, and they will keep us together when we are apart.Ó Rules for how to pass the Pants among them are devised, along with a list of general usage rules (ÒYou must never say the word ÔphatÕ while wearing the pants. You must also never think ÔI am fatÕ while wearing the pantsÓ). Sources for the quotes separating chapters range from Tolkien to Seinfeld; a quote from Winston Churchill states the bookÕs theme: ÒYou will make all kinds of mistakes: but as long as you are generous and true and also fierce you cannot hurt the world or even seriously distress her.Ó The girls make some big mistakes in the Pants, but wrongs are eventually righted, and the friends learn some life lessons: look beyond appearances, be honest about feelings, have some self-control, and have the courage to love. This first novel has the same foolproof formula as bestseller adult books about intense lifelong friendships (i.e., Rebecca WellsÕs Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood). A posse of loyal girlfriends has enormous appeal; add in the dream-come-true perfect pair of jeans and you canÕt lose. Good friends, like good pants, should make you feel fabulous; Brasheres takes the two and creates a breezy feel-good book. j.m.b. From HORN BOOK, (c) Copyright 2010. The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Kirkus Book Review
In this feel-good novel with substance, four teenage girls, friends since they were all born just weeks apart, are about to embark on their first summer as separate young women. Carmen, half-Hispanic, has a knack for math; Lena, the beauty of the group and self-conscious about her appearance, demonstrates artistic talent; Bridget is the tall soccer star; and Tibby, the rebel, sports a nose ring. Visiting grandparents for the first time in Greece, attending soccer camp in Mexico, spending the summer with dad in South Carolina, or working at home, how will these girls survive their time alone? Leave it to a pair of secondhand jeans, which, despite their various body shapes, fits all four perfectly. These magical jeans, dubbed the Traveling Pants, span the world, one week at a time, lending their mystical powers wherever they go. The pants become a metaphor for the young women finding their own strength in the face of new love, unexpected friendships and death, a father's remarriage, and a reckless relationship-and without their best friends. Debut novelist Brashares renders each girl individual and lovable in her own right, emphasizing growing up without growing apart. Move over, Ya Ya Sisters. (Fiction. YA)